If you’re one of those people who, at some point or another, wondered how a process model is different from process automation, you’re not alone. In the overall scheme of things, it’s a good question as it helps to clarify a notion that they’re one and the same.
While they are similar in some ways, process modeling and automation are two different animals. Recognizing one from the other is helpful when it comes to determining which one you need to correctly carry out your duties.
Business process modeling
Business process modeling is typically the illustration of a company’s business processes through the use of charts and diagrams. There is usually no need for any technological intervention, as a simple process model can be created with the good old pen and paper. But of course, flowcharting applications like Visio or Gliffy can be utilized at will.
Process modeling is normally used by business managers and analysts to determine areas of improvements in the company’s processes.
Business process automation
Before a business process can be automated, a workflow has to be designed. A workflow, in turn, is patterned from an adequately thought-out process model – “adequately thought-out” being the operative phrase. Some processes do well with automation; others are better left manual.
Business process automation, therefore, is process modeling plus execution in action.
Because it cannot be overstated, let me point out once again that automation may sound cutting edge. Without a workflow that has been properly crafted and designed, however, execution is flawed and will consequently inconvenience your entire operation.
Process modeling vs. process execution
Business process modeling and execution are ingredients of a broader design called business process management, or BPM.
And given the aforementioned differences, if all you care about is analysis of a company’s current business processes and finding out which part of the process doesn’t sit right, process modeling is your friend. But if you’re a project manager and would want to maximize your team’s overall productivity, automation of routine processes is one thing to seriously consider.
What to look for in process automation software
When on the lookout for an automation software, here are some basic characteristics to consider:
- Ease of use
- Ready-made templates, lists and forms
Because most business operations are dynamic, changes to the pre-designed workflow may be necessary. In this regard, an automation software that’s ultra-flexible and allows you to make on-the-fly changes without having to halt your ongoing operations is a must.
Keeping everyone apprised of a project’s status can be a challenge, especially if you’re relying solely on status meetings, e-mails and other forms of instant notifications to get the message across. Not everyone can attend meetings, and not all e-mails get read on time.
With the right automation software, every time an update is made, not only do your team members receive e-mail push notifications, their to-do lists are automatically updated as well. And while they’re logged into the software, they have a clear picture of what’s happening real-time.
A good automation software should be user-friendly and shouldn’t require complicated coding or programming to create, edit and deploy workflows.
Your process automation software of choice should come with the necessary templates to make your life easier, from beginning to end, including the essential reporting tools.
Process modeling and automation may be different in ways more than one, but they work hand in hand to simplify your business operations. And when choosing the right automation software to tap your people’s maximum capacity, choose the software that’s flexible, easy to use and works according to your specifications.
About the author:
Maricel is a freelance writer who currently writes web content for Comindware, an automation solutions provider.
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