A Human Approach to Process Automation

The chances of success are significantly higher when you put humans in the center of your orchestration projects.
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The benefits of orchestrating business-crucial processes as part of an organization’s digitalization efforts are significant—from enabling teams to work more effectively to improving customer experience. However, these projects can take a long time from development to deployment and finally production. Each of these stages come with their own challenges and potential bottlenecks and the more complex a project the more difficult it is get it off the ground.

Working iteratively to speed up development

Our most successful customers avoid these obstacles by starting small. Lighthouse projects that involve a limited number of key stakeholders can typically be developed and deployed swiftly. The efficiencies made and lessons learned can help activate the wider organization to embrace automation initiatives more quickly.

Starting with a relatively small pilot also has the advantage that it is easier to break the overall goals into smaller, more manageable steps. This is where businesses should look to software engineering and adopt iterative, agile ways of working instead of shooting for the stars from the outset.

A human-centric path to success

Approaching process automation with an agile mindset is only part of a sound strategy for success. Having supported hundreds of customers on their automation journey, we know that the chances of success are significantly higher when you put humans in the center of your orchestration projects.

In Technology’s Future Is Human-Centered, Forrester analysts write that:

“An intentional focus on and investment in people development closes the alignment gap between technology and people. Tight integration between innovation and day-to-day operations reduces complexity and increases adaptivity. Firms that can converge their people-driven creativity and technology-driven innovation and productivity in a virtuous cycle will outperform their competition.”

– Forrester, Technology’s Future Is Human-Centered, December 15, 2022

Starting your pilot project with human tasks offers a number of advantages: by cooperating with process users and other stakeholders, you can quickly get actionable feedback as well as an understanding of how efficient the current processes are. With that (and with a tool like Camunda’s Optimize) you can estimate the ROI of automating tasks before investing.

Importantly, as a process orchestrator Camunda can help orchestrate these tasks regardless of their degree of automation. This is significant: according to this blog on transfunnel.com, you may find that by focusing on improving orchestration, e.g. ensuring tasks are routed to the correct user, you see more benefits than by jumping head-first into task automation. Fully automating tasks prematurely also carries the risk of less visibility of any flaws in the process as there are less people involved who could flag them.

Iteration over perfection

Part of an agile mindset and iterative approach is the ability to not always strive for perfection, but pushing assets into production even though they may need refinement. The advantage of working with human tasks instead of machine automation in this case is that these processes are already in place. While your automation of them may not yet be perfect, pushing them live makes them transparent and visible—and easier to iterate on.

This approach is part of Camunda’s philosophy, which is why we make it super simple to continuously improve processes. Optimize delivers the process insights you need to identify immediately where a process can be fine tuned. Once identified, changes can be implemented quickly and effectively using Modeler. Since Camunda uses the BPMN standard, business and IT can collaborate to design and implement processes that serve the business and deliver value.

Forrester predicts that:

“Automation solutions evolve to form the fabric of human-centered business. Work is increasingly becoming a team sport as the notion of ‘a person assigned to do a job or task’ wanes. In this environment, tasks need to be intelligently orchestrated across networks of human workers (full-time, contingent, and gig workers); digital workers (or robots); physical robots; and other forms of automation. This is a massive change and requires each organization to start building and activating its own enterprise automation fabric — a technology substrate and connective tissue that brings automation technologies and autonomous work modes together in a seamless and interconnected way to enable end-to-end human-centered automation across the company’s core processes and value streams.”

– Forrester, Technology’s Future Is Human-Centered, December 15, 2022

The benefits of centering your orchestration efforts around humans are clear. Add that to Camunda’s best-of-breed suite of tools as well as a collaborative development process and you will be able to find the best way to automate and orchestrate smaller pieces. These smaller successes pave the way towards large scale end-to-end automation that delivers true value to your organization.

Learn more

To find out more about process orchestration and how it can help your organization, get started with Camunda Platform 8 for free today.

Catch up on the Camunda Community Summit

Are you interested in learning more about Camunda Platform? Hundreds of Camunda developers recently joined up at the Camunda Community Summit. Catch the replays here.

Date for your Diary – CamundaCon 2023

Join us in New York City or online on September 27-28 at CamundaCon 2023, the process orchestration conference. Sign up now to be the first to know when registration opens. 

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