Process Discovery and Automation are Value Drivers for Complementary Enterprise Solutions

Process Discovery is Essential for Automation

Enterprise organizations who are embracing new technologies such as process discovery and automation to achieve their transformation goals understand the value that these solutions bring in addressing digital challenges. Early adopters, in particular, who have overcome initial RPA deployment setbacks, and are now looking to more intelligent automation solutions understand the importance of process discovery and mining solutions and how necessary they are to maximizing the ROI of automation tools.

Gain a Competitive Advantage

Companies who have adopted these solutions for internal use should also consider how their own products and solutions could add additional value to their customers if they were process discovery and automation-friendly. This is especially relevant for software and IT services companies. The same challenge of scalable implementation encountered by companies internally when they were deploying automation will be faced by their customers as they too try to implement automation at scale.

Gartner recently published the February 2020 “Product Managers Must Use Hyperautomation to Enhance Offerings” report, which names FortressIQ as a robotic process discovery tool. According to Gartner, “within the last few years, many organizations have faced competition from digital “natives” and increasing pressure to cut costs. Automation is often key to addressing these challenges by increasing speed and efficiency while reducing costs, but the typical overly long response times from more traditional IT approaches are holding this back. Hyperautomation is about fixing these pent-up automation requirements at speed. Through excellent governance and planning by their product managers, vendors are thriving by aligning their products to this pent-up demand for quicker and more automation inside their customer organizations.” We believe that companies whose solution offerings can be configured to add increased value by complementing RPA and process tools can improve their customers’ experiences, increase ROI, and gain an advantage over competitors — a win-win.

Understanding Process Discovery 

In order for companies to tweak or adjust a product successfully, the product team needs to thoroughly understand the capabilities of the tools they’re trying to align with. FortressIQ is an enterprise platform that accelerates transformation with data-driven metrics on current state business operations. Using AI we discover, map, and document all processes and tasks executed by your workforce to deliver deep insights not achievable with other methods or tools. These insights enable companies to make better decisions about how to address complex initiatives such as automation.

Not all process discovery solutions are created equal. FortressIQ brings a cognitive, intelligent approach at enterprise scale. Our hyper-scalable solution can automatically create a rich, structured view of an organization in as little as a few weeks, with no integrations or APIs needed. As a result, automation initiatives can both scale and be extremely targeted. Additionally, the extremely granular and feature-rich data collected can be used to validate and test an organization’s overall transformation strategy.

To summarize, when companies producing enterprise software and IT services, automation vendors, and process discovery solutions all align to highlight the respective offerings, the customer wins.

Interested in learning more about cognitive process discovery from FortressIQ? Learn about our approach, or request a demo here.

Enabling Automation Success: What to do Before And After Deployment

Enterprise organizations all over the world have jumped on the RPA bandwagon. Your executive staff is asking questions about this automation technology: licensing, where it can help, and how quickly could it be up and running. Maybe you’ve deployed some bots already and are looking elsewhere for additional automation opportunities. Or maybe you’re just getting started. Where do you go from here? Below are a few key actions you must take – prior to implementation – that will enable you to deploy RPA faster and recognize better results.


Identify a starting point.

Just like every other major phase of your digital transformation journey, the starting point is very important. It may seem easy at first, as there seem to be myriad places that bots can be of value in any company. Refuse the urge to throw bots at a problem without details and a plan. First, make sure to get a complete and accurate picture of your current state business operations. Taking the time to get all this information will easily enable you to identify the areas that will have the most impact. And using an automated process discovery solution like FortressIQ will feed you those answers much more quickly, and with more detail so you can validate your recommendations with the team and proceed with confidence.

Define metrics for success.

Having a successful deployment model (or RPA roadmap) is crucial to maintain the momentum for bot utilization and maintenance. Many enterprise companies have purchased tens to hundreds of RPA licenses and have only used a fraction. Having a system to quickly identify with your team where to target automation and using auto process discovery methods to support the recommendations will keep you on track to deploy more rapidly and track along the way. We recommend creating a custom prioritization template with input from departmental subject matter experts (SMEs) and business analysts to define consistent mechanisms to track and report on progress.

Plan on rework.

While the implementation of bots has been made easier with more accurate documentation and easy coding, what is often unplanned for in an automation project is the fact that bots can and do break; they have to be constantly monitored and fixed. Enterprises that do not add in these steps, potential costs and overhead into an RPA project plan end up scrambling for resources when a problem occurs. Building this into your plan will ensure you have the resources to swiftly address problems and not get stuck spinning your wheels on rework.

Continuously check and pivot strategy.

At the end of each round of bot deployments, document how the process has changed and what the estimated ROI will be for those RPA licenses now in use. Taking this action will ensure you are checking on overall progress along the way. If you’d like to dig in a bit more on what it takes to make RPA successful, check out our infographic on questions to ask before implementing automation.

Delivering Process Intelligence to Microsoft Power Automate Customers

“We create technology so others can create more technology.”

– Satya Nadella, Microsoft

The Importance of Accurate Process Discovery

Discovery, Documentation, Due Diligence, and Details: The Importance of Accurate Process Discovery

Detailed process discovery is a necessary component for any desired process change to make a significant positive impact.

Enterprise organizations across industries are looking to optimize their business processes, especially in non-revenue producing departments. When done successfully, this can lead to an increase in revenue, reduction in spend, and deliver better experiences for their employees and customers.

