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Digital process automation 101– The complete guide

October 7, 2022 - Team EdgeVerve

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Table of Contents

Digital transformation is all about driving fundamental change in their current approach to common issues. It is a continuous adaptation to a constantly changing environment. Digital transformation primarily covers three key areas:

Digital transformation is important because it paves the way for organizations to quickly adapt to ever-changing industries by driving continuous improvement in their operations. It offers greater business agility, improves process efficiency, and amplify employee productivity, and adds value for customers and stakeholders. Simply put, digital transformation is a gradual shift from traditional thinking to a more collaborative and tech-driven approach, spurring company growth at a fundamental level.

Digital process automation is possibly one of the strategic steps taken toward it. The global digital transformation market  is expected to reach USD 6.78 Trillion by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 20.9%. Regardless of less than a 30 % success rate, 87% of senior business leaders are prioritizing digitalization. Investments have ramped up since the global pandemic, and digital transformation spending will exceed $10 trillion over a five-year period from 2021-2025, as per IDG.

The role of Automation and AI in driving transformation at scale

The pandemic brought AI and Automation to the spotlight as ventures worldwide realized that they no longer had the luxury of years to transform digitally. These two technologies and their family of capabilities are key drivers of change. And many organizations tasted their benefits by making Robotic Process Automation part of their operations. However, the given limitations of RPA tools have compelled businesses to use more advanced solutions to make existing systems and processes more efficient incrementally.

Automation, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies, has opened up new possibilities and driven real benefits for owners, from capturing insights to improving performance, addressing time, cost, and labor-intensive factors to augmenting customer service quality, and many more. But they can reach their full potential when people and technology work hand-in-hand. In order to accelerate enterprise digital transformation maturity, owners have to make changes at the granular level, starting by improving tasks and gradually shifting towards full-scale business process automation.

Process automation – The first step toward digital transformation

Business processes orchestrate tasks between employees and systems and find the fastest way to achieve the best possible outcomes. But a process that has worked for two years might not keep up with the changing times.

The first step to digital transformation is to determine what digital transformation means to your organization. This will help you prioritize which areas need immediate attention for transformation. Following that, digital process automation takes an enterprise a step closer to transformation effectively. Hence, as mentioned earlier, this is the first strategic step toward building a connected enterprise.

What is digital process automation?

Process automation connects people, applications, devices, and information to build an agile and digital enterprise. It automates, partially or otherwise, processes spanning multiple applications that typically require human interaction in some form. For example, automating the invoice processing workflows reduces time and human errors effectively, ensuring correct invoices always reach the right person.

How is digital process automation different from RPA?

Robotic Process Automation or RPA uses bots to automate recurring, time-intensive, simple tasks. Contrarily, process automation uses AI-enabled solutions and the power of automation to simplify complex business processes from end to end. These processes involve multiple departments, people, tasks, and workflows across the length and breadth of the organization.

However, a powerful DPA solution embedded with RPA capabilities can be the ideal solution to transform more complex processes digitally.

Digital process automation vs. Business process automation

Business process automation is often used interchangeably with digital process automation. But there is a thin line of difference between the two terms. The former automates multistep processes, whereas the latter scales up workflows that rely on human-machine interactions.

Business process automation, or BPA, streamlines existing processes via API integration. Contrarily, DPA improves user experience by optimizing digitalized processes. The former reengineers existing processes to deliver optimum value, wherein DPA creates more responsive user interactions with software systems.

Benefits of digital process automation

Creating connected workflows: Optimizing workflows and negating process silos connect an enterprise end-to-end, allowing stakeholders to participate in business operations activities and enabling employees to work anytime and anywhere.

Amplifying user experience: Digital process automation n enhances user experiences; workflows are optimized and streamlined.

Optimizing time and cost: Task or process automation frees employees from time-intensive recurring work. Hence, they can focus more on value-added services and reduce the time taken to complete lengthy ones effectively. And automation doesn’t require human involvement.

Improving communication: DPA improves document management for the enterprise, ensuring less likelihood of lost files and keeping employees updated with real-time insights.

Modernizing legacy systems: DPA modernizes existing legacy processes to help them keep up with changing market expectations. It streamlines comprehensive workflows and enhances process efficiency.

Leveraging new-age capabilities: In order for organizations to stay competitive, they need to embrace new-tech powers in their operations. And digital process automation is the right way forward.

Use cases of digital process automation

Healthcare industry: The health sector involves too many repetitive tasks, from scheduling appointments to collecting payments, alerting patients for appointments, and many more. By automating these tasks, the industry can address the time-intensive functions and improve process efficiencies.

Banking and finance industry: DPA has a broader scope in this sector and is extensively leveraged in accounts payable, accounts receivable, loan processing, and customer service. Tasks like customer KYC, data entry, account reconciliation, and fraud detection usually have too much human involvement; hence, the chances of human errors remain high. Automating them relieves employees of cumbersome tasks and eliminates errors.

Logistics industry: This industry is cost and labor-intensive and involves tasks including generating and collecting invoices, scheduling, and tracking shipments, securing proofs of delivery, resolving payment disputes, and many more. These recurring tasks can be easily automated to cut down the overall operation time and cost. Hence, digital process automation can be a game-changer in the logistics industry.

Customer onboarding: This is a standard process existing across every sector. And customer onboarding can be tedious, especially for the banking sector. Moreover, the cumbersome manual steps can only add to customer dissatisfaction. But automating the whole process will scale up workflows and increase user experience for both employees and customers.

How to successfully implement DPA?

Digital transformation and automation are a continuous journey. To ensure a successful implementation of DPA, enterprises need to chalk out a clear roadmap and strategically execute each step. Here is a list of helpful tips to get you started:

Get everyone onboard: Any form of transformation within an organization requires collective acceptance and teamwork. Everyone within the scope of operations should be on board with the upcoming changes.

Map out current processes: It is essential to understand how each process in an organization works. With the help of process discovery, enterprises can easily view the implementation of every individual task, identify bottlenecks, and recognize which process needs immediate attention for improvement.

Identify the right process candidates: Bringing the entire organization under the automation umbrella at once can be the biggest mistake. Instead, enterprises should start small and focus only on critical areas that need urgent improvement. Bringing those small tasks under automation will help businesses to scale up transformation end-to-end gradually.

Plan for ongoing maintenance: To ensure the successful implementation of digital process automation, continuous updates and maintenance are needed. It is not a one-time effort, and a dedicated team should be kept in place for constant monitoring and improvement.

Conclusion

Robotic Process Automation is an important step for businesses to embark on its automation journey. But digital process automation requires something more than mere intelligent bots could accommodate. It needs innovative tech-enabled solutions that imitate how humans think, analyze, and execute the appropriate actions. Moreover, it should be adaptable, scalable, and offer a broader scope for improvement. The future of digital process automation is bright since AI capabilities are still expanding, and smarter solutions are coming to the forefront to help enterprises find optimized ways to improve existing systems and complete their end-to-end automation journey.

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