In 2014, the hashtag #ChickenSad on Twitter became a trending topic worldwide. This has led people to wonder why a bird with emotions has to trend that fast. Jollibee, a Filipino food chain famous for its Chickenjoy, eventually closed 72 of its Metro Manila stores and lost about Php 92 million (nearly $2 million USD) in just one week because of a failed system migration which led to a major disruption of supply chain management from warehouse to retail stores in the cities. This failed system migration was said to have happened on account of several factors which include complex multi-step business processes, unreliable data management, mismanaged ERP, and unscalable business strategy.
In our previous article entitled Reinforcing Hybrid Workforce with Cloud Transformation, we discussed that tech-savvy organizations had a revenue growth premium of 6% even during the COVID-19 pandemic because they adopted emerging technologies in their long-term business plan. Given the scenario above, let's take a look at workflow automation as one of the emerging technologies that you should start exploring now.
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What is Workflow Automation?
Workflow automation is the establishment of a series of tasks based on preset rules and automatically triggering and rerouting these tasks among different teams or task owners to complete one transaction in a business process. In several organizations, business processes involve several applications which almost always include SAP.
By now, it is no news that managing SAP landscapes is far from simple. Especially for an enterprise environment, managing data, and the underlying infrastructure is deemed more complex without workflow automation in place.
It’s no wonder that when Bill McDermott left SAP as CEO, he joined ServiceNow in November 2019 as their new CEO and steered the company’s primary focus to “deliver digital workflows that create great experiences and unlock productivity”.
Figure 1: SAP Workflow Automation with IT-Conductor
Why Automate Your Processes?
A failed implementation is never the end goal of any IT project. Whether it involves migration from on-premise to the cloud, or even as simple as starting and stopping systems during maintenance activities, organizations should continuously look for ways to overcome challenges that may come along the way.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these challenges and how you, as an organization, can reap the benefits of using workflow automation to solve these challenges.
1. Reduce Process Complexities
As evident in the #ChickenSad scenario, the lack of a common understanding of standards and processes can most likely result in process complexities. Imagine running a transaction across different applications and involving several teams. Without clearly knowing the necessary steps and their interdependencies with other activities in a workflow, you'll most likely end up processing transactions differently every once in a while. Who knows those discrepancies can cost you millions of dollars in value?
With workflow automation, you will be able to streamline business activities enabling you to have a standardized approach when executing the granular tasks in a process. Depending on the number of variations you allow in completing transactions, you would still benefit from having a pre-defined workflow that automatically executes tasks when triggered.
Database migration, for example, requires more customization than simply running a workflow with a happy path, but defining customized templates to migrate data from one source to another would definitely reduce the complexities involved in the process. This way, you'll have a more straightforward flow of activities as you complete the migration.
If you want to start automating your database migration strategy to the cloud, feel free to schedule a demo with our automation experts.
2. Remove Manual and Repetitive Tasks
As an organization expands, it will be harder to process and track transactions manually, as well as request approvals from different stakeholders. Moreover, an increase in the number of transactions implies an increase in demand for manpower, which then requires additional operational costs for training. These issues can cause unnecessary delays and loss in profit.
With workflow automation, those manual and repetitive tasks will be eliminated, allowing organizations to save operational costs as there is no need to train people multiple times for the same process, or even hire additional manpower to perform the same set of activities. The automated workflow should be the one doing the job of performing the tasks step-by-step as defined and configured in the system.
3. Minimize Risks and Operational Costs
On top of the additional labor costs needed when business processes are performed manually for growing organizations, more energy and resources are required to power up SAP system landscapes.
Generally, with workflow automation, these unnecessary costs will be minimized. Aside from the obvious fact that automating a process saves a great deal of time and effort, having the capability to perform several activities simultaneously also reduces the overhead in the resources required to run those additional transactions. Above all, there will be lower risks tied up with human error that could eventually lead to unintended profit loss.
4. Secure and Recover Data
Securing data is one of the challenges organizations have to face on a daily basis. Especially when business transactions are critical, securing data in transit demands more than encryption. It requires the ability to ensure that the data received has not changed from its original state as it was sent from its source. The same thing is true for securing data at rest. With the constant changes in the system, the possibility of data loss is waiting for its chance to ruin everyone's day.
In the SAP Transport Automation project we implemented for a Fortune 100 medical device company, we have transformed how they manage transport requests. The workflow we designed allows stakeholders to manage the end-to-end process of transport requests giving them more transparency when implementing changes to their systems.
Workflow automation also allows data trails to be constantly recorded as transactions are executed. Regardless of where you want to save your logs, you are guaranteed that you have data backup should you encounter an unexpected error.
One use case that was proven to have benefitted our clients through the years is the use of SID-Refresh™. Saving data and configuration settings using this tool allows users not only to perform a system refresh with ease but also to revert data effortlessly. To fully enjoy the benefits of having a fully integrated solution that lets you automate system refresh, you can check out our newly released service offering—System Refresh as a Service.
5. Implement Efficient Processes
Lastly, as you provide strategic value to your clients, employees and customers must both be engaged for business operations to continue. However, if workforce health and welfare are on the line, business processes will inevitably slow down; thereby losing operational agility and customer loyalty. What makes workflow automation attractive is that it allows efficient workflow management as repetitive tasks are automated and routed to their rightful owners, while decision-makers can gather essential data insights within IT-Conductor to improve business processes.
Start your Workflow Automation with IT-Conductor
Moving forward with a cloud-first strategy keeps you from being left behind. However, implementing your cloud transformation strategy through workflow automation allows you to have a competitive edge and opportunities for data security and process efficiencies without the need to spend much time and money on operations. Also, you do not need to invest in large operations teams and IT experts.
With IT-Conductor, we can simplify your IT operations processes through seamless integration with our remote and agentless cloud platform as your automation partner. We can also customize a solution based on your business requirements.
There's no limit to what you can do to level up your automation game. Provided that you know the INs and the OUTs of your IT operations processes, we will strive to deliver the automated solution that you need so you can focus more on growing your business.