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What Does Automation Have to do with Workflow?

February 9, 2018

Part 1: A process management overview


Digital asset management is a discipline that is understood by many. However, the discipline of process management and automation may not be as broadly understood or considered in the DAM community. This can stem from the use of different nomenclature, taxonomy, variations in definitions, or even the belief that DAM solutions address all automated process management that is possible.

Extensis-Blog-Image-Workflow-Automation.psdFlowchart-300x171To provide more clarity, this overview will be the first part of a series of articles where we will break down each of the four stages of process management and automation into separate articles and deep dive into its business value.

The Four Stages of Process Management and Automation

  1. Process Awareness: This stage may seem less like a stage and more like a state. It’s when you understand the manual processes you have. This stage has a minimal ROI because it is strictly focused on understanding “what is,” how is it currently managed, then deciding if there is a problem.
  2. Manual Plus:Extensis-Blog-Image-Workflow-Automation.psdAutomation-101-300x171 This is a fancy way of saying you’ve figured out the steps in your workflow(s) and while it’s not perfect, you’ve got something from one or more systems to help with that process. This stage is still largely dependent on people taking actions, but usually there will be a notification or other assistance to help guide people along the process.
  3. Automation 101: Now you’re getting into the good stuff. Though some of the actions in your workflow may require manual intervention, you’ve also figured out how to improve and remove some manual steps. Most often this comes from improved process management in your system of origin and removal of some of the more repetitive and tedious steps from the process. This allows teams to focus on higher-value and more productive tasks. This also has a much higher ROI and (if lucky) can extend from one system to another via integrations.
  4. Automated and Interconnected:Extensis-Blog-Image-Workflow-Automation.psdFlowchart_2-300x171 At this stage, you have a clear understanding of all the steps in your process. You will likely have the majority of steps automated, except for a few manual steps, and often will use things such as scripts, APIs, and automated workflow suites. Your processes are not only working more efficiently, they are also working with more interconnectivity, transparency, consistency, and accuracy. (Just remember you’re not done, but we’ll get to that in a later article.)

Process Management and automation is a step-by-step process that we may not often see or be aware of, but should be identified in order to recognize bottlenecks and improve how work gets done.

Next, we’ll explore people as part of the process. Do the roles change and how can you evolve business around these changes to most effectively leverage your teams, their skills, and systems already in place?

See how your digital asset management system can reach the automated and interconnected stage. Learn more about automating your DAM.