In the digital era, organizations are increasingly relying on digital process automation platforms to streamline their operations, improve efficiency, and enhance collaboration.
“We should look at digitalizing our organization, transform how we work, become more efficient – get on it!”, said the CEO to the leadership team.
Great, a green light to investigate how to digitally transform but is that it – if we investigate and come up with options:
- Will we get full or partial support to implement?
- What are the detailed expectations of the CEO and business?
- How extensive should this be?
- What does success look like for the different areas of the business?
All relevant questions!
However, the first thing to do is decide in which category you reside.
The digital landscape can be quite different depending on what you choose to implement. We have seen them all, but we can generally categorize requirements under three headings:
Out of the box solution (plug and play)
Coded bespoke solution (fully coded or low-code)
‘No code’ digital process creation – again bespoke
There are other options, but the largest percentage of clients fall into one of these categories.
Keep in mind that a large percentage of organizations also believe that they should only choose one of the options. They don’t realize that using combinations of two or three of the categories can yield the results they seek. The digital process success stories that we have seen quite often center around the extension of the existing core systems via digital process applications. The applications usually attach via API, so the central source of the data remains constant – no silos of data lying around. The APIs pull/push data between the processes and the core systems. This is a combination of two of the option groups stated above.
Purpose-built platforms are digital process automation platforms designed specifically for certain industries or processes. These platforms often come with pre-configured templates and industry-specific functionalities, making them a popular choice for organizations with specialized requirements. The benefits of purpose-built platforms include:
Industry Expertise: Purpose-built platforms are developed with deep knowledge and understanding of specific industries. They offer tailored solutions that align with industry standards and best practices.
Quick Deployment: Since purpose-built platforms come with pre-configured templates and workflows, they can be quickly deployed and customized to fit an organization's needs, reducing development time and costs.
Compliance and Regulatory Support: Purpose-built platforms often include compliance features that help organizations adhere to industry-specific regulations and standards, reducing the risk of non-compliance.
However, purpose-built platforms may have limitations when it comes to customization and flexibility. Organizations with unique processes or specific requirements might find themselves restricted by the predefined functionalities and templates offered by purpose-built platforms.
Fully Coded Bespoke Solutions
Fully coded bespoke solutions are custom-built digital process automation platforms that are tailored to an organization's specific needs.
Note: These solutions include low code solutions, as your organization will need specialist coding skills to use the likes of Power Apps and Nintex. Although there is coding, it is a lot less that fully coded options like PEGA or Appian. Be under no illusion, if you want comprehensive solutions, a level of coding ability is definitely required.
These solutions are developed from scratch, using programming languages and frameworks. While they require more time and resources to develop, they offer unparalleled flexibility and customization options. The advantages of fully coded bespoke solutions include:
Customization: Organizations can design and develop DPM systems that precisely match their unique business processes and requirements. Every aspect of the system can be tailored to meet specific needs.
Scalability: Fully coded bespoke solutions can be designed to scale with the organization's growth and evolving demands. They can handle complex workflows and integrate seamlessly with existing systems.
Competitive Advantage: By creating a custom DPM system, organizations can gain a competitive edge by optimizing their processes in a way that aligns with their strategic objectives and unique workflows.
Despite the benefits, fully coded bespoke solutions require significant upfront investment, technical expertise, and longer development cycles. Organizations need to consider the long-term maintenance and support costs associated with custom-built solutions.
No Code Platforms
No code digital process automation software such as FlowForma Process Automation, have gained popularity in recent years due to their ability to empower citizen developers and business users to build and manage digital process automation platforms without the need for any coding or programming skills. The advantages of no code platforms include:
Ease of Use: No code platforms provide intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces and visual workflow designers that allow users to create, modify, and manage processes with minimal technical knowledge. This empowers business users to take control of their own processes.
Rapid Development: No code platforms enable organizations to accelerate the development of digital process automation platforms. The visual interfaces and pre-built components allow for quick prototyping, iteration, and deployment, resulting in faster time to market. Digital process automation technology is also a faster route to achieving ROI – in under 6-weeks!
Agility and Flexibility: No code platforms offer flexibility and agility in process design and modification. Users can easily make changes and adjustments to workflows and forms in response to evolving business needs, without relying on external development resources.
Collaboration: No code platforms facilitate collaboration between business users, IT teams, and other stakeholders. With shared access to the platform, users can collaborate on process design, testing, and optimization, leading to improved alignment and efficiency.
While no code digital process automation platforms provides flexibility and agility, they may have limitations in terms of advanced customization and scalability. Organizations with highly complex or specialized requirements could find that a no code platform doesn’t fully address all their process digitalization needs. This is where a combination of solutions can have a massive impact.
Here's a quick two-minute explainer from the research experts at Forrester.
So, what is the general advice when entering this arena?
No Limitation to Digitalization
‘Horses for Courses’ - Don’t limit yourself to feeling you can only select one digital process automation platform to digitally transform. You should start out with one but can expand depending on the needs/appetite of the organization. Remember there is probably no limit to how much you can digitalize.
‘Big Bang’ introduction of a platform can be quite a shock for an organization and not always the best route for user adoption. You may want to start by selecting an obvious process initially, digitalize it using a low code/no code platform to get user input and at a minimum get engagement on how to digitalize processes.
Include select process owners in different parts of the business so they can input into the creation of solutions – promotes ownership. Need to coral this as too much input can unnecessarily stall things.
Digitalization is something that is happening no matter what – your choice is when and how to do it.
To hack a Chinese proverb on the planting of trees: “The best time to digitalize was 5 years ago, the second-best time is now.”