Creating the Data Ecosystem for Your Transition to an AI World

When Alan Turing was developing the Turing Test for determining machine intelligence—what we today refer to as Artificial Intelligence (AI)—he first posed the question, “Can machines think?” At the time, this seemed preposterous, but technology advances in recent years now have us asking a similar question: “Can machines learn?” The answer is “yes,” as long as we supply them with enough of the right kind of data.

Click here to read the whitepaper, Creating the Data Ecosystem for Your Transition to an AI World

This ability to learn is a specific, data-oriented form of AI that has the power to dramatically increase productivity and streamline business processes. Companies are increasingly looking to AI and specifically machine learning (ML) as a way to improve their businesses. While many of these applications are still in the early developmental phases, companies must prepare now in order to successfully implement AI and ML in the future and take full advantage of the power of this technology. Specifically, organisations need to establish the data ecosystems today that will become the foundation of ML applications, training models and business process development in the future.

Machine learning analyses data flow in the enterprise. Anticipating this eventual capability, the most critical issue is how companies prepare the data that will be used as the basis for machine learning. Data scrubbing and formatting is one of the greatest challenges in implementing AI so companies should adopt clean data format methods now.

To address this challenge, IT and the lines of business need to organise around a specific business problem they are trying to solve. Defining that specific problem creates a direct correlation between the input, its format and shape, and ultimately the decision output. Therefore, understanding the outcome and the kinds of decisions that need to be made will determine which data sets you use and how you need to scrub, transform or clean them.

Looking ahead into 2018 and the next few years, there are three steps companies looking to power their process optimisation efforts with AI must take:

  1. Look for “low-hanging fruit” opportunities where AI can make a difference and good, clean data is readily accessible.
  2. Build a solid technical infrastructure and invest in developing the digital assets for collecting and organising the data needed for AI and machine learning.
  3. Invest in a common platform that allows IT and the lines of business to collect and clean the data that will be used to build the training models for machine learning.

A comprehensive process automation platform can help businesses address all three of these steps and businesses who use one to make sure they are ready for AI- and ML-enabled applications often fall into one of three categories – each with its unique challenges:

  • New user with existing LOB data
  • New user with no existing LOB data
  • User with an existing platform and an existing data repository

Want to determine where on the spectrum your company falls and how to make sure you are best poised to transform business process management with emerging technologies?

Read the white paper, Creating the Data Ecosystem for Your Transition to an AI World

Incorporating digital signatures into Business Process Applications

Electronic Signatures, or eSignatures, are increasingly being adopted by businesses worldwide in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, streamline business processes, improve security and record-keeping and reduce costs. eSignatures are recognised under Australian law as legally equivalent to a wet signature, and can be used to sign almost any document 1.

What exactly is an eSignature?

A simple definition is that it is a signature used on an electronic document or transmission which is recognised legally has having the same effect as a handwritten signature. Importantly the eSignature must identify the person who is signing the document and indicate that they approve of the content of the electronic document signed 2.

The most obvious benefit of using eSignatures is that there is no need to print a document out, add a wet signature, scan and return the signed document. This of course saves time, money and paper. There are other benefits, such as compliance, auditing, tracking and security that eSignatures offer. eSignatures can be used in any business scenario where one or more signatures are required on a document. Some typical use cases include 3:

  • HR documents such as employment contracts and employee onboarding
  • Commercial agreements, such as non-disclosure agreements and sales agreements
  • Real estate documents such as lease agreements and purchase and sales contracts

eSignatures are a natural fit for many K2 applications, such as an employee onboarding process. How good would it be to manage your onboarding with a K2 workflow that generates an employment contract document, sends it to your new recruit for electronic signature, waits until it is signed, and then notifies you and carries on with the rest of the process (e.g. creating IT accounts, etc)?

So how can you start using eSignatures in your business with K2?

