In today’s business world, the term process automation gets used quite a bit. But what exactly is process automation and how can it truly help your business? How do you know what processes to automate or what processes can even be automated? These are the type of questions executives and IT managers ask and get asked (I know from experience!).
I have to admit, when I started heading up the digital transformation at my former company, process automation was somewhat of a mystery to me. But after significant research and being employed by a software company that just so happens to offer process automation software, I now realize how easy it is to identify where automation can help and how it can improve your business.
Let’s first go over the basics of process automation. Simply put, process automation is moving data from one place (a source) to another (the target) without human intervention. During the transfer of data, automation software is used to map the data from the source to the target, performing any necessary data conversions or calculations in the process. Understanding the basic concept of process automation can help you identify your own business processes which would be good candidates for automation.
The easiest processes to identify for automation are those of manual data entry. Automation moves data without human intervention so anywhere humans are moving data are ideal candidates. Most likely the data being entered is coming from a source that could easily be read and mapped by automation software. The software would then move the data into the target instead of humans. Automating this process eliminates potential errors induced by manual entry as well as speeding up the entire process.
Beyond manual entry, automation software, such as LANSA Composer, can transfer data between two separate systems which do not communicate natively. Have you ever said or heard “it would be nice if we could get data from system X into system Y?” This is a perfect opportunity to use automation software to solve a business need. The software will map data from system X into system Y as if those two systems were one. Even better, LANSA Composer has an easy to use graphical interface making mapping between the two systems quick and painless.
The last processes I will touch upon, but by no means the last use for automation software, is automating emails and creating an automated process when emails are received. LANSA Composer allows you to send email reports from IBM i spool files, or any other file location where reports may be saved. On the inbound side, an incoming email could trigger a business process automatically which would normally have to be done manually.
While LANSA Composer is perfect for bigger projects such as an EDI implementation or modernization, Composer is ideal for smaller process automation projects as well. When several of these smaller processes become automated, a business will see improved productivity and efficiency. Remember, process automation is simply moving data from one place to another, from one system to another, from one database to another, without the need for human intervention.
- Process Automation is simply moving data from one place to another without human intervention.
- Processes where data is entered manually are excellent candidates for automation.
- Sharing data between two separate systems that currently cannot communicate with each other are also great candidates for automation.
- Automating email responses and creating processes from inbound emails are both great starting points for process automation projects.
- LANSA Composer can handle these and many other process automation tasks as well as an entire end to end process, from how the process starts to reporting on progress and status.
We’d love to have a chat with you to learn more about your digital transformation projects.