What is digital process automation? If you can define any of the following terms, you may already know the answer:
These terms all mean the same thing—at least, they should.
Researchers studying digital process automation (DPA) have developed competing terms for this emerging field. Digital process automation technology—and the language used to describe it—has simply moved too fast to have established conventions, at least so far.
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Digital process automation is the use of advanced technologies to execute complex business processes from beginning to end, with and without human participation. These DPA technologies include Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Business Process Management (BPM), and Artificial Intelligence (AI)—with AI including but not limited to machine learning, computer vision, predictive analytics, and Natural Language Processing (NLP).
This combination of technologies allows for automation of many use cases that were not previously possible and it also greatly reduces the amount of exception handling that is required.
The goal is to free up the workforce to complete higher-level tasks. DPA optimizes human contributions to core business goals while orchestrating people and automated systems into a seamless whole, with proven results (check out our case studies for real-life outcomes). To understand how DPA platforms accomplish these goals, it helps to look into the technologies that work together to achieve end-to-end digital automation.
Robotic process automation is the use of “bots”—software trained to automate rules-based tasks through existing software applications. These tasks are often very repetitive and time-consuming and would typically be completed by a human . Bots work sort of like people work, accessing user interfaces in a variety of digital systems—and thereby avoiding code-heavy custom integrations. For instance, a bot may go through your email, identify invoices, copy relevant data from those invoices, and paste that data into accounting software and an ERP—all without accessing the back-end code of any of those systems. Having bots do these tasks frees up time for the people that were doing them.
For all their strengths, RPA bots automate individual activities. Most business processes consist of strings of such tasks, often including human participation or review. Business process management is the practice of automating and orchestrating these complex end-to-end processes. You might use a BPM system to fully automate a multi-step business process, whether that’s tracking shipments or approving loans. Tasks can be assigned to an individual role or queue and tracked and reported on from end to end. A BPM system—like the Control Center on the Nividous platform—can also be used to orchestrate the workflow for a complete enterprise process that consists of tasks performed by humans and tasks performed by RPA bots. It can also be used to:
Long story short: DPA requires a combination of RPA and BPM (plus AI).
By streamlining work and freeing staff from rote tasks, DPA has shown powerful benefits, including:
The Nividous DPA platform can bring these benefits to your operation, whether the goal is to simply eliminate manual data entry or fully automate your accounts payable (or other) processes. Talk to us to see if DPA offers a solution for your workflow bottlenecks—or schedule a demo to see the Nividous DPA platform in action.
Once you determine that DPA is right for you, you’ll probably need to prove a business value to fellow decision-makers. The Nividous Quick Start program is the ideal next step. Our team works with you to deploy a customized RPA bot in just three or four weeks for a fixed price. That first RPA bot proves the value of full digital process automation in terms that everyone can understand—an easily discernible return on investment.