While the promise of rules-driven systems that rely on computer intelligence to manage data, documents and decisions every step of the way has been with us for more than two decades, early forays into business process automation hit a wall when it came to handling exceptions to the rules. This has been particularly true for systems that attempt to automate case management, where well- defined rule sets to handle things like managing payments, bidding on contracts, processing loan applications or organizing and managing legal matters, often ran afoul of a corollary to Murphy’s Law; for every rule, there is an exception.
Managing Cases and Herding Cats
The challenge of exception handling still presents one of the biggest obstacles to automating most business processes. According to a 2014 AIIM Survey on Case Management and Smart Process Applications, a majority of respondents said that half or more of their business processes were not straightforward or predictable. Sixty two percent of those surveyed said that most of those processes involved assembling a case folder, claim file, project folder, proposal, etc.
The solution to the problem of business processes that won’t conform to a standard rule set has been a new generation of self-learning systems that use computer intelligence to identify and adapt to exceptions. These so-called Smart Process Applications are able to apply context to the content associated with a business process to determine how to select, modify or re-direct the next steps in an automated workflow and, when needed, to learn how to handle exceptions based on input/feedback from a human operator as part of the process.
NFlexibility and Adaptability are Key
AIIM’s 2014 Study of case management and smart process applications distills the experiences of early adopters of case management systems to identify the requirements for automating business processes in the real world.
Survey respondents identified the following requirements as critical to success:
To learn more about how Smart Process Technology can help your organization to intelligently automate business process in a way that adapts to exceptions and changing business conditions, contact Artsyl Technologies and request a demonstration of the docAlpha Smart Process Platform.
docAlpha is designed to intelligently extract actionable information from scanned paper and electronic documents, applying that information to defined business rules and allowing human operators to easily identify exceptions and train the system to adapt accordingly.