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Business

Elevating Business with Business Process Orchestration

APRIL 9, 2024

Summary: Process orchestration offers a nuanced approach to integrating and managing complex business workflows. It catalyzes change, enabling businesses to navigate their digital landscape with agility, improve decision-making, and secure a competitive edge.

Takeaways:

  • Process orchestration enables strategic and seamless integration across various systems, improving decision-making and operational efficiency.

  • Process orchestration fosters agility, allowing organizations to swiftly adapt to internal and external changes and subsequently offering a substantial competitive advantage.

  • The greater visibility into processes and simplified compliance management offered by process orchestration platforms is essential for regulatory adherence and risk mitigation.

The journey to operational excellence

In today's fast-paced business environment, the integration and optimization of processes are not just advantageous but essential for staying competitive. Process automation has laid much of the groundwork — as illustrated with a projected market value of USD 41.1 billion by 2032 — enabling businesses to streamline processes and significantly reduce manual effort. However, the journey towards achieving operational excellence does not stop here.

The next phase of the journey involves business process orchestration — which builds on the foundations laid by process automation to address more strategic, business-wide challenges. According to McKinsey research,  50% of all work could be automated, but only 31% of businesses have taken the step to automate at least one function. 

The deployment of automation initiatives to date has been primarily aimed at enhancing business efficiency, but as organizations strive for greater agility and efficiency, the role of business process orchestration becomes increasingly pivotal. It offers a different approach to process management, expanding beyond tasks and processes in one system to offer seamless interaction between tasks and processes from systems across the business.

This broader perspective often bridges multiple departments, humans, and systems — enhancing decision-making capabilities and operational transparency across the whole enterprise and fostering an environment to pursue strategic goals more effectively.

Process orchestration vs. process automation

Just as an orchestra achieves its full potential only when under the guidance of a skilled conductor, harmonizing individual instruments into a cohesive symphony, operational excellence only happens when process orchestration unifies disparate data, systems, and processes across an organization into a seamless operational flow. This concept extends beyond the automation of tasks to encapsulate a strategic, holistic approach to managing and integrating workflows.

Process orchestration and process automation, while complementary, serve different organizational needs. Automation looks to execute specific tasks with the least possible human involvement —using technology to take a task that was once manual and accomplish it as “automatically” as possible. Process automation expands on this and typically refers to longer, potentially end-to-end processes that often span multiple devices, systems, people, and even departments.

In contrast, orchestration involves coordinating the many endpoints of business processes. Process orchestration platforms connect multiple, often complex, automations together to traverse many different teams or stakeholders and integrate with numerous systems and devices—all without losing visibility into the end-to-end process.

Orchestration looks at the bigger picture, integrating tasks and processes into a coherent system that operates in entirely sync, much like the sections of an orchestra. The conductor, or orchestration platform, ensures that each process, like each instrument, contributes optimally at the right time, producing a melody greater than the sum of its parts.

One of the critical challenges that process orchestration addresses is the issue of siloed information and processes. In many organizations, data, and workflows are often isolated within different departments or systems, leading to inefficiencies and a lack of transparency — indeed, 81% percent of respondents in a 2024 report that data silos are hindering their transformation efforts.

Orchestration breaks down these barriers, enhancing data flow, accessibility, and visibility across the organization. By enabling a seamless exchange of information and coordinating interdependent processes, orchestration provides a unified, holistic view of operations, allowing for more informed decision-making and a more agile response to changing business needs.

The strategic integration facilitated by process orchestration optimizes individual processes and redefines how we manage information and workflows across the entire organization. The result is a more efficient, agile, and cohesive operational framework with accessible information and streamlined processes.

The strategic value of process orchestration

Process orchestration's strategic value goes far beyond traditional process automation's capabilities by offering an integrated approach to workflow management.

  • Enhancing decision-making: Process orchestration creates a unified information system that improves decision-making capabilities across the business. Organizations gain a holistic view of operations by coordinating disparate systems and data, facilitating more informed and timely decisions. The reality today is that 97% of IT professionals see process automation as crucial to digital transformation, underscoring the need for an orchestration layer to manage complex workflows and enhance decision-making.

  • Agility and competitive advantage: The agility provided by process orchestration offers a considerable competitive advantage. Organizations can respond swiftly to market changes and capitalize on new opportunities. Traditional automation, often implemented in silos, hampers quick integration of new tools and adaptation to changes. A 2024 MuleSoft research paper found that large businesses had, on average, 991 applications, illustrating the necessity for orchestration to navigate the rapidly changing digital landscape and maintain a competitive edge.

  • Increasing operational transparency: With process orchestration, businesses achieve greater visibility into process performance, identifying bottlenecks and subsequently enhancing operational efficiencies. By consolidating various tools into a single orchestration platform, organizations reduce complexity and increase the resiliency of their systems, thus improving operational transparency and facilitating more effective oversight and management.

  • Simplifying compliance: Orchestrating processes simplifies compliance management by enabling a single view of enterprise governance in relation to operational excellence. This consolidation helps adherence to regulatory standards more efficiently and allows organizations to manage compliance across diverse business systems and processes, which was previously impossible due to the lack of integration.

From automation to orchestration — and beyond!

As we stand on the brink of a new era in business operations, the transition from process automation to orchestration is not just a step but a leap toward future-proofing organizations. Embracing process orchestration is vital for any enterprise looking to thrive amidst the digital revolution, and this document is a call to action for your business to recognize the transformative potential of orchestration and to actively integrate it into your strategic planning. The future is orchestrated — and now is the moment to begin conducting your symphony.

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