Process Automation: from Waste to Wisdom

Process Automation: from Waste to Wisdom

What AP Automation and Adelie Penguins Have in Common

This blog is dedicated to Antarctic penguins and accounts payable processes. They happen to have a lot in common. Hear me out.

When it comes to process automation in the back office, companies typically come to a crossroads, where they are forced to decide whether to add another employee to help handle dull, repetitive and time-consuming tasks like sorting through emails, scanning documents and entering data so the company can pay vendors or process customer orders.

By applying technology to these waste-ful tasks, companies gain benefits far beyond cost savings and efficiency. Looking at the big picture, the greatest value to most organizations from vendor invoice or sales order information is greater knowledge and visibility to the financial health of their organization and a better ability to understand trends.

When it comes to AP, quickly digitizing paper invoices and handing inbound digital invoices so that they enter the ERP system or payables system faster leads to more timely visibility to general ledger accruals. As a result, companies are better able to manage their cash flow. This also allows them to make better, more informed decisions about whether to pay a supplier early, in exchange for a discount.

From the sales order perspective, digitizing and transforming sales order line items in purchasing data efficiently, by off-loading those tasks to intelligent process automation tools, leads to timely insights about buyer behavior, including broad market trends as well as seasonal fluctuations.

Which Brings Us to the Penguins.

Recently, scientists discovered a massive, otherwise unknown colony of Adelie penguins in the Antarctic by relying on geosatellite imagery. The colony of 1.5 million penguins lived on the Danger Islands—a name that makes you assume that you’d be as likely to find giant apes or dinosaurs there.

A find of this magnitude is more than just a curiosity to scientists. Penguins are a bellwether species, meaning that a drop in penguin populations can be the metaphorical canary in a coalmine for an ecosystem


So, how did these satellites FIND the penguins? They aren’t sophisticated or precise enough to have spotted the penguins themselves. Instead, they spotted the presence of stains on the ice left by their excrement, which appears pinkish red thank to their preferred diet of shrimp (which maybe makes living there seem a bit more cozy).

If you Haven’t Made the Connection Yet, It’s Time for a Spoiler Alert.

Like satellites applied to finding penguins, process automation technology transforms the sh*t work within any company into data, insight and knowledge that has an impact on the health of the entire organization.

Our advice to clients is to stop living in the ice age of business processes and unlock the true potential of your workers and the knowledge frozen inside your business documents.

Because (wait for it) manual data entry is for the birds.

To learn more about how your company can leverage intelligent process automation to lower costs, boost productivity and achieve greater process control, contact your Artsy account executive at


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