Process Orchestration, Automation Challenges Persist Despite Adoption

To overcome the challenges of achieving true process automation, IT decision-makers are turning to process orchestration to coordinate moving endpoints.

Nathan Eddy

January 20, 2023

4 Min Read
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Organizations continue to face challenges with digital transformation, with more than three in five decision-makers describing digital transformation as being difficult to achieve, with integration issues being a top roadblock.

These were the results of a Camunda survey of 755 global IT decision-makers, which found as organizations look to automate more tasks, multiple factors have made it more difficult to achieve true end-to-end process automation.

The top reasons for process automation complexity include the need to span multiple systems, challenges in dealing with human logic, and the difficulty connecting to legacy systems.

Four in five IT decision-makers/business leaders (79%) say the time it takes to design and agree upon process changes is a bottleneck at their organization, while almost three-quarters (73%) say much of their process design is locked behind proprietary languages and/or tooling.

Orchestration brings together both automated and manual processes within an organization, connecting the automated and human tasks together, tracking progress across the process instance, keeping the tempo, and enabling open communication between the players.

While automation sets processes in motion, process orchestration is the strategy that coordinates its actions.

Related:IT Automation vs. Orchestration: What’s the Difference?

Without orchestration, it is vastly more difficult to automate beyond the task level, which is why orchestration and automation solutions need to be concurrently developed.

Overall, 72% of the survey respondents say that real-world, mission-critical processes are

becoming more complex to maintain. As more tasks become automated to meet customer experience demands, 69% say it is harder to visualize end-to-end processes.

Meanwhile, almost two-thirds of ITDM/business leaders say they feel automation

initiatives cannot keep pace with the rate of change in today's organizations.

Process Orchestration Adoption Grows

Of the decision-makers surveyed, 81% say they know what process orchestration is, and when provided with a definition of it, nine in 10 say their organization is practicing process orchestration.

"Despite the convoluted categories that make up the process automation market, we were glad to see that respondents had clarity on what process orchestration is and what benefits they can gain from it," said Daniel Levy, vice president of product marketing for Camunda.

As organizations look to automate processes from end to end, several factors make that more difficult to achieve, he said.

These challenges include:

  • integration of multiple systems

  • complex and long-running processes

  • lack of skilled labor

  • disconnected communication between IT and business

  • lack of visibility into business processes

  • fear of change

"Two clear challenges stem from endpoint diversity and process complexity," Levy said. "In order to execute a process, you need to coordinate the processing of individual tasks."

These tasks are executed by endpoints, which can be people, software systems, or physical devices.

The survey found that on average, respondents connect 5.7 different endpoints in a typical process.

"Each endpoint is an opportunity where a process might break," Levy cautioned.

Additionally, as processes become more complex, they make it more difficult to align stakeholders and scale processes.

"Every miscommunication introduces the risk that the wrong thing is built and rolled out to customers," he added. "This is driving demand for process orchestration solutions."

Building an Automation Strategy

To develop an automation strategy, businesses must bring together stakeholders from across an organization to ensure automation strategies are successfully implemented.

"Stakeholders should represent executive leadership, IT, software development, and relevant lines of business," Levy noted.

Related:IT Leaders Expand Automation Efforts to Optimize Business Processes

He added that often these stakeholders can work together through a "center of excellence," where best practices are established for the organization, helping ensure that integration and tech stack decisions are holistic.

Process automation is essential to improving business operations and customer experiences, Levy said, noting that 96% of respondents believe that process automation is critical to achieving their digital transformation goals.

On top of this, 95% are seeing increased business productivity due to process automation over the past year, and 93% are seeing increased business growth due to process automation.

"End-to-end process orchestration matters because it serves as the heart of the automation fabric within an organization," Levy said. "It gives the organization the ability to orchestrate across people, systems, and devices."

Rather than rely on monolithic legacy automation platforms, organizations can integrate any technology.

"Without orchestration tools to manage processes, automation initiatives cannot keep pace with the rate of change in today's organizations," he said.

About the Author(s)

Nathan Eddy

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for ITProToday and covers various IT trends and topics across wide variety of industries. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, he is also a documentary filmmaker specializing in architecture and urban planning. He currently lives in Berlin, Germany.

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