What is Workflow Orchestration? Why It’s Important

Workflow orchestration is a term that sounds complicated and highly technical.  But when you boil things down, it’s about systems that help with the configuration, management, and coordination of IT (Information Technology) environments.

Granted, this is quite broad and somewhat vague. Yet AI workflow orchestration is becoming a hot topic in tech circles.  If anything, the COVID-19 pandemic has made this a must-have for many organizations to deal with the challenges of spikes in volumes as well as the impact of remote workforces.

OK then, so what’s the difference between workflow automation and workflow orchestration?  Well, both concepts are similar.  But with automation, this is mostly about focusing on several tasks.  This is really the domain of systems like RPA (Robotic Process Automation).  Workflow orchestration, on the other hand, is more comprehensive.  The goal is to automate processes that scale.

Now as the pandemic has faded, there will probably be less urgency for this technology – and the vendors in the space will likely experience some deceleration in the growth ramp.  But despite this, the long-term looks particularly bright.  More importantly, for those companies that want to remain competitive, it will be important to continue to invest in workflow orchestration.

Let’s take at some of the key benefits of this technology:

DevOps:  IT departments are often siloed.  On the one hand, the development teams are focused on creating features and products quickly.  Then there are the operations teams – who handle networks, databases, middleware and other back-end systems – that focus on stability, reliability and security.  Because of this, there are ongoing conflicts and this results in suboptimal results.

DevOps has emerged as a method to address this.  A big part of it is to change the mindset and allow for more collaboration.  Another key is the leveraging of workflow orchestration tools, including AI workflow automation platforms.  That is, there is a need to identify the various opportunities to automate tedious and repetitive processes.  This will not only help improve the agility of IT but also free up more room for talented engineers to spend time on more serious matters.

Beyond Notifications:  Common tools for IT allow for the alerting of employees when there is a problem.  This is certainly valuable and can help avoid bigger issues, such as outages.

However, these systems can also result in a flood of alerts and many of these can be for trivial matters.  So a better approach is to automate this – and this is where workflow orchestration comes in.  A bot can remediate the problem without any human intervention.  When done at scale, this can lead to significant benefits for an IT organization.

True Return:  It’s unfortunate but many technologies fail to live up to their claims (hey, it’s almost become a cliché!).  This is due to a variety of factors like insufficient training, lack of customization, the ongoing maintenance costs, and the technical debt.

But with Workflow orchestration, the benefits can be significant.  It’s about essentially having a self-driving organization, resulting in much higher productivity, lower error rates and higher customer satisfaction.

Now to achieve this takes time and investment, say with the understanding of the processes and finding ways to optimize them.  But this is well worth it.

Conversational AI (Artificial Intelligence):  AI remains a major challenge, even for standout companies.  The technology is complex and requites high-quality datasets that are difficult to wrangle.

But with workflow orchestration, the path to AI success will be easier.  After all, a big part of AI is automating processes and leveraging data to find optimal approaches.

For example, a good first step is answering this question:  What is conversational AI?

A conversational AI platform leverages systems to use human-like interfaces for communication.  The result is that there can be much faster resolutions of employee and customer requests.  There will also be the building up of a knowledge base that will help to provide ongoing improvement.

Broader Automation:  Once Workflow orchestration takes root in IT and begins to show strong ROI, this will get noticed at the executive ranks.  There will definitely be a look at how to apply these technologies and approaches to other areas of the organization.  There will emerge the proverbial fly-wheel effect as workflow orchestration will have an organization-wide impact.

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