Disrupt or be Disrupted – The Need for Intelligent Business Automation

NOVEMBER 19, 2020

Business is Under Threat Like Never Before

Today companies are faced with new challenges. In addition to the more traditional competition, companies are challenged by new entrants, using modern technology to enter new markets and disrupt long established business. On top of this companies now have to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it is having on their business; having to rethink their business models.

To be successful companies need to deal with the following challenges:

  • Global Competitors: Technology and the internet has made it easier for more traditional competitors to broaden their reach and enter new markets, posing a new threat to well established local companies

  • New Entrants: New entrants are using technology to disrupt more traditional markets. Unhindered by legacy they are free to use technology to differentiate, as a way of providing an enhanced customer experience, driving business efficiency and reducing costs

  • Changing Expectations: Customers are more tech savvy, comfortable with using technology in their private lives. These customers expect businesses to deliver outstanding service by using technology; if not, the competition is just one click away

  • COVID19: The need to address and adapt to new ways of working, with a distributed workforce and a desperate need to increase efficiencies across the board

It’s All About Digital Transformation

Everybody is talking about Digital Transformation, the need to digitally transform the way that companies do business. If you read most vendors promotional material, they have the panacea, the ultimate solution for Digital Transformation. But in reality, Digital Transformation is a business discipline that changes the way a company works.

Technology can help, but without changing the way a company approaches how it deals with their customers, without putting the customers first and thinking about how every interaction with the customer needs to be a positive experience, companies are going to fail. Once you establish how you need to change, how to improve every interaction, and do it from the customers perspective, only then can you look at technology to see which solutions will enable you to succeed.

What organizations need is a platform that allows them to model complete business activities. But typically, companies have taken one of two approaches to address the problem; Islands of Innovation or Boil the Ocean.

Islands of Innovation

Companies may cherry pick which processes, activities and cases get addressed and which departments are worthy of the investment. This selection can be driven by the cost, effort and complexity of taking a more rounded approach.

The diagram below shows how select activities may get addressed.

Sales may be responsible for completing a sale and then the customer onboarding process. Service Delivery is responsible for initial delivery of the product or service, while the Support Department provides after sales support.

Graphic showing Islands of Innovation approach to digitalize business processes

The company may use technology to automate activities within the departments, making individual departments more efficient. But the issue is that the company has not modeled a complete business activity – selling, delivering and supporting a product. This approach leaves holes or gaps between different departments, leading to the customer falling into the void.

Manual intervention is needed to bridge the siloed worlds, reducing overall efficiency, leading to mistakes, longer time to resolve issues and ultimately a negative customer experience and potentially a loss of business.

Boil the Ocean

The other approach is to try and code a solution that spans multiple departments, to try and address the needs of many different groups and codify the complete end-to-end process in a single application. This is time consuming, trying to broker agreement from different groups that may have different needs, requirements and different objectives.

Graphic showing the Boil the Ocean approach to digitalizing business processes

The end result is a lot of time, energy and money spent delivering an overly complex solution that tries to address every eventuality. Projects are often delivered late, over budget and rarely reflect what the business is trying to achieve.

The biggest issue is that the resultant application is so complex it is hard to change as business requirements evolve. Even the smallest change will require significant testing to ensure that it does not corrupt the inter-dependencies and bring the whole application crashing down.

Enter Intelligent Business Automation

Flowable provides a different, model-driven approach. Using low code, visual design tooling, that supports industry standards, allows Flowable customers to create a library of Processes, Cases and Decision Support modules that can be reused across multiple business activities.

Rather than create a monolithic, end-to -end application, Flowable allows designers to link modules into multiple different business applications. By using commonly used industry standards, designers do not need to learn some esoteric, propriety coding language to create functional business applications.

CMMN (Case Management Model and Notation) allows the system to understand the interdependencies between the various modules; defining the entry and exit criteria of each module.

The diagram below shows how a financial services organization could create an application to support a business activity; to focus on the whole life-cycle of a loan, from opening, managing repayments, through to settlement.

Graphic showing business process modelling with Flowable

As can be seen, the application also has supporting elements: Complaint Investigation, Fraud Investigation, Change of Address Request, and so on. These are all part of a single application, but are separate modules that can be reused in other busines applications.

If a module needs to adapt to support a change in business requirements, this can be modified and tested in isolation. This ensures business continuity and reduces the time and effort needed to support evolving business needs.

The Flowable approach to Intelligent Business Automation has seen customers achieve significant benefits:

  • Reduced Time to Value: Delivering applications to the business in much less time

  • Business Agility: Giving the business the ability to modify applications as business needs evolve

  • Greater Coverage: Reusing common modules helps to reduce the time and cost of delivering more joined-up business applications across the complete organization

  • Compliance: Simplicity ensures that changes do not affect business continuity

  • Operational Excellence: Driving business efficiencies, reducing working costs and focusing on customer interaction helps companies achieve operation excellence

To learn more about Flowable and how it can help increase your competitive advantage visit our product page.

Share this Blog post
blog_Empowering human decision-making: The incremental approach to AI in business_keyvisual
Business | MAY 14, 2024
Empowering Human Decision-Making: The Incremental Approach to AI in Business

Business process automation and case management provide the perfect foundation for AI modelling designed to support rather than supplant human efforts.

Business | APRIL 22, 2024
Scaling RPA with Process Orchestration and Business Process Automation

After a surge in RPA adoption, companies recognize that scaling RPA effectively requires a well-defined orchestration strategy. Here's how BPA can help.

Business | APRIL 9, 2024
Elevating Business with Business Process Orchestration

Process Orchestration catalyzes change, enabling businesses to navigate their digital landscape with agility, improve decision-making, and secure a competitive edge.