As a subset of overall business process management (BPM), business process automation (BPA) allows you to cut out manual labor and replace it with fast, efficient processes that preserve and enhance quality while also providing more responsive, scalable services.
Automation improves your integrations between different software and business processes. It can also improve communication around key business processes to reduce organizational waste.
But these benefits can’t be fully realized if you don’t combine BPA with a business rules engine. If you’re looking to implement BPA without a business rules solution in place, you’re taking on unnecessary risks in your workflow management—and missing out on the full potential of process automation.
When it comes to automating business processes, a rules engine offers a series of checks and balances to make sure automation is also making progress toward the right outcomes.
Automation can do such things as accelerate workflows and facilitate data-driven processes, but BPA can’t effectively validate and clean data as it enters and informs these workflows. BPA can automate production for a order, but it might not detect data discrepancies caused by the wrong data being added into the wrong form field—which could affect the production run and cost your organization money.
Similarly, automation on its own can’t ensure that workflows and tasks are executed according to regulatory compliance or company policy. Without a business rules engine to enforce a complex ecosystem of rules governing your business processes, unchecked automation could quickly pile up violations that counteract any benefits you might otherwise achieve.
Business rules also give automation the ability to handle complex tasks and execute evolving workflows that take a unique path. Although automation can help guide processes through a rigid workflow structure, many businesses must account for a range of variables that affect not only the tasks being executed but also the progression of these tasks, the authorizations received for various actions, policy enforcement protocols, custom pricing models, and much more.
Without a business rules engine helping to navigate these processes, automation is like an airplane on autopilot.
When a business rules engine is integrated with business process automation software, your organization is able to avoid all of the pitfalls mentioned above—and unlock efficiencies and capabilities that manual process management simply can’t achieve.
A rules engine makes it easier to set up complex trigger actions that dictate automated workflow processes while preserving compliance with existing regulations and company policies. A rules engine can incorporate incoming data from a wide range of sources to ensure that automated tasks aren’t stepping on the toes of other business considerations.
Manufacturing production workflows, for example, can incorporate employee labor logs to make sure they aren’t overworked and exposed to safety risks. Similarly, production workflows can be automatically prioritized based on limited material inventory—and these workflows can be directed according to revenue potential, customer demand, or a combination of operational data and strategic guidance.
When properly combined with process automation, business rules can provide more consistent and accurate rules enforcement than what human oversight can provide. This improves quality assurance, reduces unforced errors, and delivers additional value to your organization.
Before you invest in BPA software, ask yourself these three questions related to business rules:
When combined with a business rules engine, BPA offers speed, accuracy, and scalability while ensuring these processes adhere to complex and layered regulations and requirements. Even in complex industries in which thousands of business rules must be accounted for, a business rules engine can help you maximize the value of automated processes.
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