Business processes are changing at an unprecedented rate with Covid-19 highlighting the necessity of digital transformation. The challenge for the C-suite is to ensure new systems and ways of working are efficient, adaptable and resilient. This is where process orchestration plays a vital role.

What is process orchestration?

Process orchestration is a technology that helps businesses improve their efficiency by managing what resource does what work – and when it does it. The resource could be a human or some form of digital worker or bot. Process orchestration manages end-to-end customer journeys, understanding the initial demand then passing tasks between any combination of human worker and bot to ensure optimum efficiency.

Digital workers

Organisations of all sizes are automating tasks using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) bots as well as looking to other Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. These ‘digital’ workers perform a specific process or function, either automatically or at the direction of a human. While a business’s main IT systems handle the heavy lifting, digital workers have a focused purpose.

The use of such Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is accelerating massively as businesses seek to reduce costs, accelerate processes and provide better experiences for customers and employees. The challenge for process orchestration is to integrate people and bots in a constantly changing business environment.

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By GlobalData

Multiple challenges and multiple solutions

Industry giants such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon are set to provide access to powerful AI and machine learning technology – but it is likely to be smaller software vendors that will harness that tech to create a new generation of bots. The challenges of different industries and individual businesses mean that one size will not fit all. A likely future will see multiple bots from multiple suppliers (large and small) employed to best meet a unique range of business requirements – and work alongside a unique human workforce.

A hybrid workplace

The human workforce is not under threat, however. It will need to adapt to changing times but the ongoing pandemic has shown how resilient, adaptable and responsive people can be. Those abilities ­– on top of intelligence, empathy and creativity – mean that in many regards humans are irreplaceable. What is emerging is a hybrid workplace where humans work alongside bots, with tasks passing from one to another.

The modern workforce will be made up of people in different locations, with different skills, working at different times. And the bots they work alongside will also have different capabilities. The role of process orchestration is to identify the best way for human and bot to work together and then to handle the workflow, creating an optimal experience for the customer.

Process orchestration in practice

Enate is a UK-based SaaS business whose platform handles the ‘what, who, where and when’ of business processes. Enate’s software can identify tasks, gauge their urgency, allocate them to a person or a bot, and when completed move them to the next stage of the process or customer journey.

CEO Kit Cox explained that process orchestration creates a virtuous circle of benefits. “Done well, it can reduce delivery costs by around 20% – but perhaps more importantly it provides a much better, quicker customer experience.”

“When Utmost, a global assurance services firm, implemented process orchestration it reduced customer experience time by around 80%. That created capacity for its human workforce, allowing them to give more time to the customers it needed to interact with directly – and the overall improvements of service led to significant growth in new business.”

This ability to improve customer experience and so increase revenue is a key benefit of process automation, stated Cox. “Very few business achieve success just by cutting costs. Most businesses achieve success by selling more while managing costs along the way – and that is what process orchestration enables.”

Data-driven improvements

The way in which process orchestration allows data to be collected and analysed is a key aspect in driving better business outcomes, added Cox.

“By understanding and monitoring tasks, Enate can identify scope for improvements in processes and resource allocation. Dashboards and analytics don’t just give real-time insight into how the business is operating – they also dive deeper to suggest better ways of working.”

“In tough economic times it is vital to manage costs while providing excellent customer service,” said Cox. “Businesses also need to be able to adapt to new technologies and changing market expectations. Process orchestration provides businesses with both agility and efficiency – and that makes them resilient and ready for growth.”