June 20, 2017 | Written by: Troy DesBarres
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PART 1: Introduction
In your organization, it might be time to re-visit those business processes that may have been created some time ago, using technologies that were then available. Process automation or re-automation tools and techniques change. So where do you start? What technologies should one look at and lastly how do you get the most ROI back on your automation efforts? This blog series examines these issues, while presenting the MagicLamp approach to the perplexity that is RPA, IBM Datacap OCR and building processes that work.
Setting the Stage: When starting to take on the task of revisiting existing or creating new business processes from scratch, evaluating what parts of an entire workflow are good candidates for automation.
Regardless of the tool sets and technologies available today, it’s MagicLamp Software’s opinion that when deciding what parts of a process are good candidates for automation architects should look at tasks that are:
- Relatively small
- Easily convertible using automation tool sets
- Less prone to errors and should errors occur they can easily be containable and acted upon without entire process collapse
The overall goal of this exercise is to determine tasks that are sub set activities of a much larger process, not the process. Once these tasks have been identified, architects can then determine which technologies can best be used to automate these tasks properly.
When considering process automation tools, a lot of the decisions around which tools to use come down to the requirements of the organization and the ability of the IT department to be able to support the tool sets.
MagicLamp Software is a Blue Prism RPA partner, and though there are a large number of RPA products on the market, deciding on the right tool set to implement can be a daunting decision.
To help get started, I have provided a short list to use as a starting point of things that should be considered:
- Is the RPA solution mature in its solution delivery methodology?
- Does the support model meet the needs of the organization?
- Which level of RPA is required?
- Custom Scripting
- Recording based workflow
- Enterprise workflow solutions required
- Is unattended automation/workforce a requirement?
- How important is audit/compliance requirements?
In our observation, we have found that greater RPA success can be found if clients start small, keep the automated workflows lightweight and targeted on a purpose. Though the desire will be to boil the ocean refrain from such an approach, RPA can bring great benefits and excitement. RPA like every other technology has its strategic placement within the enterprise, and if correctly implemented, RPA can provide great value, insight and ROI.
The Business Scenario: In addition to Blue Prism, RPA MagicLamp Software also specializes in IBM Datacap that is an imaging platform of the IBM ECM portfolio that provides imaging automation with a strong OCR capability.
To best illustrate how IBM Datacap can greatly improve the capability of automation, let’s begin with a scenario. Consider a business process where multiple documents are dropped into a folder as PDF files. The business would like an automated process to:
- Consume each document placed in a folder keeping in mind that the RPA workflow knows nothing about the document being consumed.
- Enable classification of each document into one of two types: an Employment Application Document or a Licensing Exam Document. If the document is any other type, then it needs be manually classified using Datacap.
- Once classified, the workflow must then send the document to Datacap to be fully processed including OCR/Extraction and Validation based on the Document Classification.
- Once Datacap is complete, a Blue Prism workflow must then take all of the metadata and input it into the correct system of record based on the Document Classification.
In PART 2 of this blog series, we will focus on the solution design and implementation. In the meantime, to learn more about IBM ECM including IBM Datacap and RPA, download the infographic.