As digital transformation spending continues to increase and disruptive technology becomes key to driving innovation, businesses need to be able to manage and integrate technology, simplify complex environments and fill resource gaps. After all, there isn’t just efficiency and productivity to consider; resilience is also fundamental for businesses to be able to quickly adapt to new challenges, whether that’s a global pandemic, supply chain disruption or global recession.
Our businesses are inundated with apps; they’re there to address every operational problem. However, while an automation tool might help to complete a specific task, it can also create process gaps. Meanwhile, today’s IT environments are more complex than ever, spanning on-premises and cloud-based systems and incorporating automation tools from many different vendors. As the pace of change continues to rise, development teams need a more manageable solution to automation rather than more tools to manage. Fortunately, process orchestration is here to solve a problem rather than add to it.
The Difference Between Process Orchestration and Process Automation
The idea of automation is certainly no new thing to businesses and IT teams. Its benefits are pretty obvious and well-understood. Automation offers the ability to reduce human error, improve efficiency, increase productivity, boost morale and more. Ultimately, it removes repetitive manual processes and gives people more time to focus on their core areas of expertise. However, automation often works in a silo, being used as a tool to manage a specific business operation, such as email automation or chatbot software. However, if you want to scale business operations, improve employee productivity and create better experiences, you need to move beyond basic automation and automate entire workflows. That is where process orchestration comes into play.
Task automation tools aren’t able to automate processes that require multiple steps, more complex business logic or interfacing across different systems and departments. Process orchestration, on the other hand, works to unify tasks and create complete end-to-end processes. It’s an all-in-one platform that helps automate different business operations from one place. Process orchestration platforms sit a layer above existing apps, including automation tools, to deliver more holistic management. With orchestration, businesses can optimise workflows, extend the capacity of existing tools and connect siloed technologies. Moreover, users can focus on high-value work instead of manually bridging the technology gaps and delivery issues.
The Benefits of Process Orchestration
Process orchestration enables businesses to improve processes end-to-end, connect previously siloed systems and better orchestrate people and tools. In fact, process orchestration offers several benefits over more traditional automation practices, including:
- Reduced Complexity – instead of using disparate tools, automation efforts are coordinated and consolidated.
- Faster Delivery – as automation is monitored and logged centrally, processes can be completed much more quickly.
- Improved Compliance – audit and credential requirements are managed from a single location to ensure compliance needs are met.
- Greater Integration – new tools and technologies are all managed in one orchestration platform, removing the need for siloed applications.
Siloed automation solutions are no longer enough to manage constantly evolving business needs. They are inflexible when integrating new tools and slow down workflows. With most businesses having hundreds of applications, integration is key to speeding up transformation. Process orchestration represents a transition from a traditional operational structure to a much more united one where people, tools and technologies work together more seamlessly.
Key Features of Process Orchestration Platforms
While Process orchestration is a relatively new field, automation tools are starting to differentiate themselves by offering to manage disparate processes from a single location. Process orchestration tools are designed to be extended with universal connectors, direct integration and API adapters, instead of supporting specific vendors. This means that IT teams can quickly integrate virtually any tool or technology. Data and dependencies from almost any tool can be seamlessly incorporated into existing processes using low-code, drag-and-drop interfaces. If your business is considering implementing a process orchestration platform, some of the key features to look for include:
- REST API Adapters – while most applications provide REST APIs, by having a tool with an adapter, those API methods can be translated into reusable automated tasks and added to processes.
- Real-Time Monitoring – optimisation is key for any new tool or platform; with real-time monitoring, it’s possible to support auto-remediation processes that can prevent delays and improve delivery times.
- Self-Service Portals – while the aim of process orchestration is for the IT team to have control of end-to-end process automation, other users will still want the ability to manage their processes. Self-service portals give them a way of doing so with an intuitive interface, and reduce the amount of support time required from IT.
- Low-Code Development – combined with a drag-and-drop workflow that abstracts the underlying code, low-code development means developers can quickly assemble end-to-end processes and focus their coding efforts elsewhere.
The Future of Process Orchestration
With the continued rise of cloud-based applications and resources, organisations are no longer dealing with individual vendors or solutions and traditional automation tools are no longer able to keep pace. By migrating to orchestration platforms, IT teams can develop, monitor and manage multiple automation environments from one place. More holistic control can facilitate the entire business process across systems and teams, make sure the right action is taken at the right time and manage the entire process lifecycle.
To be able to rapidly adapt to economic, regulatory, technological and customer-driven challenges, IT teams need to be able to quickly integrate new tools, platforms and technologies. Process orchestration is an ideal way for companies to future-proof their operations and to be ready to meet tomorrow’s business challenges.