From analytics to process discovery to automation, only OpenConnect offers the complete package.
What We’ve Learned — and How We Make It All Work for You
OpenConnect has long experience in providing enterprise-class automation and industry-leading advanced analytics. And that experience has taught us many lessons about good and bad methods that companies use in putting automation to work for them. Based on what we’ve learned, we guide you through the three critical steps for successfully implementing automation:
- Identify and prioritize automation opportunities — You can’t automate everything up front, so you have to figure out not only what to automate but also which processes will get the highest priority in the effort. Of course, to make decisions like these, you need solid data — and that brings us to the next critical step.
- Document processes and design automation logic — You can’t automate what people do unless you know what people do. And, if you’re going to capture this data most efficiently and accurately, you must use moment-by-moment process discovery and desktop-level analytics. Only the right combination of advanced software can do that.
- Provide for scalability — Your workload will grow, so you need to make sure your automation’s capacity to handle the workload will grow, too. That’s called scalability. And there’s another consideration if your workplace relies on mainframes: you need automation that can communicate with them. (That pretty much limits you to us, truthfully.) We lead our industry in providing RPA capabilities that scale up almost infinitely and connect with all your data sources — yes, even mainframes.
These are stiff requirements. Here’s a quick summary of our approach to addressing them, which we explain in more detail in the ensuing sections:
- Discover how your people and robots are currently getting the work done — Use a powerful combination of analytics and process discovery software products to get solid data and automatically generated documentation concerning the current activities of your workforce, both human and digital, and determine the processes that result.
- Identify the processes (and problems) in the current workflow — Armed with the data with the Discover phase, determine where opportunities exist for improvement (see the next phase, below) and, of course, automation.
- Improve your operations with the appropriate mix of digital labor and human workers — With what you learned in the Discover and Identify phases, map out the automation of your discovered processes and apply the appropriate mixes of attended and unattended automation, depending on your particular environment and requirements.
The Discover Phase:
Collect the Data
In the Discover phase, OpenConnect’s WorkiQ® workforce analytics software captures vast stores of real-time data about what your workers, even remote workers, are really doing. With WorkiQ, you can track productive vs. non-productive time, know how much time workers spend in each application, see what steps are slowing them down, determine where more training is necessary, and much more. Indeed, WorkiQ even monitors the activities of any desktop-based software robots that you may already be using! But, for the purposes we describe here, the main importance of WorkiQ is that it provides a wealth of worker activity data.
This data then goes to our DiscoveriQ™ software, which employs advanced process discovery techniques to see the “forest” in the “trees” — i.e., the processes in the tasks. DiscoveriQ even automatically documents this information for your use and study. Yes, that’s what we said: you get automatically generated documents (PDF or Microsoft® Word format), chock-full of information about your processes. This is a staggering advantage that only the one-two punch of WorkiQ and DiscoveriQ can give you.
That’s the Discover phase. Next up: Identify.
The Identify Phase:
Know What You’ve Learned
Now, in the Identify phase, your team can use the information you gained in the Discover phase to spot where opportunities exist for improvements:
- Workforce improvement opportunities — It’s one thing to think you know where workers need help getting better at their jobs, but the Discover phase gives you utterly solid proof. It also shows how your best workers are doing their jobs, so you can train others based on their good examples.
- Process improvement opportunities — Now that the Discover phase showed you the details of your processes, you can determine which of their steps can be eliminated, or re-sequenced, or otherwise altered to make your workflow more efficient.
- Automation opportunities — These, in particular, are based on the automation strategy we mentioned in the introduction to this page. (Remember, having that strategy is crucial to your automation success.) Use the information from the Discover phase to detect those items which your strategy indicates are most readily automated. As you’ll see in the next phase, there are multiple ways to automate those items, depending on what makes the most sense for your particular environment.
With that, we move to the Improve phase.
The Improve Phase:
Make Everything Work Better
The Bottom Line
In addition to what you gained during the Discover and Identify phases, the Improve phase of OpenConnect’s approach enables you to:
- Improve your workforce — You reap workforce improvements because you have learned where bottlenecks and other productivity-impairing gaps have existed in the human workflow, giving you the solid, data-backed knowledge you need to make changes. The use of attended automation (see “Types of automation”), teaming humans and robots to maximize throughput, is another method through which you gain improvements in your workforce.
- Improve your processes — You gain the knowledge to make process improvements through what you learned in the process discovery section of the approach, particularly through the invaluable insights that result from the automatically generated documentation of your processes.
- Automate your processes — One very clear improvement is that your processes not only are improved but now are automated to the maximum extent possible, which invariably results in not only greater throughput but also revenue improvements through cost reductions. In our experience, return on investment is typically six months.
Here in the Improve phase, your team — armed with the knowledge gained in the Discover and Identify phases — can more effectively map out the automation of your discovered processes. At this point, you then automate each identified process appropriately:
- For high-level, complex processes, OpenConnect’s AutoiQ™ provides server-based automation that works with a multitude of data sources, including even mainframes. Server-based automation is the fastest available, because its robots and rules “live” on the server. It also allows nearly infinite scalability, which makes it perfect for future-proofing your automation strategy.
- Where desktop-based automation is sufficient, including situations still requiring occasional human intervention, you can automate through Kryon™ Leo.
- For those environments where a middle ground is required, AutoiQ and Kryon Leo can work together to provide an excellent custom fit.
OpenConnect’s carefully considered, multi-tool approach provides a far more satisfactory result than the usual “one-size-fits-all” methods.
Types of Automation
By the way, you’ll find it useful to understand the two basic types of automation: attended and unattended.
In attended automation, your human workers and the software robots work together to handle the workflow.
Attended automation has two modes: “guide-me” and ”do-it.”
In “guide-me” mode, the automation helps the human user perform a task, such as filling out an infrequently used online form. As you can imagine, this mode can be helpful for user training.
In “do-it” mode, the automation performs the task after receiving a command or prompted response from the human user.
Also known as “lights-out” automation, unattended automation involves software robots performing the work with no assistance from humans.
There are two categories of unattended automation: robotic process automation (RPA) and enterprise process automation.
RPA is the more limited category of the two, involving the automation of reasonably simple repetitive tasks. It can reside on either a server or a virtual desktop, and typically doesn’t interact with a wide variety of other data sources.
By contrast, enterprise process automation is the “heavy lifter” in unattended automation. Enterprise process automation is: completely server-based; capable of automating complex, high-value tasks; immensely scalable; and able to communicate extensively with other data sources.
Our AutoiQ is the superior enterprise process automation product available, with: enterprise-class architecture; unmatched mainframe connectivity; and efficient central management, from a single platform, of both RPA and non-RPA technology.
A Better Way to Pay
There’s one more thing for you to think about, and that’s how you pay for automation.
It’s been typical for companies to buy automation on a by-the-robot basis. In other words, you have to figure out the total number of software robots you’ll need during the contract period (usually a year), and pay for them accordingly.
The obvious problem with that is: you end up having to buy a lot more robots! Why? Well, you need enough to handle workload peaks. Remember: under this scheme, you have to buy a year’s worth in advance. But you know that the real-world result is going to be a lot of idle robots during your off-peak periods. You’ve paid for them, but they’re not doing the work for which you paid.
So, consider: wouldn’t it be nice if you could pay for just the robots you actually used?
Interested? Want details? Contact us.