Why Automation Maturity Depends on Process Orchestration

Why Automation Maturity Depends on Process Orchestration
Why Automation Maturity Depends on Process Orchestration

Many organizations want to increase their degree of automation to meet a variety of business goals. Whether they’re trying to improve customer experiences, increase their own business agility or operational efficiency or meet a different goal, organizations have invested heavily in digital transformation over the past five years. Software spending in this time period outpaced the general inflation rate by four times.
Yet, many teams find these new software systems and their related processes lack alignment with their larger automation and business goals. According to the 2023 State of Process Orchestration report, 72% of organizations found that their real-world, mission critical processes were becoming more complex to maintain. The top reason for process complexity was having to span multiple systems.
Undoing the high costs of transformational debt means considering how new technology fits in with the old. That includes how automated processes flow seamlessly from end to end—across people, systems and devices. Process orchestration is a critical, yet often overlooked step in the journey to improve automation maturity and properly fold technology into an automation strategy.

What stands in the way of automation maturity?

It’s hard to achieve process automation goals overnight. Many organizations make the mistake of treating automation as a distinct technical project, rather than a strategic business imperative. With that said, more technical projects do not equal more automation success.
Typical automated processes involve a variety of process endpoints. These are the people, systems and devices that make processes run for your organization. Not to mention, automated processes rarely look like a linear set of steps. They may require advanced workflow patterns, such as repeating a step or adding a human check if a process fails, or executing multiple steps in parallel. On top of this complexity and endpoint diversity, every organizational stakeholder should be aligned on strategic automation goals, and have a basic understanding of how business-critical processes work.
Process orchestration and its steps, including process modeling, can both optimize processes from end to end and get stakeholders on the same page. To advance automation maturity, organizations should work toward the goals of:

  • Developing an automation strategy
  • Understanding processes and how they operate
  • Measuring the success of automation projects, and optimizing them
  • Expanding automation adoption.

Advancing maturity with process orchestration: Key takeaways

Regardless of where organizations are in their current maturity journeys, they can take practical steps to advance their automation goals. Here are some strategies to consider within your organization.

  • Take stock of your automation silos. Evaluate where process silos occur and how they could impact both employee and customer outcomes. A prime example is a customer service center that can’t trace a customer journey across digital self-service and agent interactions. Reframe your thinking and consider how orchestrated, end-to-end processes can drive more value for the organization.
  • Think beyond an individual process level toward driving organizational value. As stated above, it’s important to involve both business and technical stakeholders in automation strategy. Early process orchestration planning steps, such as process modeling, can accelerate the adoption of business-critical processes—especially if they’re complex or involve multiple endpoints.
  • Tap into a decentralized Center of Excellence (CoE) to scale adoption. Command-and-control-style, centralized CoEs can create more silos and prevent innovation. Think of the CoE as a decentralized function that provides enablement, training, support, technology recommendations and advocacy/awareness of automation success and requirements for the rest of the organization. These groups can drive forward process orchestration goals and achieve ever-important organizational alignment.
  • Work toward measuring KPIs and continuous process improvement. You can’t measure what you can’t see—and most teams don’t have adequate visibility into their process performance. An orchestrated, end-to-end process can be measured far more effectively than a siloed process. Mature automation teams discover process bottlenecks and strive toward continuously optimizing and improving them.

 To wrap up, when it comes to automation, more is not always better. The latest technology may seem attractive, but if it is not properly implemented and orchestrated within your existing automation strategy, the organization risks falling short of return on investment. Process orchestration can coordinate the various technologies and other endpoints within an automated process. It enables teams to be successful with strategic, scaled adoption of automation—improving overall business outcomes associated with automation in the first place.

About The Author

Jakob Freund is co-founder and CEO of Camunda, which means he's responsible for the company’s vision and strategy. He’s also the driving force behind Camunda’s global growth and takes responsibility for the company culture. As well as holding an MSc in Computer Science, he co-authored the book “Real-Life BPMN” and is a sought-after speaker at technology and industry events.

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