The desired outcomes from detailed process discovery generally fall into the following categories:

  • Fix the process – often may involve employee re-training
  • Fix the system – legacy systems and old versions of systems could be slowing the process and stalling productivity
  • Outsource the process – business process outsourcing (BPO) companies may be able to save significant amounts of money, especially for common tasks
  • Automate the process — or a portion of the process, using RPA or more complex AI methods
  • Transform the process – maybe the process is moved to interact with a different system, or maybe the process is eliminated altogether if there is serious lack of efficiency

Although different solutions exist for these scenarios, in order to be executed successfully, there is one thing needed: a detailed account of the current state operations of the processes identified.

What is Automated Process Discovery?

Using an AI-driven approach to discovery – instead of traditional methods – delivers a more accurate picture of your current state operations and does so in a fraction of the time. Many shifts in a business process, especially when looking at areas to automate or outsource, need to contain detailed documentation on the steps in the process, what order the tasks go in, and the length of time it takes to complete the process, etc.

Cathy Tornbohm, an analyst at Gartner, writes about robotic process discovery in the August 2019 report Differentiate BPO Via Advanced Process Capture. FortressIQ is cited as a tool provider for robotics process discovery in the report.

“Robotic process discovery helps discover the sequence of the different steps that are being undertaken. This improves the accuracy of the process document and reduces the laborious preparation of designing with teams of people the exact process that needs to be completed,” states Gartner.

We see that using computer vision and other AI technology, employees executing a process, or series of tasks within a larger process are observed and an auto-process discovery tool like FortressIQ can map out all the various ways that process and/or task is currently being done.

Why Do We Think Automated Process Discovery is Important?

The traditional method of using people – whether you use an internal team or bring in outside help – to interview staff and manually document processes is tired.

Gartner writes, “Much of the hard work that goes into winning a new business process outsourcing (BPO) client can have its profit margin rapidly eroded by the new client’s ignorance over its ‘as-is’ process state. Manual process capture usually extends BPO transfer of service time while building up significant costs from travel expenses (for hotels, flights, meals, visas) and labor time to complete the documentation.

This is often a highly inefficient process; it relies on small numbers of trained individuals from the provider — with limited or no visibility on the client’s internal business and process challenges/issues — to capture the information. In addition, often when people are interviewed, they do not recall what they do 100% of the time. For example, people will forget seasonal activities and up to about 30% of their ad hoc tasks.”

We believe using a solution to discover, document, and provide detailed information on your processes will save you countless hours in time, as well as millions in spend. And, it will provide a more accurate picture of your current state operations, helping to improve your business more quickly over time.

19th Century French Philosophy, SkyNet, and the 4 realities of RPA

Any cocktail party conversation about AI in Silicon Valley inevitably comes around to the topic of SkyNet and the subsequent post-apocalyptic, dystopian future that will inevitably befall us as AI becomes more powerful. While the Terminator series does paint a bleak future for humanity, the focus on SkyNet distracts from another central theme, that AI (cleverly disguised as Arnold Schwarzenegger) working with mankind is the best hope for a prosperous future. However, having experienced multiple organizations struggle with automation, the idea of AI/human integration, while great in theory, is challenging in practice.

‘Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.’

Organizations on the transformation journey should take the counterintuitive approach of embracing both change and the status quo. This idea is embodied by French philosopher Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr’s “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” literally translated “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” The notion that automation must work together with humans within many of the existing constructs of an organization, lays the groundwork for a successful strategy. This strategy must integrate the four realities of RPA, which will impact the majority of your enterprise processes.

Reality #1 – Your Processes Aren’t Going Away

Anyone that has worked with current RPA tools will tell you that they can be severely lacking, and that the chance of their automating one hundred percent of a process is between slim and none. A recent study by McKinsey echoes this, finding that on average about thirty percent of a process can be automated using today’s technologies. Even as this percentage creeps higher we have to deal with the fact that the activities automated are often not continuous, human judgement must often be interjected, and exceptions happen. All of this means todays automation technologies can’t support a fundamental rewrite of your processes, yet.

Reality #2 – Your IT Systems Aren’t Going Away

One the strengths of RPA is its ability to work with legacy systems, giving organizations the ability to get more miles out of their existing technology. It’s not just the systems here that matter, though. The overall enterprise IT architecture supporting the application of identity, change management, security, integrations, and infrastructure all are going to be around for a very long time.

Reality #3 – Your People Aren’t Going Away

If your processes aren’t going away, and your systems aren’t going away, your people can’t go away. While the actual number of people executing activities may drop, the groups involved in the process execution will likely increase. IT, Security, Risk, and Compliance will be more involved in the day to day operations, now that RPA is embedded in a process.

Reality #4 – Your Organization’s Structure Isn’t Going Away

If people, process and systems aren’t going away, neither are the organizations that support them. While we can all agree that no organization is perfect, there are oftentimes decades of best practices embedded in their policies and procedures. Every component of an organization has evolved with a specific purpose that, while maybe not obvious, will most likely need to be addressed in the context of RPA.

When constructing our go-to-market strategies, we look at how can we lower the “switching costs” of our solution. A high switching cost means higher risks, higher expenses (impacting ROI), and usually a built in constituency that doesn’t look at change favorably. The same is true about an automation program. Every time the people, process, systems or org need to change, the switching costs are increasing. The key to the speed, and success of an RPA program lies in figuring out how to leverage components of the existing, while delivering change. It will at times be necessary to make large, transformational changes, but a land and expand strategy, while delivering value, presents the highest likelihood of success.