Not so long ago it would’ve been mind-blowing to think you could execute and coordinate every single IT and business process right across the enterprise – regardless of systems, departments, applications and geographies – using cloud automation. Yet today it’s very much a reality. Continue reading
As the Arabic proverb implies: everyone has their breaking point. Recently, four thousand consumers in the UK and US have explained where and when they reach theirs—and businesses need to pay attention. A new survey commissioned by Redwood discovered that customers are abandoning purchases, switching suppliers and terminating contracts because they’re not experiencing the smooth integration they expect from brands that have both an on- and off-line presence. Customers expect more from the “bricks and clicks” brands they know. But instead, they often have to deal with shoddy services, redundant questions and disconnected processes. Continue reading
Every business runs on processes. If you’re still in business, the odds are that many of your IT and business processes are already automated. But what about the business-critical processes that span departments, geographies, systems and applications? Are they connected and coordinated? Are they still managed manually? Disorganized, unconnected manual processes slow companies down and lose them money. Redwood’s Enterprise Process Automation platform can put an end to poor process coordination and grim stories like these. Continue reading
In the IT and business process automation universe, it’s no bad thing to be a bit of a control freak. Controlling critical processes through automation and coordination across departments, geographies and systems – and even across global partner and supplier networks – will help reduce business risk while at the same time increasing consistency, efficiency and productivity.
Simply following three simple steps from Enterprise Process Automation™ methodology should de-stress even the biggest control freak. Continue reading
New roles emerge in the era of Enterprise Process Automation
Of all the external forces that will affect companies over the next three to five years, CEOs now see technology change as the most critical. Cloud computing and the consumerization of IT are at the top of the list of reasons why. When you combine these changes with heightened customer service demands and greater end-user expectations, you can see how businesses now face a perfect storm.
Tempting as it may be to recruit more people to deal with all this, just having more hands on deck isn’t the answer. More manual work means more manual error. But automation doesn’t mean that robots will take over the world. On the contrary, you will need people in the workplace—the right people— doing more strategic activities to meet and exceed your goals. Continue reading
The digital world that underlies successful businesses is getting bigger every day. It actually grows every second. Redwood’s business partner, IBM, explains:
“Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, purchase transaction records, and cell phone GPS signals to name a few. This data is big data.”
(from “What is big data?”)
This kind of growth creates lots of challenges. Of course, big data can be tough to deal with, but it’s also full of opportunities and critical clues to help you build your business. Who are your best customers? Big data has the answer. Where do you generate the most revenue? Big data can show you. What needs improvement? Big data can lead the way. Big data is everywhere, and the private sector alone generates huge volumes of big data continually. Companies use it to keep track of almost every activity they do.
According to Wikipedia:
“- Walmart handles more than 1 million customer transactions every hour, which is imported into databases estimated to contain more than 2.5 petabytes of data — the equivalent of 167 times the information contained in all the books in the US Library of Congress.
- FICO Falcon Credit Card Fraud Detection System protects 2.1 billion active accounts world-wide.
- The volume of business data worldwide, across all companies, doubles every 1.2 years, according to estimates.”
And that’s just a few examples. It’s clear in all of this that organizations have to find an effective, efficient and fast way to deal with all of this information. But how? How can a mere mortal handle the vast, dizzying, yet clearly important volume of data that business generates these days?
Automate for Answers
Start by examining the processes that generate all that big data. At their core, business and IT processes are a series of related, dependent tasks that must be completed in a logical sequence, but their real value lies in their completion and outcome. When you begin to optimize and automate processes as a whole, you start implementing enterprise process automation.
Enterprise process automation has real value for big data—because—just like big data–it crosses silos of departments, technologies and locations. It can help you bring all your big data together—and back down to size. Enterprise process automation also gives you the benefits of complete control without the need to micromanage every step of every process—or all of the billions of pieces of big data that come in. It’s a smart way to use technology to your best business advantage.
