An Introduction to Business Process Automation

What is Business Process Automation?

Business process automation (BPA), or IT process automation, focuses on streamlining, optimizing and automating the key processes that drive value for an organization and its customers. BPA software enables organizations to design, execute, monitor, and continuously improve business processes that span organizational boundaries and computer networks. Premium BPA software leverages existing IT assets and applications to accelerate informational flows, reduce operational errors, and eliminate delays. It makes business processes more robust, faster, and more efficient. BPA software detects and proactively responds to events (i.e., changes in data, systems, and networks), so organizations that employ it are generally more nimble and responsive to change.

How Does Business Process Automation Work?

Business process automation solutions feature three critical pillars - orchestration, integration, and dynamic process automation. Tight coupling of these elements enables organizations to streamline and automate business processes regardless of scope, scale, and complexity.

Orchestration empowers business managers and IT developers to collaborate on automated process designs using easy-to-use, visually compelling, and intuitive interfaces. It also requires centralized control of business processes that span functional departments, computer networks, and diverse IT environments. Orchestration engines must oversee and execute discrete, independent automation activities in a cohesive, coordinated, and intelligent manner. Orchestration must collect and transform data/events into actionable information which facilitates proactive decision-making. Finally, orchestration must enable real-time, centralized continuous improvement decentralized sub-processes.

Orchestration is not effective in the absence of integration. Integration enables systems and applications to read, modify, and exchange critical data that drive the decision-making of humans and machines. Most business processes consist of disparate systems, diverse environments, and multiple applications, so tight integration is a necessary component of complete business process automation.

The final pillar of business process automation is dynamic, rule-based, automated execution across multiple systems. Automation enables organizations to streamline or eliminate repetitive, manual tasks. Premium automation platforms provide these capabilities without requiring deep programming expertise. Best-of-breed automation platforms deliver more value by eliminating barriers to the entry and change, not by imposing requirements and limitations. They also accelerate development and promote reuse of intellectual property. Finally, automation centralizes control over the development process to eliminate the hassles of managing and maintaining code over the long term.

This topic is covered in depth in Business Process Automation: Managing Cost in Your Enterprise, an eBook by Windows IT Pro.

The Network Automation Approach

As the proven leader in business process automation, we provide organizations with an enterprise ready automation platform. Our core product offerings - under the flagship AutoMate brand - bridge the gap between power and simplicity. Our software logically separates high-level business process design from the intricate work of developing detailed automation applications. We provide an automation platform and tools that promote collaboration between the business users who rely on automation and the IT workers who deliver automation. We enable organizations to design, deploy, and manage optimized business processes regardless of infrastructural limitations. We free businesses from the constraints typically imposed by pre-existing systems and legacy applications. We give them a way to design and streamline their key business processes using a "white board" mentality where no barrier is taken as a given.

Next: An Introduction to AutoMate

AutoMate 7, Best Scripting Tool, Redmond 2009; BPA Server 7, Best Automation and Batch Processing Tool, Redmond 2009; AutoMate 7, Best Automation Product, Windows IT Pro 2009