Firstly, you will need to select an eSignature provider and create an account. Two of the leading Electronic Signature technologies in the market are DocuSign and Adobe Sign, but a quick google search will reveal many others to choose from. Each of the providers offers different features, but at their core, they all offer the ability for you to send documents to one or more recipients, have them electronically sign the documents, and then have that signed document returned to you. Most providers will automatically archive the signed documents so you can retrieve them later, and provide you with audit trails so you can see what has happened to your document. Some other features to look for are the ability to embed documents in your own web forms (e.g. K2 smartforms) for signing.

Once you have selected a provider, you will need to integrate it with K2. This can be as simple as turning on a feature in K2 Management (e.g. DocuSign) or it might involve some more complex work integrating with the providers API (look for more info on how to do this in a later blog).

So, you have chosen a provider, and integrated with K2, how can you now incorporate eSignatures into your K2 solutions?

The basic process for obtaining eSignatures for document/s is:

  1. Select one or more documents to sign. These documents can come from your Document Management System, local file system or the cloud
  2. Select one or more recipients to sign the document/s
  3. Send the document/s to be signed
  4. Wait for the document/s to be signed
  5. Receive and store the signed document
  6. Continue with your business process

Using K2 workflows, SmartObjects and SmartForms you can build solutions that incorporate this document signing process in conjunction with your business process, such as employee onboarding.

Let’s have a look at a couple of simple demos using DocuSign.

The first demo will allow you to select a document, enter one or more recipients, and then send the document out for signing. Signers will get an email with a link to sign the document. The link will open the document for signing using the DocuSign website. Once the document is signed by all recipients an email will be sent to the originator with the signed document.

 

 

 

The second demo will show how the recipients can be allocated a task from a K2 workflow, rather than sent an email by the eSignature provider, and directed to a K2 smartform to sign the document (by embedding the document in the form) and complete the task.

 

eSignatures and K2 offer the opportunity to make your business processes faster, compliant and more seamless for your end users – not to mention reducing the amount of paper you use! Give some thought to how you could use eSignatures and K2 to improve your business processes.

Andrew Blinco – Technical Evangelist, K2

AI in the Workplace

AI Is Everywhere, Even in the Workplace

Today the phrase Artificial Intelligence (AI) still conjures up images of robots that look and talk like humans and the notion of using an optical scanner to start your car instead of a key or button. In reality, AI is a technology we all interact with at some level every single day.

View this infographic to see how businesses like yours use AI to help make critical decisions and solve problems.

Prepare Today to Transform Your Business Processes with Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is often considered to be the future of computing and possibly the greatest driver of innovation in the next decade. Already it is showing up in autonomous vehicles, voice-controlled digital assistants and devices with facial recognition. But this is only the beginning. AI’s power to support human knowledge and ingenuity and change our perception of business challenges is game-changing when we look at how it can be applied to processes throughout an organization.

In many ways, AI is a natural partner for business process management efforts. AI can help automate routine tasks, improve user interfaces and analyze huge amounts of data. McKinsey & Company estimates that AI can automate as much as 45 percent or more of any particular job – allowing workers to focus on higher level, mission-critical activities.

Let’s look at two examples already in use. AI-driven natural language interfaces make interacting with applications easier and speed up many of the individual steps within a process just by understanding the words spoken and the context of the request. For example, natural language processing can allow doctors to dictate clinical notes into a device, which then automatically populates appropriate forms, lab orders, and prescriptions. Or it can summarise long blocks of text from medical journal articles or studies by identifying key concepts and phrases.

Machine learning, a component of AI, analyses and identifies patterns within vast amounts of data by iterating through the data to identify relationships between data and the resulting decisions made from the data. With each iteration, the system acquires a deeper understanding of why decisions within an organisation are made and apply statistical analysis to develop rules around these decisions. In the case of a complex area of business activity, supply chain management, machine learning can do things like predicting when stock will run out or recommend which products are at a surplus and automatically reduce their price to clear inventory.

As you can see, AI is starting to play a significant role in process automation and optimisation efforts. More importantly, as the adoption of AI technologies become even more widespread, they will become easier to implement and have more applications within business process management.

