What is enterprise automation?
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Published: 5 February 2024
Contributors: Tasmiha Khan

What is enterprise automation?

Enterprise automation is the strategic use of technology to integrate, streamline and automate business processes across an organization. It involves the integration of software applications, artificial intelligence and other technologies to drive business value.

Enterprise automation represents a holistic approach to automation that aims to move beyond siloed IT automation and business process automation, and beyond simply achieving gains in process efficiency and reduced costs. The goal of enterprise automation is to create centralized control and strategy over automation that is geared toward realizing greater business value and helping organizations become more agile.

Through enterprise automation, organizations aim to optimize workflows, improve productivity, align siloed teams around shared organizational goals and drive digital transformation across the enterprise. Enterprise automation can be achieved in a wide variety of ways, from using basic automation tools to automate routine tasks such as data entry and document processing, to using more advanced solutions designed for complex processes like resource allocation and system integration.

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Types of enterprise automation

Enterprise automation encompasses various types of automation that facilitate workflow and process efficiency. These include:

Rule-based automation

Rule-based automation involves creating predefined rules or algorithms to execute tasks. It follows a set of conditions to determine actions, allowing for consistent and structured task execution.

Integration automation: APIs, CRMs, ERPs for workflow optimization

This type involves integrating various software systems, applications or databases within an enterprise. Application programming interfaces (APIs), customer relationship management (CRM) tools, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools are integrated to optimize workflows and ensure seamless data flow between systems. Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) solutions are often integral for facilitating seamless data flow between diverse software applications and creating a cohesive automation landscape.

Real-time decision-making and intelligent automation

Real-time decision-making involves using data analytics, machine learning and other AI algorithms to make quick and informed decisions based on current data. Intelligent automation uses AI-powered technologies to perform complex tasks, learn from data and adapt to changing scenarios without human intervention.

Robotic process automation (RPA)

RPA refers to the use of software robots, or "bots," to automate repetitive, rule-based tasks. These bots mimic human actions by interacting with digital systems, executing tasks and manipulating data across systems.

Business process automation (BPA)

Business process automation involves using automation tools to optimize business processes and minimize human intervention. BPA tools encompass end-to-end automation strategies, emphasizing the seamless integration of tasks within a business process. Enterprise automation platforms provide comprehensive environments for managing BPA tools, optimizing enterprise processes and executing overarching automation strategies. 

Technologies driving enterprise automation

From the power of artificial intelligence to machine learning integration and the emergence of no-code/low-code platforms, there are many cutting-edge technologies driving enterprise automation and its increasing adoption.

Integration of machine learning in automation solutions

Machine learning plays a significant role in enterprise automation by enabling systems to learn from data, identify patterns and make predictions or decisions without explicit programming. It enhances enterprise automation solutions by enabling predictive analysis, anomaly detection and personalized recommendations.

Role of artificial intelligence (AI) in workflow optimization

Artificial intelligence, including technologies like natural language processing (NLP) and computer vision, plays a vital role in optimizing workflows. AI-powered systems automate decision-making, recognize patterns, and assist in handling unstructured data, thereby streamlining processes and improving accuracy.

No-code/low-code platforms

No-code and low-code platforms are emerging as transformative tools in enterprise automation. These platforms allow users with little or no coding experience to develop and deploy automation solutions rapidly. They facilitate the creation of custom workflows, automation of repetitive tasks, and integration of systems without extensive coding requirements.

Business impact of enterprise automation

Enterprise automation can significantly transform business operations. Automation can be used to streamline workflows, standardize processes and minimize errors, all of which help organizations build consistent, reliable operations that bolster organizational agility and adaptability. 

By automating repetitive and time-intensive tasks, organizations can reduce operational costs and optimize resource utilization. This helps employees and systems work more efficiently, increasing enterprise productivity and profitability. Automation can also have a positive impact on team dynamics by liberating employees from mundane tasks and empowering them to engage in strategic, higher-value initiatives. 

