Many business documents, from invoices to medical records, are boring, necessary and tedious to deal with. And until recently only humans had the ability to process them, locking smart people into low-value work. But now, technology has got to the point where it can not only read standard documents but also pick relevant information out from images and designs in complex layouts.
In one case, a UK start-up has trained software to correctly identify information across 4,300 invoice designs, cutting bill processing time by up to 50%. “Your team of Python engineers would need to build 4,000 templates to analyse this data,” said Martin Goodson, CEO at the technology’s vendor, EvolutionAI, in a talk hosted by Infomentum.
Being able to tap into this kind of intelligent technology is why there is a buzz right now around terms such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and system automation. Increasingly, these tools are seen as vital to business success. But they also represent something of a minefield to the uninitiated. Clearly, you can’t automate your entire business, so where do you start? And how far do you go? Thankfully, there is a tried-and-tested methodology to map out your automation journey.
Your automation journey
In a nutshell, it involves:
- Analysing your processes as they are at the moment, using technologies such as process mapping.
- Improving your existing processes.
- Understanding the potential of automation for your business and setting adequate project goals.
- Selecting and implementing the right automation platforms for your business, sourcing technologies from leading vendors such as UiPath, Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism and others.
- Monitoring and scaling your automation initiative(s).
Naturally, each step is more complex than it sounds. To get started, at Infomentum we have developed a framework broken down into ‘Shift’, ‘Shape’ and ‘Sustain’ phases. Having an independent advisor throughout this journey is important because automation vendors will bombard you with laundry lists of product capabilities and application programming interfaces without pausing to consider if you actually need them.
Shift.Shape.Sustain - Customer Engagement Framework
Start with process mapping
That’s why we advocate starting your journey with process mapping, which is an analytical discipline for discovering, monitoring and improving current processes by extracting knowledge from event logs readily available in your information systems. You can think of it as a process X-ray, revealing what’s actually going on under the skin of your business… and showing you where there are performance-impairing fractures and cracks that may need attention.
Armed with this knowledge, you can set out on your process automation journey in a confident and cost-effective manner. And there is good reason to start soon. Many companies are already reaping significant benefits from back office automation, tying together workflows related to customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, human resources and so on.
If don’t want your enterprise to miss out on the benefits of becoming an intelligent organisation, speak to us now.
Learn how we can help your business embrace process automation at the free Infomentum knowledge-sharing roadshow.