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Process Latency: Some Friday Humor

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Like many of you, I am sure, I am fan of xkcd. After all, any site that is both humorous and has a wiki to explain WHY it’s humorous (explainxkcd.com) must be good. A recent one struck a chord:

We do a lot of work with companies that have been investing heavily in digitizing their business processes and so the humor behind this one – that much process latency can be explained by one particular task – really resonated!

However, in our experience, the issue is no longer that someone has to copy and paste data from one thing into another thing – this has largely been solved with tools like RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and the prevalence of decent APIs and business process management (BPM) suites. Where latency comes from NOW is mostly decision-making.

A process spends, to riff on the xkcd cartoon, 800ms on a bunch of automated steps to assemble data, then spends many minutes (or hours or days) waiting while a human is asked to make a choice or a decision using that data, and then spends another 200ms pushing the outcome of that decision into several downstream systems.

The moral of this is that you should invest some time thinking about how to automate those decisions, not just wrap automation around those decisions. A digital process or system using digital data is a great foundation. A digital process that can use a digital decision is likely to be must more effective, more efficient and faster one.

We’ve helped dozens of companies automate thousands of decisions to eliminate the latency in their processes. We could help you too! Get in touch.

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