Convergence of Process Automation, Data Analytics, and Cloud

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Convergence of Process Automation, Data Analytics, and Cloud

Today, Small and Medium Enterprises or SMEs in the emerging countries are in the midst of innovation and transformation. The market dynamics are rapidly changing and becoming highly complex, requiring companies to constantly innovate. If innovation is one side of the coin, the other side is to bring in cost competitiveness.

Reduction in costs can be done in many ways. However, the ideal way to do the same without compromising on the innovation as well the resources is to make people highly productive. One way to make the company more productive is to bring in automation culture. Leverage the technology to drive productivity and innovation.

The key for any SME is to keep their employees highly engaged and well connected within the company. In this endeavor, following should be the sequence of thoughts: How to automate the entire HR processes and in the process build a robust collaboration platform, How to analyze the underlying data to make overall organization improvements and how the organization can afford it. Before going into further details on how these will help with the objective of creating a robust platform and yet keeping it integrated and flexible, let us understand what they mean.

Process Automation: Process Automation is the practice of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of any organization by automating and optimizing the organization's processes. It is a key technology component of IT initiatives to produce a more responsive culture. Data Analytics: Data Analytics is, in essence, a set of enabling technologies that collects and presents the disparate data into views that are intelligent and fact based. It allows for more quality decisions to be made in real time. It brings new insights and perspectives to questions and answers inherent in your data.

Cloud Computing: Cloud computing is internet based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand, like the electricity grid.

Having understood the above, a key challenge for any company is to identify the appropriate project and technology approach that will drive the most benefits. To start with, if the current HR processes are not automated and is not helping you to engage your employees, then it's time to look at automation. There are manifold benefits of adopting automation such as:

*Automation - Eliminate paper or manual process. HR process, if well defined and implemented can be scalable and would improve collaboration when new employees are hired thereby reducing time to become productive. Automation also eliminates errors thereby reducing costs.

*Decision Making - Once the processes are automated, system allows seamless collection of important data, which then can be analyzed to make decisions.

To benefit from automation and data collection, companies must bring together these two business enablers. Most organizations use Automation and Data Analytics technologies to serve separate purposes that seldom overlap. For the most part, Data Analytics doesn't focus on process, and Automation doesn't provide metrics or an aggregate view of the process. This situation reflects the predominant view that these are different technologies that each stands alone, delivering value to the organization each in its own way. Data Analytics sharpens Automation and the convergence improves decision making.

Along with studying the metrics collected by the automated process, the need to study the employee's behavioral pattern is also increasing. Going forward this could lead to interesting information to enhance employee experience resulting in higher employee retention levels.

How to achieve this? Given that SMEs may not have an exhaustive IT strategy or IT budgets. Leveraging cloud based solutions is the answer.

After linking the Automation and Data Analytics, if the CIO can also decide to take advantage of the next wave of IT transformation in the form of Cloud Computing, then this could be a perfect storm. While virtualization has helped abstract the computing resources from the hardware thereby increasing the through put of datacenters, SOA helped organizations access independent building blocks over the internet for performing specific functions. This is independent of platforms and programming languages. If a company doesn't like their existing business analytics tool, they should be able to link up to another tool on the cloud for better results rather than spend a lot of time and money for integration and implementation. Such is the power of Cloud computing.

Cloud computing has also enabled an entirely new delivery model for software. Earlier companies had to invest a lot in hardware, software and implementation. This made the decision making very hierarchical when having to adopt new technologies. Cloud computing has changed all of this.


The article is authored by Sreekanth Lapala, CEO, TenXLabs.