If you’re new to the term "Business Automation" and you’re not sure what it means, read on.
Business Automation is a set of software tools that automate many of the processes and decisions that a company makes - such as receiving and paying invoices for materials, entering sales orders, onboarding new customers, processing claims and disputes, determining eligibility for loans and financial services, and many more "back office" procedures that companies do every day.
Many of these activities used to be manual and paper-based, but now are core processes in the worldwide business trend, known as “Digital Transformation.” As organizations automate processes across the enterprise, they gain cost savings from faster, more efficient processes and reduction of paper and manual processes, employees are relieved of tedious chores and given more time to do high value work, and AI monitoring tools can add insight and visibility for operations professionals.
Business Automation is actually a confluence of several software categories, which you may have heard of, such as:
- Document capture to digitize documents and extract information to use in a business system (to pay an invoice, for example)
- Content management (or ECM) to store digitized documents for the legally-required duration, but also make them available in an instant for decisions and cases (do we approve this customer for a loan? Let's look at their history with our company)
- Decision management to automate simple If-then business rules (Does the customer have more than $10,000 in their savings account? Then there's no monthly fee)
- Workflow which connects teams of people, documents, and the steps to achieve an outcome (like approve a mortgage, where there is a reviewer, a property inspector, a fraud specialist, an appraiser, and an approver).
- Robotic Process Automation to quickly automate small tasks (like cut-and-paste from a document, or open a business system with a password to trigger a transaction)
Many Business Automation applications use several, if not all, of the above tools to automate a process end to end. IBM Business Automation has infused artificial intelligence and machine learning into many of the components, which increase efficiency further, such as document classification, transcription, and translation, as well as suggest a next best action in a process based on historical data about that process. AI is also applied across the platform for operational intelligence, which provides oversight and visibility into all processes running on the platform to identify bottlenecks, monitor productivity, and preemptively solve performance issues before they impact the business.
IBM offers the Cloud Pak for Business Automation as a single product that packages all of the above capabilities into a single purchase, where the customer uses only the elements they need as they automate their enterprise.