One of the most important challenges for economic development is the automation of processes. It is also a pillar of the so-called Industrial Revolution 4.0 because it refers to the ability of a technological system to execute a series of tasks that are originally performed by human beings.
Transforming the industrial scene
Circumscribed to Information Technology (IT), process automation can be understood as a set of tools that allow controlling, correcting and visualizing the status of various tasks and workflows, in addition to generating specific reports of an entire process of production.
These characteristics have made process automation a great ally of companies, facilitating productivity. Its use allows the investment of human talent in activities where it is possible to explore it in its true dimension to obtain its highest performance, while identifying areas where there is a margin to reduce costs and improve the results of companies with solutions for automatized operation.
This mechanization also makes feedback possible. Therefore, the system regulates itself, by which the result of each process affects the whole of them, integrating and modifying it. Under certain pre-configured restrictions, and without human intervention, the system evaluates, compares and makes adjustments and corrections in real time.
It is also possible to program the automation of processes so that it runs at any given time in advance, depending on the result of previous processes or certain factors. This versatility allows planning future tasks, which is why it is a key element to improve the productivity and performance of a company.
Advantages of process automatization
Betting on process automation is an investment that generates several benefits
Higher competitivity – by mechanizing certain areas, operativity and reliability levels increase, giving an advantageous position in front of the competition.
Reduction of operational costs – increasing the speed and reliability of the implementation of tasks related to support and development.
Continuity of processes – allowing the operation of systems without interruption, which is considered a highly valuable factor for the IT and information system departments.
Better analysis – having the possibility to be supported by technology allows to see the different variables, check sensitive parameters and take better decisions.
Higher efficiency and productivity – by reducing the execution of manual command sequences which may be subject to human error.
Visibility and control – in any step of the work, offering reports of the state of the finished processes, those in operation as well as future processes.
Versatile implementation – by allowing activation whether physical or in the cloud, which increases the chances of process management and control.
Punctuality – in the delivery of work flows which can be planned and coordinated with higher effectivity.
Reduction of undesired incidents – by reducing unexpected episodes and fails in the productive chain.
Given the large number of benefits and advantages that automation offers, there are a series of tools that stand out as the best allies for companies, facilitating professional performance and work performance.
With them it is possible to automatize execution tasks, connect and coordinate applications, carry out tests of various types on a website, and measure and compare these results. We have selected five outstanding tools to automatize processes and we present them below with a description of their potentialities:
If you need to manage projects, WorkProject is a solution that allows you to automatically record the time you invest in each of them. This tool allows:
-register all activity carried out through a device (computer, tablet or mobile phone)
-filter this activity by department, employees and dates.
-immediately see the costs, margins and benefits of each of the projects.
-automatize a large amount of tasks related to the management of projects that may free a considerable workload to project directors and managers.
-has many other functionalities, like a system of rules to automatize a detailed registry of the activity, previsions, activity editor and Gantt chart.
-features a free trial version.
Thought to automatize any web or desktop application, UiPath is a RPA (Robotic Process Automation). It includes the following features:
-the possibility of designing, developing and controlling a complete robotic workforce that imitates workers.
-rules-based tasks administration, besides making workers free from the repetitive daily routine.
-management of changes and development, access control, modeling of processes, remote execution and programming, monitoring of executed tasks, auditing and analytics in full compliance of company security and governance good practices.
-a workflow based in the drag and drop functions, very friendly with the user and that requires a low level of knowledge of Internet for new scenarios.
-completely free platform.
Catalogued among the tools that lead the task automation market, Zapier is considered outstanding because of:
-has a central role, by being able to have more than 750 apps that can be integrated into it.
-is considered one of the most recommended ones, and one of the first options to have in mind when starting to automatize tasks and processes.
Launched in 2016 by the tech giant Microsoft, Flow is an answer to automation and connection web apps like Zapier. It allows to:
-integrate up to 83 different apps, but is still growing.
-if you already are an Outlook user, and you use frequently Microsoft’s product platform, Flow is a tool that can be considered a great option.
Selenium is one of the most popular open source software for automatizing processes. Within its main features we can find:
-it is used for various web apps and platforms like Windows, Mac and Linux.
-because it is a workspace for web automation tests, especially those with advanced abilities of programming and scripting, its scripts can be written in different programming languages such as Java, PHP, Python, C #, Groovy, Ruby and Perl.
-it has great flexibility and various levels of complexity.
-it serves as the base for other trial tools in general.
It is an open source library in Ruby. It is also a testing tool developed in C# to automatize testing in a web. Other qualities of Watir are as follows:
-compatibility with a wide variety of browsers, including Firefox, Opera, IE and headless browser.
-it also works with HTML y AJAX, and tools such as RSpec, Cucumber and Test/Unit.
Other aspects to consider
When it comes to defining a tool to automatize processes, the demands, needs and expectations are always high. Investment is also usually a sensitive topic, so it is advisable to gather as much information as possible, having clear objectives and the starting point in terms of human and technical resources.
It is therefore essential to be clear about the strategic evolution that the company is going to present in terms of infrastructure. Other very important aspects are the applications and the existing organization before choosing a specific solution for the interests of an organization.
The market has a vast diversity of solutions for implementing IT process automation. Therefore, another key is to have the appropriate advice to carry out a successful process in this matter.
An important tip in order to implement a tool of this type with the highest standards is to ensure that the chosen provider offers support and reliability in relation to the ability of the new system to integrate with the technology that is already installed in the company.
This requires a comprehensive information gathering exercise, which allows you to establish whether that new partner offers the necessary technology to migrate your data and workflows reliably, safely and accurately.
Finally, it is important to define if said solution offers the versatility and ability to adapt to the specific requirements of the company, as well as to the development and growth model projected for it in the medium and long term.