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Recent Technology Developments and Transformations in Workflow Solutions

John Stretton, Business Analysis Manager, EDP Renewable and Stephan Blasilli, Global Head of Lean & Head of Corporate Initiatives, EDP Renewable
John Stretton, Business Analysis Manager, EDP Renewable

John Stretton, Business Analysis Manager, EDP Renewable

Drivers for technology developments

Recent technology developments specifically around workflow solutions are offering companies unprecedented opportunities. This is mainly driven by business drivers which in many cases has and will have a disruptive impact. Key drivers are:

• Facilitate collaboration across teams
• Increase visibility of work queues
• Improve accuracy of data
• Preserve institutional knowledge
• Help employees/customers navigate issues
• Unify data from disparate systems to one UI

Understand how your employees work

In simple terms, we can divide work into rigid and unstructured processes. The following table lists key characteristics of both types.

Understanding this basic idea will help to separate solutions better suited for each type of work.

Functional requirements

Taken digitalization and changing business requirements into account, companies need workflow solutions providing the following benefits.

• Quick changes to processes and business rules
• Constant chain of custody
• Schedule processes to run automatically
• Real-time reporting/analytics

Technology developments

Generally, workflow solutions can be divided into the following three areas:

a) Low/no code development platforms

What used to be mainly intelligent Business Process Management Systems (iBPMS) with process backed data is transitioning to application development platforms with a focus on database-backed records. The idea remains the same: the creation of application software through graphical UIs and configuration instead of custom coding. In addition, low/no code development platforms provide the following advantages:Stephan Blasilli, Global Head of Lean & Head of Corporate Initiatives, EDP Renewable

• Address the specific process needs of the organization
• Allow for quick creation/changes to the process
• Mobile support with little to no additional design effort
• Interaction with relational databases
• Enable citizen development of prototype solutions

Leading low-code platforms provide further benefits. Designers with no web development experience can create complex features of modern web applications that would otherwise require a significant amount of custom code. Examples include dynamic interfaces and RESTful API endpoints.

b) Frameworks (Case Management, CRM)

Framework combines patterns of common characteristics of a process such as resolving a problem or interacting with a customer. Frameworks are often used in conjunction with low/no code development platforms and/or are built on top of it. Frameworks allow for the usage of a predefined structure such as the process flow or business rules.

c) Intelligent automation (bots, machine learning, AI)

Many workflow solutions offer automation capabilities. Like with low/no code development platforms, recent automation solutions focus on graphical UIs and configuration or recording instead of custom coding. The “intelligence” comes from integration with machine learning/AI services. A very popular example in recent time is RPA short for Robotics Process Automation. RPA allows for mirroring the employee’s work and interaction with desktop software such as ERP systems, emails, word processing, and then perform the automation by repeating those tasks. In this extend RPA lowers the barrier for automation.

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