Process management is a major focus of business executives everywhere. These leaders are constantly looking to improve efficiency in order to cut costs, or stretch the company’s dollar further.
Historically, this has been done by analyzing workflows and using tools like swim lanes, all while conducting meetings and outline process models like waterfall and agile. Ironically, improving business processes takes a significant amount of time, but if executed correctly, pays off in the long term. However, in the modern business environment, artificial intelligence and machine learning have drastically changed the process management landscape.
Machine learning is one of the largest areas of investment for businesses, and is predicted to become a $100 billion industry by 2025. But what is the craze really all about? Once again, efficiency is at the heart of the rush into machine learning. This type of technology has the capability to streamline business processes by reducing lag time and eliminating redundant touch points all together.
For example, image an internal billing process that takes a few days to complete because it involves the sales, accounting, and finances teams. This could be because the human actors at each touchpoint need time to enter data, communicate with the other actors in the process, and ensure that each step is checked for quality.
Now image this same process is run by a program that uses machine learning to automatically identify different data criteria and communicate with other programs in the systems at speeds humans are incapable of matching. Let alone the fact that these programs can work overnight and during weekends as humans take time off from work.
Machine learning has the potential to revolutionize business processes and streamline performance across several different operational functions. For example, the Harvard Business Review believes that these areas will be impacted the most:
- Personalizing Customer Service
- Improving Customer Retention
- Hiring Quality Candidates
- Automating Finance
- Measuring Brand Exposure
- Detecting Fraud
- Predictive Maintenance
- Streamline Supply Chains
These functions are only a fragment of what machine learning and artificial intelligence can improve. As these systems evolve, professionals will also evolve from managing processes to managing these systems.