Digitalization has been in the spotlight at least since the start of the Corona pandemic. According to a survey by Camunda, almost every (97%) IT executive surveyed in Germany, the U.S. and the U.K. sees process automation as the linchpin for digital transformation.

Data flood and data heterogeneity

Even though automation is seen as the next crucial step towards more efficient processes, many companies are treading water on this topic in key areas. Although they are increasingly swimming in data, they are in danger of drowning in this data due to a lack of system integration. The flood of data sources as well as the heterogeneity of data formats of the individual systems can only be used profitably if they are converted into the required data formats with a high manual effort and provided to the respective systems. The repetitive, manual activities eat up time, cost money and depend on the know-how of individual people.

Vendor lock-in risk

Some companies are trying to harmonize their software islands with overarching solutions. To do this, however, they have to write off their previous investments in the expert systems and invest a lot of money in the new mega software. This solves the problem of missing data interfaces and data formats. However, despite the large number of functions, such a solution is unlikely to replace all expert systems. In addition, there is the disadvantage of vendor lock-in and low flexibility.

Building bridges between software islands

An alternative is to have a bridge builder build the data connections. This allows companies to remain maximally flexible. They only need to connect the islands whose data is necessary for automating processes. If necessary, they can build new bridges between existing applications or connect new islands via bridges at any time. A positive side effect: Companies can start small with Minimum Viable Products (MVP) and explore automation potential. They do not tie themselves to a single tool provider, but build bridges successively according to need, the greatest savings potential and within the scope of financial possibilities.

Repetitive, manual and time-consuming activities can thus be gradually automated by software robots. Studies estimate that this Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can automate around half of all processes in companies. RPA technology can navigate enterprise software such as ERP systems, expert software, or service management tools, using the applications’ user interfaces as a human would. One benefit of RPA is lower process costs. Experience shows that average cost savings of 30 percent are achieved. In addition, existing IT systems do not need to be replaced because RPA bots can be used with existing systems.

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