04 Oct Mind the GAP
Everyone was Au-to-mating, Those Processes Were Fast as Light-ing!
You have probably been hearing a lot of buzz around automation lately. From the monster venture rounds raised by the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) companies to the constant news flow about how the robots will be taking all our jobs in the next 20 years. Automation is showing up everywhere, your emails, your television, and your news feeds. But what does all the of those 3-letter acronyms really mean? RPA, BPA, DPA, GAP’s, and IPA (not the delicious kind you drink either ?) It’s enough to make your head automatically route around your neck while collecting and integrating data (a little automation humor). The question executives are really wondering is: How can automation help me boost the bottom line??
AUTOMATION-WHAT THE HECK IS IT?
We should start this journey through automation land by getting everyone on the same page with a definition. Techopedia.com defines automation as:
“…the creation of technology and its application in order to control and monitor the production and delivery of various goods and services. It performs tasks that were previously performed by humans. Automation is being used in a number of areas such as manufacturing, transport, utilities, defense, facilities, operations and lately, information technology.”
Let’s break that down and make it more digestible (like that IPA yum!). Automation is tech that helps people and companies perform any task that was previously done by humans. We humans have been automating stuff for millennia dating back to Ancient Greeks and Egyptians creating the water clock, which was the first “feedback-controlled mechanism”, fancy engineer speak for automation.
Whether the automation is industrial (From Thomas Newcomen’s Steam engine up to Honeywell’s Experion LX Control System), Retail (Funny story: I BOT a coffee from a robot in San Francisco last week.), Logistics (Jeff Bezos is taking over the world using a whole army of robots from Kiva Systems inside Fulfillment Centers.) or the General Automation of business processes (Which is what we love, dream and obsess about here at FORMVERSE). Automation is booming in today’s world. Allowing us human to do way more productive things like read political tweets and play Fortnite.
MIND THE GAP!
General Automation Platforms? What in the world are General Automation Platforms? I know what you are thinking, just what we need another software acronym and Gartner Magic Quadrant! Just wait it gets interesting, I promise. I think Amanda Letterman at Kardia Ventures sums it GAPs best:
“General automated platforms (GAP)s are a software platform that allow processes across multiple organizations with multiple applications to be automated. While GAPs are used across organizations by many different functions, they are also made so that all levels of any organizations in any industry can utilize them. There is no coding required and they typically have good user interfaces with useful capabilities like drag and drop. Lower costs, increased and faster time to value in revenue, more productive staff, and increased relationships with customers are some of the benefits.”
“a GAP can allow a company to automate processes between disparate applications. Businesses that want successful, enriched and accurate opportunities and powerful integrations between applications should implement a GAP. This creates a competitive advantage and enables a business to align the organization’s goals, create new and efficient processes, gain visibility of inputs, and grow cost-effective revenue streams.”
You can see an obvious trend forming where the automation of enterprise processes is continuously moving to flexible “no-code” platforms that are user-friendly and need less dedicated IT resources. Automation is gaining interest in all kinds of different ways by every business group in an organization (Operations, Manufacturing, Finance, HR, Sales, Compliance, IT etc.). Every division, group, and business unit are discovering a plethora of ways to utilize automation. Being able to integrate data from this automation and connect different previously unconnected applications is becoming the next chapter automation revolution. Move over Tommy Newcomen!
BUT DRAKE, LET’S GET SERIOUS. CAN AUTOMATION REALLY HELP MY COMPANY?
I am as serious as the heart attack that robot barista almost gave me! Absolutely it will help your company! Think about all the employee hours being spent on non-value-added tasks in the workplace and the frustration that causes. Think about the critical manual processes that that could help your people produce more revenue and accomplish more in a workday. I hear stories everyday about endless data-entry to multiple systems, unstructured data being endlessly emailed back and forth, employees not knowing where the approval for that super important revenue generating request is and employees actually walking paper forms around the office for signature. This all turns good, smart and hard-working contributors into unproductive, frustrated detractors scrolling through Indeed looking for their next job.
Let’s face it, automation, in one form or another, should already be happening at your company. The problem is that most automation doesn’t pack the ROI punch to justify the cost. Big BPA systems are expensive, RPA systems requires lot of IT resources and low-end systems just don’t give the enterprises the functionality needed to help employees really change their un-automated ways. No-code General Automation Platforms change all of that.
Let’s review to really drive home the message. Cost effective no-code automation of processes can have huge benefit across the enterprise by:
• Improving the productivity of your workforce
• Increasing revenue
• Reducing costs in all departments
• Reducing costly human errors
• Increasing meaningful collaboration
• Collecting/providing valuable data analysis to improve business processes.
THE FUTURE OF AUTOMATION
Whether you think the robots are coming for all our jobs, that automation hype is overblown or you somewhere in between, automation inside the enterprise will continue to grow. Providing greater opportunities to those companies who can leverage new technologies. This change will positively affect the bottom line. Demand for employees with technical skills and understanding will continue to grow as demand for manual/basic cognitive skills will decrease leading cost savings. Intelligent software will continue to improve and help employees work together with machines for more effective outcomes. This will lead companies of all sizes to gains in productivity and better financial outcomes.