Operational Resilience Through Workflow Automation

by: Scott Burt, VP of Corporate Strategies

In a recent webinar about IBM’s Cloud Pak for Workflow Automation, industry experts referred to the post-pandemic business landscape as the “new normal” – one in which disruption is the rule for which businesses should be prepared.

“The main theme we anticipate for the future is a drive toward operational resilience,” said IBM Director of Innovation Jim Casey. “We’ve lived through a major global disruption that affected all business sectors and, now, we want to be as prepared as possible for what’s next.”

One way to move toward operational resilience is by automating workflows and is a part of IBM’s latest offering, IBM Business Automation Workflow Enterprise. This service combines process and case management capabilities into one enterprise-grade workflow solution designed to meet both large and small business needs – from re-engineering to-do lists for remote teams to inserting artificial intelligence into appropriate digital touchpoints to ease the human workload.

Depending on your industry, your current workflow processes – and pain points – may vary, but the desired result is the same: more efficient systems to meet your customer’s needs. “During the pandemic, businesses were really in crisis management mode and stabilization,” Casey said. “But now, we need to be better prepared for anything that happens, while still meeting our customer’s continually evolving digital needs.”

One easy way to deliver better results to your customers is by enabling tech in your workflow.

Automation helps by:

  • Automatically prioritizing and routing work
  • Guiding users (human or digital) through decisions
  • Leveraging existing systems and data
  • Monitoring business events and initiating action
  • Gaining real-time visibility and process control

This could look like improved dashboards to gain visibility, identifying and solving for gaps or pain points or adding digital workers where possible to help automate the entire process.

Digital workers are a key component in automating workflows and are defined as software-based labor able to independently execute meaningful parts of complex, end-to-end processes using a range of skills. They leverage artificial intelligence capabilities, like machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing, to execute a sequence of tasks within a given workflow.

“Automated workflow is really all about inserting a layer between the humans and the systems they work on to improve it,” Willingham said. “This is about creating structured and predictable workflows – not removing humans or current systems.”

So, digital workers are not intended to remove humans, but rather to amplify their effectiveness. When a gap is identified in a workflow, it can be handed off to a subject matter expert to work on uncomplicating or solving the problem with their knowledge set.

Automated workflows help define large and small processes quickly by monitoring and modeling current workflows to see bottlenecks or gaps. Process improvements could include:

  • Helping expedite new customer onboarding from weeks to days or hours
  • Processing payments more quickly
  • Creating digital versions of formerly in-person processes
  • Gaining visibility with dashboarding into current systems
  • Simulating automation possibilities and run in real time
  • Capturing information over time to create viable data

The importance of workflow automation was also recently highlighted in Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Trends. Learn more about IBM’s workflow automation solution here.

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