Decision Automation

Decision Automation Streamlines Business Processes and Reduces Errors

 

decision automation illustration

What Is Decision Automation?

Decision Automation (DA): Using business rules and data to make decisions in a process without the need for human intervention. Considered part of a Decision Support System (DSS).


What Are Some Practical Uses for Decision Automation?

While we all make critical decisions every day based on our experience, education, training, and critical thinking, there are many decisions that we make based on some fairly simple rules. For instance:

  • If the amount is greater than $50,000, then it needs to be approved directly by the CIO.
  • If the product type is the X Model then it needs to be fulfilled by the Hartford distribution center.
  • If the lead is based in North Dakota then it needs to be worked by Frank.
  • If the request is marked as urgent then it needs to skip to step 8.

In some organizations, these decisions are made manually, by a human being, as part of the process or workflow. Naturally, there are some issues with this approach.

  • Mistakes can be made.
  • Decisions typically take longer.
  • If the person is unavailable, the process is delayed.
  • Less time is available for more valuable work like strategy.
  • It's harder to make changes to the process (old habits, training, etc.).
  • Employees can suffer from "decision fatigue."

Implementing Automated Decision-Making

The examples from the above "Practical Uses" section are taken from real-life use cases we've seen implemented by our customers. 

During the planning and implementation process, decision points and process hand-offs are identified and discussed. Is this a repeatable, predictable decision that has a low number (or no) exceptions? If there are exceptions, are they simple enough to simply be part of the rule? If the answer is "Yes" there is a strong likelihood that the decision can be automated. 

This means a business rule must be created. Let's look at the example, "If the amount is greater than $50,000, then it needs to be approved directly by the CIO." And create a business rule that will automatically route a funding request for over $50,000 to the CIO for approval.

Example: Decision Automation for a Capital Expenditure Request

We've created a CapEx Approval process with all the required steps and approvals. Once the CapEx Request is approved by Finance, we add a decision point called "CFO Aproval." Then we create a new rule that checks if the amount submitted in the request form was more than $50,000. The logic is:

  1. If the Finance Approval step is completed.
  2. AND Finance Approved it (they can also deny it)
  3. AND Amount Requested is Greater Than or Equal to 50000
    THEN the CFO Approval task is initiated.

decision rules and business rules
Example of decision automation rules being employed.

Now there can be no uncertainty when a request is submitted because the business rules automatically route large requests to the appropriate resource. That resource (in this case the CFO) can use their knowledge and analytical tools to determine if the request should be granted. In this case, there is now both an automated and human element to the process needed.


Interested in using Workflow Automation to Automate Decisionmaking?

We have a variety of resources to help you on your journey to an automated workflow. 

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