Entrepreneurs know: If you want to remain competitive, you have to ensure that your offers and services are in no way inferior to those of the competition. At the top of the list, digitization calls for modernization and the adaptation and optimization of business processes.
Various methods are available to those responsible for implementation. These include, for example, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Business Process Management (BPM) – also known classically as dark processing – as well as low-code platforms.
But which procedure is appropriate in which situation? Can companies get better results with just one solution, or does the combination of these methods make the perfect strategy?
Light in the dark processing
In many cases, a specific question provides information about the company’s success: How well does the quality of internal processes match customer requirements? For example, BPM makes it possible to digitize business processes and introduce an agile way of working.
Paperless sequences, in which all work steps are software-controlled, are ideal. Corresponding processes can be modeled in detail, carried out in a targeted manner, monitored, and improved around the clock.
With the method, those responsible get an overview of running processes and see themselves in a position to redefine, map, and coordinate them.
The focus is on all processes that encompass an overall strategy, i.e., the chronologically and logically successive sub-steps from order creation to delivery to the customer. For the implementation, software-based techniques have been used that support the business processes.
In the long term, internal processes and the associated ability to act agile can be improved. With the help of an end-to-end process organization, companies ensure that a business process’s workflows interlock in the best possible way.
Adapted and automated
As an interface between the management concept and the automation of business processes, RPA software solutions ensure the process organization’s technical implementation.
Virtual employees handle individual user interfaces or complex business processes – including the associated user interfaces such as a mouse, keyboard, and screen – directly from the user.
The software bots work cross-application and integrally on all surfaces of the computer. Programming interfaces, user interface automation, and automatic image, pattern, and text recognition are used.
By automating previously manually executed processes, workers gain more capacity for tasks that require individual interaction and emotional judgment. Software robots imitate and perfect scalable business processes from all company areas, work around the clock if necessary, and with susceptibility to errors close to zero.
Thus servesRPA is used to optimize the repetitive work sequence itself, i.e., one or more sections of the overall process. By programming the virtual colleague to take on a specific part of the techniques that arise every day, they build a bridge between manual processing and automated processes.
Automation vs. process optimization
To see RPA as pure front-end automation falls short of my opinion. With an expanded understanding of the term, process steps can also be part of the desktop and the apps installed on it(RPA) that require direct interaction with backend systems.
While the focus for the software bots is on similar process processing, business process management is primarily about re-evaluating business processes and re-modeling and optimizing them with other (more IT-typical) means.
Manual processing should be avoided in this context. In this way, long-term process optimization can be achieved with the help of BPM. The software-based techniques used for this form the intersection between BPM and RPA.
As a decisive difference to dark processing, it can be stated that with RPA, the software bots execute business processes one-to-one like their human model – both about the processes themselves as well as to the tools used for them and the necessary accesses.
When modifying these processes, the front end must not be ignored. Efforts are currently being made to merge BPM and RPA into a hybrid product to provide users with the best of both worlds.
Harmonized processes are the prerequisite for the continuous improvement of business processes, which ensures consistency in service provision and the avoidance of redundancies. These optimizations have a tangible and measurable impact on variable and fixed costs, quality aspects, process speeds, and profitability.
However, to act entirely in the digital transformation spirit, it is not enough to know and optimize your processes. They must also be translated accordingly and made available to all those involved in the project to guarantee a smooth process.
An appealing and intuitive user interface ensures target-oriented and safe use of the application. If required, the app should also run on various end devices – from web browsers to tablets to smartphones – and ideally as quickly and professionally as possible because: In the course of digitization, many companies are faced with the problem that the demand for technical applications is growing faster than IT can deliver.
Due to the shortage of skilled workers, there is often a lack of suitably qualified personnel to implement the solutions.
Low code, high efficiency
New development platforms on a low-code basis serve, for example, to simplify complex robotic process automation. Such visually-based, integrated platforms encompass many of the tools and functions developers and IT teams need to design, program, deploy and manage their application portfolio.
In contrast to conventional coding, developers can use low code to increase their output three to four times while maintaining the same quality. Applications can be quickly deployed, changed, and managed. Companies can better exploit the potential of RPA on the one hand and use it for new work models on the other.
An example: If the corresponding algorithms help financial service providers process commercial transactions more quickly, that does not yet mean that they also comply with all the industry regulations. However, ensuring this conformity by hand slows down the previously streamlined business.
Standard software often does not have the desired effect, as it cannot adequately map the fast-moving financial sector’s needs. Stock trading, for example, could be accelerated with low-code platforms.
Up to productivity and further low-code
It can no longer be described as a niche trend. According to Gartner, more than 65 percent of all app developments will be carried out using low-code and no-code by 2024.1 This tendency is primarily because the classically programmed applications are often unable to the comparatively long development cycles to meet different expectations.
If an app needs two years to be ready for use, for example, the planned field of application often changes during this time, which leads to new user needs.
Does it also apply RPA, or Integrating AI into the app decrease the agility of development again? Without a suitable application, a company’s productivity stagnates because it enables it to implement the advantages of digital innovations technologically and thus gain an edge over the competition.
As paradoxical as it sounds, many business processes that are implemented to be more efficient hurt productivity. Linking RPA and low-code is one way of simplifying operations.
By automating repetitive and monotonous tasks with the help of a software bot, companies save time and money, gain productivity, capacity, flexibility, and employee satisfaction – important parameters in competition in a global market that is continually changing and developing.
With the right strategy, entrepreneurs can create a progressive workforce and secure their competitiveness.
Once you have started to automate, after initial successes, you can build on the projects you have already implemented and optimize different processes step by step. However, this is not yet a fully digitized process.
Digitization of business processes can be understood as the orchestration of all sub-processes of the end-to-end organization.
At the same time, it must not be forgotten to map and control the transfer points between humans and robots, which will arise in most cases in this orchestration layer so smoothly and with the least possible media breaks.
Any process gaps must be filled with bots and integrated data from other applications. It is also essential to include automated manual processes and garnish the product with a good user experience.
If companies want to set up digitally throughout, they need grout that holds them together in addition to these automated sub-processes. Low-code platforms represent a possibility of bringing the advantages of RPA and BPM into harmony and creating an overall process from a single source.