Looking to determine where on the spectrum your company falls and how to make sure you are best poised to transform business process management with emerging technologies? Read the white paper, Prepare Today to Transform Your Business Processes with Artificial Intelligence.

KOOS DU PREEZ, CHIEF TECHNICAL OFFICER

The Forrester Wave™: Digital Process Automation Software, Q3 2017*.

We’re pleased and proud to share that K2 has been positioned as a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave™: Digital Process Automation Software, Q3 2017*.

At K2, we are relentlessly focused on our mission to enable every organisation to automate the processes that move work between people, systems and machines, and we believe that our relentless focus on this vision is what helped us get this result.

The K2 process automation platform provides customers the ability to build enterprise-ready apps and scale those apps, or the number of apps needed, to automate processes across organisations. Thousands of companies around the world have been using the K2 platform to build hundreds of thousands of applications, from loan origination for banking to employee onboarding and expense management, and many more. We are only getting started, and with our continual technological advancements, we will be supporting our customers in their growth journey with K2.

It should be no surprise that we fundamentally believe in the power of process automation to transform businesses. And it is the disruption of transformation that so many businesses are trying to navigate today. We’re entering a new era in digital transformation. An era in which process automation is accelerating to enable the ability for a business to react quickly and get to market with solutions faster than ever before. The speed of the consumer is making this more critical than ever, as the slower a business moves the faster customers leave for new solutions. In research conducted by Harvard Business Review, respondents don’t just see disruption as likely – they believe it is imminent. 28-percent of respondents said their industry has already passed the digital inflection point, while another 56-percent said they expect it to happen by 2020. In addition, 47-percent of respondents believe their traditional business model will be obsolete by 2020. But, that doesn’t mean you should fear as 86-percent view digital disruption more as an opportunity than as a threat to their business.

These are fascinating statistics as it’s clear that business transformation is reaching a fever pitch and the majority of businesses are recognizing the need to utilize more technology to offer more services, get to market faster and operate more efficiently. In many cases, a foundational pillar of these strategies is focused on automation, particularly the automation of business processes across an organization.

But, getting there isn’t easy. IT departments are strained with limited resources and application backlogs are only growing. If this sounds familiar, you may be wondering how in the world you’ll find the time to automate your business while also looking after all the demand the business is putting on IT in the first place. That’s where the beauty of a platform comes in, which enables you to build both deep mission-critical applications and the ability to build and deploy many applications quickly. Precisely what we believe a process automation platform should enable you to do, if it has all the necessary elements.

A process automation platform has several interconnected components and features that define its usability and feasibility. These attributes impact accessibility to people, data and the ability to work effectively. These attributes include:

  • Integration: Connecting people, systems and devices in real-time and continually extending to support new third-party data connectors to avoid being locked into an ecosystem. Visually configurable connectors to industry leading solutions or rich service API connectors and SDKs to connect to virtually anything (IoT and RPA).
  • Forms: Robust, intuitive, reusable and flexible user experience for collecting and integrating information into your automated processes or to be used for data and trend analysis on any device, wherever they may be, even on third-party hosted solutions.
  • Workflows: That can be designed by developers and Citizen developers alike to easily automate legacy as well as next gen processes (RPA, IoT, AI integrated) that are agile, intuitive and comprehensive.
  • Mobile: Empower and support a mobile workforce by enabling action-on-the-go, online or offline on any devices in a secure manner.
  • Pre-built Apps: Templates and commonly used applications that incorporate all the key elements of a process (Forms, Workflows and data integration) and yet, can be customizable for specific business needs.
  • Deployment: A choice of rapidly building business process apps in the cloud or on-premises.
  • Security & Governance: Robust management portal, role-based access controls for all assets and applications, with priority to industry standard compliance and security.
  • Analytics: Data-driven decisions enabled with out-of-the-box process reports as well as integration into third-party reporting tools such as Microsoft Power BI or Tableau.