A survey conducted by Salesforce found that workplace automation has improved overall employee satisfaction. Out of the 773 automation users surveyed in the United States, 89% reported increased job satisfaction, while 84% expressed greater satisfaction with their company, attributing these positive sentiments to the integration of automation in their workplace.

While many organizations currently approach automation in a siloed fashion, where each business unit leverages automation to improve their internal processes, an increasing emphasis on value realization in automation, evolving customer demands, and improved automation technologies will necessitate a more holistic approach. Enter enterprise automation.

Enterprise automation is built around a comprehensive, executive-driven automation strategy that integrates the automation efforts of separate business units around shared organizational goals. Organizations who successfully navigate this shift stand to gain a competitive advantage from the increased scalability, integrated analytics, centralized control, and ultimately, business value, that an enterprise automation approach provides.

Enterprise automation use cases

From healthcare to supply chain management to retail, enterprise automation is redefining the way work is done.

Automation in healthcare processes

In the healthcare sector, enterprise automation plays a pivotal role in optimizing onboarding procedures and enhancing various healthcare processes. Automation facilitates the seamless integration of patient records, appointment scheduling, bill management and claims processing. It is also vital in ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. 

Additionally, automation is used to streamline administrative tasks, such as managing electronic health records (EHRs), thereby improving operational efficiency and allowing healthcare professionals to focus more on patient care.

Automation in procurement and supply chain management

In procurement and supply chain operations, automation is used to handle repetitive tasks like order processing, inventory management and supplier relationship management. Through automated workflows and real-time data analysis, organizations can optimize inventory levels, forecast demand more accurately, and streamline the procurement process from requisition to payment. Automation ensures smoother operations, minimizes errors, and enhances the overall efficiency and responsiveness of the supply chain.

Automation in customer experience management

Automation technologies have revolutionized the customer experience across various industries. For example, automation has enabled the creation of personalized and seamless customer journeys. Chatbots, AI-driven customer support systems and automated marketing campaigns allow businesses to engage with customers in real-time, provide instant assistance, deliver personalized recommendations and enhance overall customer satisfaction. Automation tech streamlines customer interactions, ensures prompt responses and delivers tailored experiences, fostering long-term customer loyalty and retention.

Automation in retail

Automation is also being used to improve retail processes. For example, retailers use automation to streamline the returns process and allow for returns to be completed without assistance from human workers. This enhances process efficiency and customer experience in the retail ecosystem. Automation can also help with store planning and analyzing sales and inventory databases. 

Enterprise automation considerations and challenges

Despite its benefits, enterprise automation presents certain considerations and challenges that organizations must address during their automation transformation.

Automation siloes

Many automation efforts are siloed to individual teams focused on their unit’s internal goals and KPIs. While this works well for achieving narrow efficiency and cost-saving gains, it leaves a lot of value on the table. This limited scope leads to inefficiencies that might otherwise be avoided given business-wide planning and cooperation and can prevent organizations from fully capitalizing on the value automation provides.

Identifying bottlenecks and implementation challenges

In some cases, it is difficult to identify bottlenecks in existing processes and determine where automation can be most effectively implemented. Organizations must pinpoint these areas and align automation strategies with business objectives to ensure seamless integration with legacy systems.

Additional implementation hurdles include resistance to change from stakeholders, lack of a clear enterprise automation strategy and cultural barriers within the organization.

Ensuring data entry accuracy

Data entry accuracy and completeness are critical in automation processes. Inaccurate or inconsistent data can lead to errors and inefficiencies in automated workflows. Identifying and rectifying data quality issues, ensuring data integrity across systems, and establishing protocols for handling exceptions are essential considerations.

Automating non-standardized tasks

When automation is implemented in complex or non-standardized tasks that traditionally require human judgment, it can be challenging to achieve the same level of accuracy and decision-making.


Scalability is a significant concern in enterprise automation, especially when expanding automation initiatives across different departments. It is crucial that organizations ensure that automation systems can handle increased volumes of data, transactions, or processes without compromising performance or accuracy.

With a well-planned strategy, thorough planning, and collaboration among stakeholders, organizations can overcome these challenges and realize the full potential of enterprise automation.

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