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One of the greatest challenges facing companies today is the ability to manage business processes end-to-end. Processes today must be able to change rapidly to accommodate customer interests, environmental concerns, and expanding global commerce opportunities.

Even the definition of "end-to-end" is changing. In the recent past it meant from the manufacturing floor to the retail shelf; today it can extend from concept design through a customer's purchase and support cycle. Going forward, competitive businesses must know the performance of their existing processes and have the flexibility to rapidly tune them to adapt to changing market conditions.

Intelligent Process Automation

Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) is the convergence of business intelligence (BI) and business process automation (BPA) deployment software according to IDC research. It is an evolutionary step in process automation that includes event monitoring, exception-based processing and decision-oriented predictive BI.

Successfully implementing IPA across a single enterprise is challenging enough. This article explores the challenges and requirements for implementing Intelligent Process Automation across the Supply Chain.

The need for Intelligent Process Automation

Most enterprises today are a collection of vertical systems and silo organizations that don't support company-wide process execution, let alone automation of such processes.

There are many "enterprise" systems spread across organizations today, including:

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems
  • Manufacturing Systems
  • Inventory Systems
  • Financial Systems
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)
  • Transportation Management Systems (TMS)
  • Merchandise Management Systems (MMS)
  • Workforce Management Systems (WFM)
  • Retail Store Operations (RSO)
  • Point of Sale (POS) Systems
  • Learning Management Systems (LMS)
  • Execution Management (EM) systems

Problem: Critical enterprise processes that span multiple enterprise systems are predominately manual executed today.


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