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Enterprise environments have long exchanged information by using system integration techniques. System integrations have helped us bring data from one system to another. They help us process the data, produce and extract information from raw data. You can feed the information output from a prior system to a further one. There are little bits and pieces of additional insight throughout the process that users add to their data. This enriches data making it more valuable once processed. Process automation originates in systems integrations. 

System Integration

The most typical system integration is where there is none in place. The most basic system integration is a user taking data from one system and manually feeding it to another. For example, a user entering a request to a spreadsheet, then another one taking the requests from the spreadsheet and feeding them into an ERP for someone else to execute the next step in the process.

System Automation

Of course, there are other system integrations where the direct output is taken from one system into the other. Most systems allow for some form of output such as reports or files in either a common or proprietary format. When systems allow for scheduling of output and the subsequent scheduling of input into the next system, we have the early components for Systems Automation.

Users enrich the data in the process by following clear and concise business rules, and making decisions on what to do with the data in some cases.

The next level in this evolution is to take one step back and consider both systems and people as part of the overall process that is in place. We look at the systems but we also look at the data enrichment that people are doing. We have found that processes can be automated if those business rules are clearly defined and there are no ”gray areas”.

Process Automation

Process Automation is then, the execution of a business process that a person performs. Once this intelligent process turns into code, it executes on top of existing systems. This requires no changes to existing systems. These automations use the existing systems in the same way that people uses them.

Think of the most burdensome processes that you can now automate. Process automation can increase performance, reduce errors, and put your most valuable assets, your workers, to do other work. You can now have your workers thinking instead of droning through a process.