Misconceptions and misinformation can be damaging. Believing something about a technology tool that isn’t accurate can have significant impacts on your business. This concept is associated with Digital Process Automation (DPA).
Misconceptions and misinformation can be damaging. Believing something about a technology tool that isn’t accurate can have significant impacts on your business.
This concept is associated with Digital Process Automation (DPA). If you don’t know about DPA, you could be overlooking a valuable asset that can simplify workflows and enhance customer service. Worse, suppose you believe a few fundamental misconceptions about DPA, its use, and the value it can provide. In that case, you could be missing out on a great set of tools that can streamline your manufacturing business and build stronger connections with your customers.
DPA can help in many key areas within a manufacturer’s business, from accelerating the cash-to-cash process to improving employee productivity to enhancing customer experiences. Getting clear on what DPA can do will help you pinpoint the proper use cases within your business.
4 Misconceptions About DPA
DPA is laser-focused on improving processes so that the customer experience is better, faster, easier, and more streamlined. In other words, all of the outcomes you want for your customer.
Not understanding DPA’s purpose and impact can lead to misunderstanding it and its value. Of course, other, more specific misconceptions might give you pause as well. Here are four of the most common.
Misconception 1: It requires a “Big Bang” implementation to be effective
There is this idea within some organizations that implementing DPA is a vast, complex, and lengthy process. Those organizations believe that to see value from DPA, it will need to be tackled as one large project, taking months or even years to complete. Things like digital manufacturing enhancements, DevOps, new application development, and so forth will need to be sidelined while discovery, documentation, proofs-of-concept, and implementation occurs.
It’s easy to understand why a manufacturer would be hesitant to take on a DPA project if that’s what they thought. But nothing could be further from the truth.
DPA isn’t meant to replace an end-to-end process and is generally built on low-code platforms. It’s possible to insert DPA into just one part of one process to start. For instance, if your team already uses Salesforce, you could replace the manual process of an email confirmation for sales of field service appointments with a triggered message. That message could include a link to reschedule, an email, and a phone number to reach the business if there is a problem.
It seems like a small thing. But that single email can deliver a measurable improvement to the customer experience: the customer is reminded of the appointment, aware you haven’t forgotten their needs, and know who to contact if there is a problem. There is no need for a salesperson, dispatcher, or admin to remember to send out a message on the business side. Sales team members won’t find themselves standing outside of an executive’s office, only to hear they are out for the day. And no one will be fielding angry calls from customers who wrote down the appointment incorrectly.
It’s a single, small automation with a potentially significant impact. The success of that one project can help build momentum within the organization to keep going.
Misconception 2: It will replace all human interactions within a process
When you think about DPA or talk about it in your organization, do you get pushback that resembles these statements:
If that’s the case, then your organization falls squarely into this misconception category and you have a significant inform and educate challenge.
DPA isn’t meant to replace humans in a process. Instead, it is intended to improve customer experience and increasing satisfaction by removing bottlenecks, delays, and inefficiencies that human roles and interactions may cause.
Processing a purchase order can be a complex process for a manufacturing company. The order comes in through email or fax. Then a human enters it into the ERP. The purchase order is sent along to billing, who holds on to it until they are alerted that the order has been fulfilled. At the same time, multiple other departments get involved - inventory is validated, the manufacturing floor passes the products from one station to another, accounting is alerted that the salesperson gets a commission on their next check, and so on.
Some of those process steps require the heuristic decision-making of a human. Many, however, do not. If the person receiving and entering the PO into the back-end systems is out sick or buried in work, the order may be delayed, pushing out when the customer will receive their items (and when the company will get paid). Using DPA to transform that single step into an automated one allows the humans to remain involved while streamlining a critical - but unnecessarily manual - part of the process.
Misconception 3: DPA and RPA are the same things
It can be challenging to wrap your head around all of the different automation technologies and what they do. It can feel confusing because there are just multiple names for the same thing.
In reality, DPA and RPA are related but serve different purposes and accomplish their goals in different ways.
As we’ve mentioned, DPA is meant to increase the efficiency of processes that impact the customer experience. This could be by pulling information from Salesforce into an order form or increasing customer satisfaction by texting them the name and picture of the field tech on the way to complete their maintenance.
RPA, on the other hand, uses small programs called “bots” to perform repetitive tasks. These can be email triggers, data manipulation and transformation, data replication, calculations, and so on.
DPA streamlines and accelerates processes to improve the customer experience. RPA replicates rules-based human interactions with technology at volume to increase the efficiency and speed of a process.
Misconception 4: You need to have a digital transformation initiative in place for DPA
Believe it or not, you probably already have the tools in-house to set up your first digital process automation.
Many manufacturers already use a CRM like Salesforce to keep track of sales, marketing communications, customer information, and so forth. The Salesforce Platform includes easy-to-use tools, like App Builder, to create automations.
For instance, let’s say a lead comes in from your website and is injected into the Salesforce database. Using a rule set developed within Salesforce, that lead could be sent to a salesperson within the platform based on any number of criteria - round-robin, region, company size and revenue, and so on. Instead of the customer waiting for a sales manager to review and assign the lead, the salesperson could already be on the phone setting up the appointment.
This isn’t to say that digital transformation has no place in enhancing DPA. As organizations become more interconnected, it becomes easier to implement the digital process automations that will take your business and your customer’s experiences to the next level.
It’s hard to know what you don’t know. However, believing the wrong thing about a technology like DPA can hurt your business. Moving past these misconceptions will allow you to embrace digital process automation and incorporate it as an element in the various business processes within your manufacturing organization.
The best way to get started is to talk to someone with a deep understanding of how DPA can help you. At Six Consulting, we’ve helped enterprises and organizations implement and integrate tools like Salesforce and others to create a competitive advantage and provide new opportunities for you to delight your customers. From discovery and design to development and deployment, our experts can help you uncover your most efficient business yet.
“It’s a single, small automation with a potentially significant impact. The success of that one project can help build momentum within the organization to keep going.”
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