Introducing the Process Orchestration Maturity Model

Assessing the value of process orchestration to your organization’s strategic automation efforts

Process orchestration maturity model

Introduction: Process orchestration as a strategic imperative

Process orchestration is critical to accelerating automation, hyperautomation, and digital transformation alike, leading to greater efficiencies and better business outcomes. According to the 2023 State of Process Orchestration report, 96% of respondents believe that automation is critical to achieving their digital transformation goals.

To achieve these  goals, many organizations adopted emerging automation technologies and tools, ending up with fragmented automation pieces loosely coupled with each other. At first, automating even a single part of a big process returned a lot of value, but eventually, a growing number of local solutions created more complexity to manage the whole end-to-end process. In addition, this hindered opportunities for optimization and improvement, leading to automation stagnation and declining ROI.

This happened because many business-critical processes are complex by nature.

According to 72% of the survey respondents, real-world, business-critical processes are becoming more complex to maintain. That’s because many of these processes consist of:

  • Multiple steps
  • A large number of different endpoints — including systems, people, devices, and even departments
  • Workflows that need to be executed in parallel
  • Situations that require exceptions handling
  • And more.

In addition, according to McKinsey, 65% of smaller companies report success with automation, compared with just 55% at large organizations. What’s preventing that number from being higher? Process orchestration can help organizations accelerate along their digital transformation journey by addressing the process challenges detailed above — at the scale and speed required for modern organizations.

What is process orchestration

What is process orchestration?

Process orchestration and automation are closely related. Process orchestration coordinates the various endpoints of a business process, and sometimes even ties multiple processes together. Process orchestration helps you work with the people, systems, and devices you already have – while achieving even the most ambitious goals around end-to-end process automation.

Why process orchestration maturity matters

Over the past five years, organizations have accelerated their digital transformation efforts, adding new technology systems and processes to their mix at an unprecedented rate. In fact, software spending in this time period outpaced the general inflation rate by 4x. As organizations consider the impact of this spending spree, many are disappointed by how these new systems and processes lack alignment with their business goals. Undoing the high costs of transformational debt means considering how new technology fits in with the old. That includes how processes flow seamlessly from end to end — across people, systems and devices. 

New software means new silos that impact internal efficiency, business agility, time-to-value, and customer experiences. Organizations who are not implementing process orchestration across these silos often experience:

Broken or inefficient customer experiences

Unnecessary inefficiency due to poorly identified, implemented, executed, and maintained processes

An inability to measure effectiveness or continuously improve automated processes

To contrast, organizations that are highly mature in their process orchestration lifecycle implementations experience strategic, scaled adoption of end-to-end automation, aligned with their specific business goals and initiatives. According to Deloitte, 92% of advanced automation adopters leverage end-to-end automation as a part of their strategy now, or plan to do so in the next three years.

The result is achieving measurable business outcomes such as:

Marked improvements in customer experience, driving revenue opportunity

Greater internal efficiency, lowering costs

A higher degree of overall automation, driving digital transformation objectives

Let’s take a closer look at the maturity model, and how your organization can advance in its process orchestration maturity.

Inside the Process Orchestration Maturity Model

The Process Orchestration Maturity Model seeks to identify organizations’ comfort levels and ability to execute process orchestration projects and strategies across a number of “drivers,” or factors that help inform their maturity level. Improving maturity can help teams overcome the technology and people challenges standing in the way of meeting their automation goals.

All of these challenges negatively impact the business. Sometimes, more people need to get involved in what should be an “automated” process, adding unnecessary costs. Other times,  inefficient processes and slow response times impact the customer or employee experience. Not to mention, many teams experience mounting legacy infrastructure maintenance costs.

Some common challenges might include:

  • Lack of strategic oversight and visibility
  • Legacy technology problems and growing technical debt
  • A lack of integration capabilities
  • Performance, reliability, and scalability problems
  • And more.

To overcome these challenges and their resulting business impacts, organizations can assess their overall maturity by looking at where they stand relative to the model’s five drivers of process orchestration maturity. By doing so, they can identify the key areas to focus their efforts to get the most value out of both new and existing digital transformation investments.

Process Orchestration Maturity Drivers

Vision

What is the awareness of process orchestration as a distinct competency in the organization? Why does it matter to the organization?

People

Who defines the standards and policies for how process orchestration should be used? Who is responsible for implementing these changes?

Technology

What technology philosophies, platforms, and solutions power the organization’s process orchestration efforts?

Delivery

How are process orchestration and improvement projects and the teams meant to execute them set up and enabled for success?

Measurement

How does the organization define process orchestration success, and how capably can the organization track that success?

After evaluating where they stand using the Maturity Model framework below, organizations can visualize their ranking across maturity levels from 0-4.

