Business Process Automation (BPA) is the concept of using automation to streamline internal processes. The result is savings in time, resources, and a reduction in errors caused by the human element. Interaction Process Automation (IPA) is a tool that makes that possible, and makes it simple.
1. Know Your Customer: You have IPA and you’re ready to automate! It’s time to meet with the stakeholders. Bring in the people that requested the process, and some end-users. Listen to what prompted the need, and understand their vision for the solution. Involve the end-users in the user interface planning. Buy-in often breeds loyalty and smoother acceptance of the new process.
2. Planning: Map out the process, and get detailed. Map the flow of the new process, including features in the mapping, like where automated emails and data dips need to happen in the flow, so you can visualize what you need to build. Taking the time to plan ahead like this saves a lot of extra work and re-work that comes from forgetting, or not thinking of, necessary features.
3. Use Integration Sparingly: Do yourself a favor, look through the tools in IPA and see if there is a tool already available that would accomplish what you need. The less you do outside of IPA, the easier it is to build and troubleshoot.
Here are a few features that can take a lot of that work back into IPA:
Database operations – IPA offers the use of most any DB feature you need. You can select, insert, update, and delete rows. You can even run Stored Procedures, or create a custom SQL statement.
Web Services – A lot of security-conscious companies prefer web service calls to add a layer of protection to their data. IPA can do that too.
Data manipulation – IPA is very good at data value manipulation. Whether you’re looping through a list, creating a table, or re-formatting a DateTime value; IPA can do it.
4. Notes and Logging: One thing that can easily slip our minds while we’re so focused on putting the pieces together, and making them work, is the fact that we’ll likely need to troubleshoot at some point. Adding notes to a tool about what that tool’s purpose is will dramatically reduce the time it takes to troubleshoot. You’ll thank yourself later.
5. Beta Testing: Involve the people that will be using the end product in the testing phase. Bringing the end-users in exposes bugs, and allows the users to suggest enhancements before releasing to the rest of the user base.
6. Train Well: A common training that is often over-looked is “train the trainer”. Train the leadership first and have them train their employees. Having the leadership team understand the product gives the user an extra layer of support should they forget something from the initial training, or need helping deepening their understanding.
There you have it: All 6 of the key elements of a successful Process Automation project. I would like to challenge you to see how they fit in other projects as well. The specifics are for IPA projects, but we use the underlying concepts on our projects here at AVDS. It’s just one more way we make it easy to do business by simplifying and automating technology.
This technical blog was brought to you by:
Samuel Marziano – AVDS Software Developer/Support.
Sam is an integral part of Team AVDS bringing over 10 years of experience in call/contact centers across many markets including banking, media, automotive, e-commerce, and service/help desk. Have a question for Sam or any of our staff? Contact AVDS Today!