Back to Human Scale
Information technology (IT) has always been about taking large volumes of data and bringing it back to human scale. Without serious IT power, even an everyday weather forecast—something we all take for granted—wouldn’t be possible. IT and business leaders should use this same managed approach to get their big data back down to business.
Right now, enterprise process automation is the way smart businesses cope with expansion and growing markets. It’s how leaders flip complexity around and transform high volume activity from a burden to a benefit. Enterprise process automation can help you get the most from big data, too. There’s no question that Redwood’s holistic approach is the right way for you to automate processes to make big sense—and big money—from your big data.
It’s been a few years now since “the Cloud” entered common speech among IT and business professionals. Since then, cloud computing has grown in every industry as a way for companies to easily access infrastructure, platforms and software applications over a network—particularly through the Internet. Cloud computing realises the dream of computation as a public utility that benefits everyone. Through cloud computing, Internet giants like Amazon provide agile, efficient service with virtually no interruptions—using a fraction of the resources required without cloud technology.
Clearly, cloud services have big benefits. Companies don’t have to worry about building additional infrastructure to support them. Applications and platforms delivered through the cloud are updated automatically and keep business moving forward. Cloud services can also be delivered on an “as needed” basis, too, aligning costs of operation with actual use.
Here at Redwood we’ve helped our customers automate cloud services and virtualised resources on a regular basis. We’ve helped customers automate processes that include cloud resources connecting applications, storage and platforms. But what would happen if we took the automation engine itself and offered it as a service delivered through the cloud?
That’s when RunMyJobs—the only process automation service delivered through the cloud—was born. Most cloud technologies base their benefits on availability (access anywhere, anytime) and the elimination of licensing fees or hardware expenses. Automation through the cloud offers all of this, too. However, RunMyJobs offers customers even more. It does something unique. As an automation service provided via the cloud, it enables customers to both apply and control process automation anywhere, anytime. This is a game-changer for cloud services and automation.
Now, companies can apply and control process automation easily and quickly throughout their enterprise (and even outside of the four walls of their traditional enterprise). Rather than just accessing applications, infrastructure or data, business and IT professionals can now build in automation that is easy to implement, change and expand. Since it’s provided as a service without having to install and maintain a large software footprint– just small, low impact agents–RunMyJobs makes process automation much simpler to manage and use.
According to a recent report by Forrester analyst James Staten, “The whole value of cloud computing is tied to areas of IT that can be standardized, automated, and shared among multiple constituents.” It’s obvious that automation itself is a great place to use the cloud for maximum value. Have a look at www.runmyjobs.com to find out more.
For years now I’ve read all about analysts’ predictions of IT and business goals “converging.” Respected industry leaders like Glenn O’Donnell of Forrester and Gartner’s Milind Govekar have repeatedly warned IT leaders that they can no longer function simply as a service bureau within a company. They’ve got to get on board with the other business leaders and behave strategically. The fact is that IT metrics alone are meaningless without showing how they affect customer experience and the bottom line. Any IT leader who ignores these simple facts does so at his or her peril.
As a significant contributor and cost center in the business, IT has been under intense scrutiny over the past decade (at least) to streamline, reduce costs and give the business the edge it needs to accomplish more—faster and with fewer resources. I’ve seen the transformation among our clients firsthand.
I would argue that “business and IT convergence” drives most IT projects I encounter these days. Whether its efforts to reduce complexity, standardize processes or simply improve processes so that they happen faster, more accurately or more transparently, companies everywhere are working to get the most from their IT investments and use IT to enable competitive advantage.
Our most successful customers understand that the first steps in enabling an agile and optimized enterprise are orchestration and automation.
Most companies start out with extremely heterogeneous IT environments that support isolated business units. Bits and pieces of software and disparate platforms support segregated processes. When processes need to be connected or compared, it takes manual effort, custom programming or other extreme measures to orchestrate activities. This is expensive and painful.
Similarly, automation often exists only in certain, isolated areas where IT supports a particular business process. Once that process is complete, it often takes manual effort once again to bring its results into the bigger picture.
