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Business process automation -- using technology to complete a set of tasks with minimal human intervention -- represents the new frontier for digital work.
Combining cloud services with connections to relevant content, business process automation (BPA) streamlines business operations, enhances customer care, coordinates teamwork, improves top-line results and contains costs.
BPA capabilities are provided through a platform and other tools. BPA focuses on content-driven processes such as determining the payouts for insurance claims or sequencing the multiple steps for onboarding new employees. It also augments what knowledge workers do by adding capabilities for judgment, interpretation and intent. BPA extends business process management (BPM) capabilities, technologies where basic business rules automate data-driven activities such as purchase order approvals and travel expense reimbursements.
Here are four benefits of business process automation.
1. Unifies digital experiences
BPA tools present knowledge workers with unified digital experiences by enabling employees and business partners to access information within a digital workspace. While organizations can use BPA in both on-premises systems and cloud services, BPA platforms in the cloud typically provide more flexibility.
BPA tools use a modern technology stack and integrate with content services and SaaS platforms. The component systems within the stack interoperate easily with one another, and BPA tools integrate with multiple repositories. For instance, automatically processing an insurance claim might include a step to verify that the claimant has a current policy that covers the reported loss. BPA tools often include capabilities to integrate with existing CRM, ERP, sales force automation and other applications, accessible through cloud connections.
2. Content organization
BPA tools provide access to content organized around tasks and activities. One example -- Church's Chicken -- is a quick service restaurant chain that relies on an employee experience platform from Akumina to channel the flow of information around operational activities. With more than $1 billion in sales, Church's Chicken seeks to produce consistent brand experiences across its locations globally. Running within Microsoft Azure, the Akumina Employee Experience Platform -- a BPA platform focused on content access and organization -- includes a service hub to enhance the capabilities of Office 365 applications and repurpose existing content.
Church's Chicken staff ensures that restaurant managers and franchise owners always have access to up-to-date marketing messages, promotional assets, operational bulletins, job aids, training guides, streamed video events and branding collateral. With single sign-on capabilities to provide transparent authentication, Akumina integrates with related services from other enterprise applications, such as automatically managing trouble tickets within a customer support application or tracking order statuses within a corporate order management system.
3. Streamlines employee operations
BPA adds cloud services to automate information flows for complex business processes. Without these services, information flows require person-to-person hand-offs and human judgment. BPA tools provide connectors to back-end information sources to streamline digital work. By taking advantage of the capabilities of existing content repositories and data stores, organizations are no longer trapped by their legacy systems.
The ASG-Zenith is a SaaS platform with BPA tools that provides shared components to connect multiple back-end repositories and data stores to automate operational activities. It uses ASG Technologies' existing content federation capabilities that produce a unified, yet virtual, view into disparate information sources. The platform adds task-specific services, tailored to how a business operates. ASG-Zenith includes a low-code/no-code visual design environment to visually model information flows for automating tasks and activities.
Once developers tailor the SaaS environment to the business, they no longer need to be directly involved with BPA-related implementation projects. Rather, IT staff and business users can work together closely to automate the complex processes for engaging customers and employees.
4. Captures the value of managed information
Stored and managed content have enormous value within businesses, and BPA masks the complexity of the underlying information flows.
When it comes to the future for digital work, it is important to focus on unlocking the business value of content -- taking information from disparate systems and weaving it together into modern experiences. Businesses should have the capabilities and tools in place to model specific tasks and activities that they can rapidly assemble into automated business processes.