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Digital Process Automation (DPA) » Definition & Applications «Digital Process Automation (DPA) » Definition & Applications «

Good business process management (BPM) is not an innovative approach to a digitization strategy, but has always been the central basis for successful business. Making optimal use of your own capacities and establishing flexible, efficient, and well-coordinated processes gives you the decisive edge over the competition. But the way a well-functioning BPM system optimizes processes has changed decisively with digitalization. This is where DPA comes into play.

Digital Process Automation (DPA): What is it anyway?

It is no longer a matter of coordinating individual analog work steps, but of effectively automating digital processes in order to handle business processes quickly, error-free and in a resource-saving manner. As a result of this need, digital process automation (DPA) is evolving traditional business process management.

Digital Process Automation describes the automation of digital processes through the wide-ranging software of process automation - also called Process Automation. Every employee can access all the information that is important to them and business processes run more efficiently and effectively. With the help of DPA, companies can respond faster to their customers' requirements and remain adaptable in the long term to drive digital transformation. Cross-process automation lays the foundation for future innovation. For example, new products can be simulated directly and tested for customer feedback.

Digital Process Automation as a complement to BPM

Unlike business process management, the DPA approach assumes that all processes are already digitized and ready to be automated and optimized. While classic BPM tools are primarily concerned with saving costs through efficiency, digital process automation focuses in particular on an improved customer experience, easier handling for employees and a well-managed customer journey.

However, BPM and Digital Process Automation (DPA) are not mutually exclusive - on the contrary: In future-oriented companies, the approaches should complement each other and digital process automation should be integrated into the proven BPM strategy.

Areas of application for Digital Process Automation

Let's take a closer look at digital process automation with an example:

Customers complain about requested items not being in stock. DPA is now focusing not primarily on revising inventory management, but on improving the flow of information to the customer. This means, for example, displaying stock levels online transparently and in real time.

Digital process automation always aims to improve the customer experience. This includes, for example, responding to customer inquiries and complaints, fast deliveries, or straightforward ordering processes.

Advantages of DPA

Digital Process Automation offers the following benefits for companies:

Saves time

Employees can focus on central tasks instead of wasting their time on routine tasks. 

Reduces costs 

Business processes can be handled faster and with fewer resources.

Minimizes errors

Inefficient and error-prone processes can be quickly identified and optimized. Data is the key to success here.

Makes more flexible 

Management and business can react faster to market changes and work more innovatively.

DPA vs. RPA

The advantages of digital process automation are similar to those of robotic process automation (RPA) or automation with iPaaS. With the help of RPA and Co., repetitive, digital business processes are to be automated by software robots. The bots can, for example, take over activities such as sorting data, filling out forms and tables, or sending automated mails. Not only the relieved employees are happy, but also the management, which now finally has solutions for the sprawling digital processes at hand.

While RPA mainly eliminates manual tasks at the desktop level, DPA is about dynamic automation that puts the customer at the center. Digital Automation, on the other hand, from the combination of RPA, iPaaS and Co. is a holistic approach that establishes a complete automation system throughout the business. The holistic approach of process automation with various technologies (also process mining, AI and machine learning), is sometimes referred to as hyperautomation. Building a Center of Excellence is the best choice to achieve this goal.

Process automation with Zapier & Co.

Various software can help manage digital business processes and automate and optimize them on this basis. DPA software should provide workflows with low implementation effort and be easy to use.

One of the most popular automation tools is Zapier. With a large selection of so-called Zaps (automated workflows), various processes can be automated and data can be moved between applications. No programming experience is needed to use them.

Another tool is IFTTT, which is somewhat simpler than Zapier. While Zapier focuses on business processes, IFTTT is also suitable for personal, smaller automation tasks, such as automatically turning off the heating.

Microsoft Flow is a mixture of IFTTT and Zapier, which also focuses on business processes, but is somewhat simpler. There are also numerous other tools, which can be read about in our top 5 best BPM tools. Important to mention: All tools are built on data and facilitate the management of complicated processes. Personal contact with customers and an effective customer journey are always the goal.

Conclusion: Combining DPA with RPA and BPM

For successful and sustainable automation and digital transformation, companies should integrate and combine the various automation approaches. In this way, the business not only works more cost-effectively and efficiently, but also in a more customer-oriented manner. It also takes a lot of pressure off employees, who can now spend more time on customers and on creative work.

DPA thus combines efficient processes with satisfied employees and customers - all thanks to process automation. This is how companies can establish themselves on the market in the long term and become pioneers for digital transformation.

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Automation Pioneer Program: jointly organized by T-Systems International, RWTH Business School and Bots & People. The aim was to train technology consultants and sales staff in the field of process automation in order to build up in-house expertise.

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Process mining and process automation are key technologies of digitalization in organizations seeking transparency and optimization of business processes. The new Automation Pioneer program is a great opportunity for participants to learn about these hot topics in today's industrial market.

Dr. Seran Uysal
RWTH Aachen University, Group Leader at Process and Data Science Chair
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This use case covers the automation of procurement at a large German eCommerce company for electronic devices. This project was planned, executed and supported by Bots & People and is considered a success story of process automation in the company.

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Hybrid process automation using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and API automation is a common method. For the employees of the electronics manufacturer, automation has greatly simplified their everyday work. The free time resources can now be put into new, creative projects. And best of all, this use case can be copied and used universally.

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Bots & People, CEO & Co-Founder

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