Software companies, and analysts alike, love to come up with unique product positions, and categories, that enable them to stand out from their competition. Put a bunch of related capabilities together in a box and give it a catchy name. Hey, presto! Congratulations, you just invented a new market and, guess what, you’re the King.
All established organizations must deal with their legacy IT, with decades of hodge-podge implementations, custom development, and little appreciation for the bigger picture. But the good news is that broken processes that became painfully obvious this year will put business transformation in play for the better. Using RPA systems to hit the organization’s head against figurative brick walls are but a symptom of the work that is ahead of us.
Increasingly, my colleague, Alan Pelz-Sharpe, and I are finding substantial convergence and common ground in our coverage areas. (Alan covers blockchain, content, compliance, and AI/ML, and I cover digital process automation, RPA, process mining, and customer experience.) The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing this trend even harder as companies struggle to get their arms around documents, tasks, processes, commerce, and customers so they can deliver products and services more rapidly across ever-morphing supply chains.
Have you ever wondered where all the Lean, Six Sigma, continuous improvement, and operational excellence practitioners have gone? When the BPM (methodology + software) conversation turned toward digital process automation (software and very little process methodology) much of the continuous improvement conversation went away. Poof–it disappeared, to be replaced by a lot of technical talk.
I just got off an informative and compelling webinar by SAP about its robotic process automation (RPA) offering. The bottom line is that SAP sees RPA and BPM (aka digital process automation) as belonging together.[i] Two direct quotes were “RPA by itself does not do the trick” and “RPA and BPM are two sides of the same coin.”