When IT and business come together to streamline processes and align their goals, it can be like turning over a rock to see the creeping crawlers that have been living just out of sight. It can be a shock to see the countless inefficient and disconnected processes that bog down business and add to the cost of IT.
It becomes painfully apparent that—somehow—both business and IT leaders have to find a way to function without all of that manual intervention. After all, isn’t IT supposed to make things work faster and easier? How do you make that happen?
The answer lies in enterprise process automation. It’s a new way to look at automation from a logical, business perspective. With it you can start small—wherever it would have the greatest impact—and then build out automation in a connected way so that your IT and business goals are always aligned.
It’s in the news today. We’ve just uncovered research data that confirms what we’ve been hearing from our customers over the years: manually undertaking SAP system copy is time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient. In fact, enterprises that don’t automate this process could be losing up to $942,000 annually.
Of course system copy is a necessary process; SAP recommends that enterprises perform system copies to create test, demo and training systems. The process is also required for migration, disaster recovery, and when a company changes its operating system or database. But research shows that doing it manually is costly and inefficient.
The research, carried out by IZEN Marketing on behalf of Redwood Software, found that, based on an average employee’s daily working wage[i], most enterprises lose around $81,000 per year performing system copy manually[ii]. Organizations that invest particularly large amounts of human resources to the exercise could lose up to a staggering $942,000 annually.
The research reveals:
- 92 percent of respondents use at least five employees to run system copy manually, with some using 20 people or more to undertake this critical task
- 61 percent of those surveyed said it takes five days to run the process manually, and 35 percent said it takes even longer
- 56 percent of the companies surveyed run system copy quarterly, with a full 25 percent of the respondents only running the process once every six months
Now it’s time for the good news. Companies don’t have to pay so much or expend this much manual effort on system copy. Many have found a way to reduce it while keeping service quality high and risk low. They automate the system copy process from end-to-end. And we’ve shown them how.
To find out more about SAP system copy automation, check out this short video on our RunMyJobs SAP System Copy APP.
It always amazes me how often I come across customers who use powerful automation to complete many critical processes in their enterprise, but when they do; they overlook some of the most basic tasks that should be automated along with these processes.
Most people understand that when they rely on manual intervention for critical process tasks—like credit card processing or inventory adjustments—they open these core processes to the damaging effects of human error every time they run. These processes are also full of repetitive, boring steps that can take time and don’t add value if they’re done manually. When people apply automation to these processes, IT and business leaders see almost immediate benefit from more controlled, better and faster processes. That’s a real improvement.
Often, however, processes that involve backups, archiving and other IT housekeeping tasks aren’t integrated into this automation picture. As a result, many enterprises rely on a patchwork of different tools outside of what they consider to be their “core process automation” to do this vitally important work. These tasks are managed in a different silo. That’s because people tend to think of backups, archiving or other IT housekeeping work as separate from critical business processes. The fact is that it’s just not true.
Backups and archiving tasks—by definition—rely on the completion of a cycle or a time frame to begin. These “housekeeping” tasks are inextricably connected to the processes they support. They should only run at the right time or situation in relation to those processes. So why not make the backup, archiving or other standard procedures an integrated and automated part of the same process? That would be an even greater improvement.
Companies that integrate these tasks along with the processes they support can save enormous amounts of time because the backups or archiving processes don’t have to wait for a manual command to start. There’s no latency and, as with the other automated processes, they run more consistently and with fewer errors. If you make these tasks a part of a connected and automated whole process, they start whenever they should, take predetermined evasive action in the event of a problem, and alert the right people as needed—automatically.
It might be time to re-think how you automate. It’s easy to see that automating the big processes helps you handle complex, interdependent procedures that might otherwise be impossible to manage. But maybe you should look at your other everyday tasks too. Automating your daily IT housekeeping tasks—and integrating them with the processes they support—can add up to big benefits over the long haul and help protect your enterprise from errors and failures.