Automation & Integration - A Practical approach
With the 4th industrial revolution in full swing, and with cloud solution providers producing and enhancing the countless services at a mind-boggling pace, where does this leave the modern information workers and process custodians?
All businesses, big or small, have some form of business processes that are used on a day-to-day basis, and consume a lot of valuable time and resources, and these processes are prime examples that are knocking on the door with a simple message: Automate and Integrate me and I will save you cost and frustration.
With countless services all different in flavor and functionality, one constant remains in every organization which is a business process, that contains data that needs to be verified and validated by the human capital. When approved, this valuable data needs to be persisted some how and somewhere, in the most cost effective and secure way.
Humans have the capability of organizing chaos into manageable and workable solutions, yet with the constant change driving innovation, these workable and manageable solutions can evolve into even more complex systems to manage and to govern.
Automation provides benefits to virtually every industry. Here are some examples:
Manufacturing, including food and pharmaceutical, chemical and petroleum, pulp, and paper
Transportation, including automotive, aerospace, and rail
Utilities, including water and wastewater, oil and gas, electric power, and telecommunications
Facility operations, including security, environmental control, energy management, safety, and other building automation
And many others
Automation crosses all functions within industry from installation, integration, and maintenance to design, procurement, and management. Automation even reaches into the marketing and sales functions of these industries.
Automation involves a very broad range of technologies including robotics and expert systems, telemetry and communications, electro-optics, cybersecurity, process measurement and control, sensors, wireless applications, systems integration, test measurement, and many, many more.
So what? We can only control and manage what we know, right?
This is a where a solid automation and integration practice or governance can get control over the chaos. For automation to work and be modelled in software, one must get rid of the little chaos causing factors that can throw you off course. Ensuring that a business process is streamlined and solves a certain problem for 80-90% of the known cases is a good start. Now one is ready to make sure this process can be automated and the execution cycles that are typically a couple of hours can be performed reliably repeatedly in a matter of minutes or seconds.
This brings us to integration, as the name suggests, is to integrate multiple services into one easy to access and control interface. With the modern-day toolsets and the constant evolution of cloud services, the key to automation and integration is for continuous improvement.
Integrating your systems also helps make devices compatible with the Internet of Things (IoT). This helps you better coordinate between systems and appliances to get an edge in your business practices. Doing so will also make your automated manufacturing processes more efficient, as integrated machinery can more effectively communicate and resolve issues and information across the system without having to rely on operators.
Give us a call and let us help you with all your automation and integration needs, achieve Kaizen which is a Japanese business philosophy regarding the processes that continuously improve operations and involve all employees.
I am Eckard Meyer, a Business Unit Manager for the Automation and Integration business unit at First Digital, a First Technology company. I help clients plan and adopt automation and integration tools including K2 Five, Nintex Workflow, Nintex RPA, UiPath, Automation Anywhere RPA, Microsoft Biztalk, Azure App Service Plans and Azure Service Bus.
I focus on effective governance, development, and adoption of these technologies, including migration projects from legacy workflow management systems like K2.net, K2 BlackPearl, and Custom Developed Workflows. We automate HR, Engineering, Procurement and Financial processes using the low-code Nintex Platform technologies namely K2 Five, Nintex Workflow and Nintex RPA as well UiPath and Automation Anywhere RPA and utilize the Integration capabilities on the above mentioned low-code platforms as well as custom build integration utilizing Microsoft.Net and Core .net frameworks.