Business Process Automation: The Changing Face of IT

Oct 2 2007   8:39AM GMT

Hello Everyone and Welcome!

Mfalkow Michael Falkow Profile: Mfalkow


It used to be that MIS and IT professionals were charged with simply implementing technology solutions to keep a business functioning.  The “digit heads” were kept separate because few understood what was happening under the hood so to speak.  Now, however, IT managers and executives are being charged with proactively identifying and defining opportunities where technology will enhance and automate their organizations’ operations.  This requires the IT professional to not only understand the organization’s goals and objectives, but also have an in-depth understanding of the organization’s business operations.  In short, the IT professional is now being asked to walk across the “technical divide” that separates business operations from technology.  The result is Business Process Automation.

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  • This sound very similar to Business Process Management, don’t you think? Yusuf
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  • Mfalkow
    Hi Yusuf, Thank you for your comment!! There is indeed a lot of discussion around this very question. Are BPM and BPA merely synonyms, or is BPA a subset of the larger and broader area of BPM? Those who favor BPM will push for a complete analysis of all business processes within the organization before actually making any modifications. Once this detailed enterprise-wide analysis is complete, the processes can be re-defined, perhaps optimized and/or automated, or eliminated altogether because of redundancy. All too often, however, medium-to-large scale organizations get too wrapped up in the whole BPM ideology, and this causes many projects to 1) be abandoned before they get off the ground, 2) only achieve partial success, or 3) fail completely. The goal behind BPM is to achieve true organizational value through the changed/automated processes at the highest level of the organization. By the way, ROI is only one aspect, as sometimes simply remaining competitive and/or in business altogether is justification enough. Those who think that BPA is a subset of BPM (me, for example) think that the speed of business is so fast that to try and assess each and every process in an organization is just too inefficient. Quick hits, or “wins” as I call them, often create more value. From my experience in document imaging and document management, automating a business process in one area often uncovers the next area to be addressed and so on. This serial method of BPA provides something that a parallel method cannot, and that is what I call a “self-correcting” architecture. Changes can be made along the way to account for outside influences or those curve balls we get in business that we weren’t expecting. Thanks, and let’s keep the discussions going! Michael
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