If you’re trying to plan for success with your business process automation, preparation is a key factor that cannot be overlooked. Thoroughly understanding which business processes you are trying to automate in the first place, and how they currently run, is a great place to start.

Now, there is no doubt that automation is coming to your company, but success can be harder to come by. Consider the adoption and top automation-related challenges uncovered in a recent McKinsey Automation survey:

  • 50-60% of companies in the US and Europe have either launched or piloted automation
  • 48% cited Talent and Employee Resistance Management as the top challenge
  • 27% said Understanding and Capturing the Opportunity was the most challenging

So how well is your company prepared to carry out a successful automation initiative?

A recent Computer Weekly article takes an interesting look at business process automation and the critical steps companies should take from the start to be successful. According to TIBCO CTO Nelson Petracek, “People have a tendency to find shortcuts if given the opportunity, or they may find creative ways of circumventing steps or tasks that are seen as unnecessary or as bottlenecks. Fraud and other undesirable activities may also influence process execution within or across organizations.”

Process Mining

According to Petracek, the path to effective automation starts with process mining, which is the practice of analyzing business processes based on event logs. To put it another way, process mining looks at the paths data can take throughout your company’s systems and applications—not just the data itself. Patracek also advises organizations to simplify the task of process mining, using integration platforms and data virtualization that can help provide easier access to company-wide data, creating an abstraction layer between the process mining capability and underlying source systems.

Value Stream Mapping

Another practice aimed at helping analyze the current and future state of your company’s business processes is called value stream mapping (VSM). The Gartner Glossary defines VSM as “the process of charting out or visually displaying a value stream so that improvement activity can be effectively planned.” VSM typically focuses on understanding the flow and value of not just information across your company, but also the flow of “materials,” such as support tickets, and the associated work. VSM can help identify process gaps where work is left waiting to be done or where automation can be applied to drive increased operational efficiencies. 

To learn more, including how to remove process bottlenecks, read the complete Computer Weekly article.