Actively Hunt Down Manual Processes to Automate

By Alex Givens  |  Posted 2009-04-28 Print this article Print

4. Actively hunt down manual processes to automate

Manual processes are slow, error-prone and can sabotage compliance efforts. Eliminate them with automation. The manual processes to be targeted should not just include those that have a time- or date-based component, but should include any process that requires intervention-even processes that potentially fall under a "workflow" designation.

Organizations can survey users for the processes they least enjoy performing. For example, an existing manual process consisting of several inter-related but disparate steps may be viewed as impossible to automate. Workload automation provides wider coverage so each step of the manual process can be transformed into a "job" which can be strung together into a unified, automated business process.

5. Look for events to drive dynamic processing

One critical capability of a workload automation tool is the ability to pay attention to all events that occur within the organization. Actionable events are more than just the completion of a prior job. Possible event scenarios could include a change to specific data in a database, the arrival or disappearance of a file on a file system, a Web service invocation, receipt of a Java Message Service (JMS) message, or exceeding a critical operating system parameter (such as CPU usage).

The ability to react to events is a strong tool for the automation of manual processes because the same cues that a user might look for to determine if or when they should manually perform a process can be detected and used by the workload automation tool to automate the same process. This detection of events is typically much quicker and less error-prone than a human can ever be.

Events expand the scope of automation well beyond the "scheduling" time-based mindset. A centralized workload automation tool can detect and take advantage of events that occur across a variety of disparate servers and applications to drive and control automated processing. Events, therefore, become a kind of glue that can connect disparate-and previously thought of as unconnected-processes together into a more cohesive, automated whole.

Alex Givens is a Senior Solutions Architect for UC4 Software, Inc. For 13 years, Alex has helped organizations improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their business processing. Alex has spoken on business process automation at many international, national and regional conferences. He can be reached at

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