Business processes vs. automated activities

We’re thrilled to welcome Mike Fitzmaurice, Chief Evangelist for WEBCON, to Episode 53 of the Microsoft 365 Voice. The focus of this episode is the difference between automations and business processes.

In simple terms, an automation is a ‘widget’ or task you optimize (e.g. building a macro or automating an email to be sent automatically by Salesforce). A business process is broader and deeper with a formally scoped business need and a series of automated steps that connect to form a complete cycle. Business processes are formally managed, supported, and adapted over time to meet emergent business needs.

Here’s a few of the topics discussed in this episode:

  • Supportability is key. A spelling error shouldn’t break a business process. Nor should your business processes require reverse engineering to determine WHAT the process is doing and WHY it is doing it. Processes should be built to withstand or prevent errors, should be fully documented, and should be supportable over time.
  • Processes need to be managed. New employees need to be educated on your business processes so they can do their jobs effectively. Evolving goals and customer needs need to be accounted for. If your business processes don’t evolve, they will become less effective over time.
  • Automate what you can, but don’t forget to turn widgets into formal business processes. End-users can drive improvements by automating individual tasks. But make sure you’re evaluating the need for larger business processes that can drive deeper value to your organization.
  • Business processes ensure accuracy. If you have a series of steps that must be performed correctly 99.9% of the time, you need a formal business process that is measurable, managed, supported, and adapted to changing needs.

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