Inside the Process Orchestration Maturity Model

Level 0:
No process orchestration
Level 1:
Single project or ad-hoc use
Level 2:
Broader initiative
Level 3:
Distributed adoption
Level 4:
Strategic, scaled adoption
VisionSome process elements may have automated components; they are too dispersed to be measured. This lack of visibility galvanizes process improvementsFocused on single, mission-critical process orchestration projects, or projects that focus on a “broken” process; this urgent need to “fix” mission-critical processes justifies PO investmentBroader, scaled-up initiatives are focused on better business outcomes; measuring success remains a challenge as only a few business units are aware of the business impact of POEvolving toward a practice where process orchestration supports organization-wide digital transformation goals & drives strategic business outcomes, rapidly and at scale across multiple lines of businessClearly defined strategy around technology, methodology, and people to execute process orchestration at scale; ability to execute that vision is evenly matched; lines of business are motivated by this track record to deliver business transformation at scale
PeopleIT team is not set up to centralize projects or resourcesTeam often takes decentralized, “sprouting mushroom approach” to disparate process orchestration projectsIT teams want to empower business roles to understand their process orchestration projectsMay have implemented a Center of Excellence (CoE) model or distributed team focused on repeatability, enablement, and scaleGlobal CoEs act as “SaaS platform within org,” providing enablement, training, internal consulting, and Connector development for process orchestration technology solution
TechnologyMay have implemented disparate automation technologiesQuestioning the legacy systems or monolithic on-premise solutions that limit advancementFocusing on building a single technology stack that covers the entire process lifecycleInvesting in elements that increase solution acceleration; enabling multiple teams to build process orchestration solutions at scaleBelief that there is no “one size fits all” approach to hyper-automated tech stacks; has instead built one that fits their exact needs without additional components; also has dedicated process orchestration strategy within stack
DeliveryLarge gaps between business and IT create silos, slow iterations and limited ability to deliver impactful process solutionsBusiness starts to recognize the “transformational potential” of IT, but lack of mature IT methodologies prevents agile delivery in small incrementsAs business & IT alignment improves and organization shifts to more agile development, teams begin to deliver continuous improvements in short sprints based on process dataMultiple BizDevOps teams are involved in delivery and establishing best practices that increase time to value; improved process monitoring allows organizations to track impact on business outcomesBusiness teams can self-serve on an increasing number of use cases with minimal IT involvement, enabled by CoE; processes are purpose-built to drive business value and adjusted through continuous monitoring and improvement to maximize value
MeasurementUnable to accurately measure business value due to silos and lack of scale Focused on completing single high-need projects; success defined as “project is in production”Focused on defining and measuring success for individual projects and/or processes, but still struggle to track KPIsHave established clear success metrics for individual process orchestration projects; starting to explore broader process orchestration KPIsFocused on defining and measuring large-scale KPIs that demonstrate process orchestration’s contribution to business outcomes

Accelerating through the Maturity Model

Most organizations want to advance their process orchestration maturity to enhance specific business outcomes. Depending on the organization’s sector or specific role, this might include improving:

Customer experiences

Compliance outcomes

Cost savings

Internal efficiency or team collaboration

IT modernization goals without disturbing business continuity

And more

Given organizations’ varying priorities, advancement may look different for each team. However, organizations at each of the levels below may share these common characteristics as they accelerate in their maturity journey.

Level 0:
No process orchestration

Organizations at Level 0 may be automating in silos with limited to no orchestration across processes, but have the most urgent need to implement process orchestration in some form.

They may find that a lack of orchestration reduces their operational ability to operate/execute, or hinders their ability to drive digital transformation. As such, this group is often the most motivated to break down silos that may negatively impact critical business outcomes.

These teams can focus on improving their ability to plan or act strategically or efficiently. Collaboration with business users on individual processes/projects or in training capabilities could be one specific area to improve.

Level 1:
Single project or ad-hoc use

Organizations at this level of maturity are just beginning to realize how process orchestration can support their business needs on a project-to-project level. 

They will need to invest the most resources into standing up the people, methods, and technologies needed to improve their mission-critical business processes and to understand how these efforts can drive further organizational value.

Level 2:
Broader initiative

Organizations at this level of maturity have experienced some level of success with process orchestration, although this success may not have been measurable. They are beginning to question how to initiate broader process orchestration initiatives to bring more tangible value to the organization.

Maturity at this level may mean building their organizational strategy and establishing their team structures. However, they may still struggle with meaningful measurement.

Level 3:
Distributed adoption

Organizations at this level of maturity are well on their way to using their process orchestration practice to drive business outcomes at scale across their organization. They have a clear understanding of the power of process orchestration, and are building out a roadmap to deliver bigger results faster across the organization.

They have the right personnel in place and are advancing maturity by working on the team structures and measurement practices that empower them to accelerate solutions across departmental silos and isolated business functions.

Level 4:
Strategic, scaled adoption

Organizations at this level of maturity are delivering digital transformation due to their ability to drive better business outcomes. These outcomes are achieved in large part due to the organization’s ability to deploy process orchestration at scale across the entire company. Sophisticated strategies, teams, and delivery methodologies have all combined to drive business outcomes and deliver value for the organization.

Even so, they understand that continuous improvement is necessary to achieving their ongoing process orchestration goals, and are focused on creating and implementing a feedback loop for improvements.

Conclusion: Proving the value of process orchestration

As organizations advance through their process orchestration maturity journey, they gain full visibility and strategic oversight into their end-to-end processes, driving stronger alignment between business and IT. As a result, they can achieve greater automation outcomes faster, at lower cost, and with reduced risk. In other words, process orchestration maturity empowers organizations to achieve a culture of continuous improvement and adaptability toward any changes that arise.

According to Gartner, “Process orchestration is critical both to manage end-to-end customer journeys and to provide consistency of experience to the human workforce.” 1 It has emerged as a transformative strategy across sectors, empowering organizations to streamline operations, improve customer experiences, and drive sustainable growth. Embracing this approach positions organizations to thrive in an increasingly digital and competitive landscape.

With advanced maturity, the optimized use of process orchestration can drive organizations toward the ultimate goal of strategic, scaled adoption. These teams get more value from automation and orchestration efforts than their counterparts. Perhaps most importantly, their efforts are aligned with specific business outcomes, setting highly mature organizations apart from the pack in the path toward digital transformation success.

1 Gartner®, Emerging Tech Impact Radar: Hyperautomation, 28 March 2023

Process Orchestration Handbook

Learn more about process orchestration in The Process Orchestration Handbook

Plan your path to orchestration maturity

Download the Process Orchestration Maturity Model

introducing the process orchestration maturity model

The Process Orchestration Maturity Model identifies organizations’ ability to execute automation projects. Evaluate different challenges and meet your automation goals.

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