The combination of all these attributes form the key differentials of the K2 platform that enables you to build and collaborate on a single, complex application, and then rapidly scale across all enterprise processes. This makes it possible for process automation to not only happen within your business, but to scale across an organisation without the need of more technical resources. It’s happening today as K2 has been found to reduce application development time by 78% with ROIs of over 466%. That’s massive time savings and incredible business benefits as a result.

We also believe that all of these ingredients helped us receive the highest scores possible in the Forrester Wave in the following criteria: Smart forms and user experience, Process and Flow Design; Low-code/No-code, Mobile Engagement, API Support, Data Virtualization, Analytics, Integrations, Guiderails and Governance, Lifecycle Management, Enterprise Scalability, Digital Workplace, Ease of implementation, and Geographic presence. And while we’re very proud of that, our work is not done. We fundamentally believe that as a company we’re only just getting started and there is much more we will enable in terms of technological advancements of our platform.

We have many exciting updates coming this year, please stay tuned to our blog and our website as you won’t want to miss what’s next.

*A Forrester login is required to view and read the full report.

Rapid and Robust App Development – You don’t have to Choose!

Successful, intuitive process applications that actually affect change are the objective.

But, so is getting them done in less time, with less money. Traditional BPM software with custom coding yields powerful results, and are often time-consuming and expensive to implement and maintain. Low code tools are touted as an answer to these problems, but can limit application scope, scale and security.

In this infographic, you’ll learn how K2 brings together the best of both BPM and low code to provide a platform that empowers IT to build process automation solutions

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – Opportunity or Threat?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been finalised by the European Union and will come into effect from May 2018. It replaces all data protection legislation in European Union (EU) member states such as the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) in the UK.

The GDPR includes new and improved privacy rights for individuals within the EU, such as “the right to be forgotten”. The new obligations relate to the collection, use and transfer of consumers’ personal data. The official interpretation of Personal Data is “any information relating to an individual, whether it relates to his or her private, professional or public life. It can be anything from a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, and posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer’s IP address.”

But why now – it doesn’t come into force until the middle of 2018?

You may think that with over 12 months still to go, it’s plenty of time to put something in place, but this is not a small issue that can be overlooked. The new regulation introduces severe penalties for breaches of the GDPR with legislators able to impose fines of up to €20 million or 4% of an organisation’s global annual turnover in order to ensure compliance. That’s a lot of money.

Don’t we already have something similar in each countries own Data Protection Acts?

The GDPR will require organisations to have a legitimate reason for processing personal data. Consent can be given by a written, electronic or oral statement. This could include the data subject ticking a box when visiting a website or choosing technical settings for social network accounts. Importantly, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity will no longer equal consent. The remit of the GDPR goes a lot further than existing Data Protection legislation in other countries.

In an interesting development, individuals will now be able to request that their personal data is erased by the organisation and no longer processed. This is called the ‘right to be forgotten’).

If I am in the UK then Brexit will save me, won’t it?

Although the UK is in the process of leaving the EU, the triggering of article 50 will take 2 years to complete. So the UK will still be a member of the EU in May 2018 and all UK organisations will almost certainly have to implement these regulations. As this is also a ‘common-sense’ piece of EU legislation, there is no reason to suspect it will be repealed as and when Brexit does come into force. It really isn’t worth taking the chance.

So how do I find out more? What should I do next?

Fortunately, there is plenty of professional help and guidance available and some forward-thinking organisations, such as Deloitte, with the GDPR Consent Management Framework based on K2, have developed easy to implement solutions that can take away the headache based on sound legislative principles.

Deloitte and K2 will be running a series of events, webinars and seminars, on the topic of GDPR and how to solve the challenge and we look forward to sharing the skills and knowledge we have gained already. The threat of fines is all too real, however the chance to protect citizen’s personal data once and for all presents us with an opportunity too good to miss.

If you would like to learn how K2 and Deloitte can help your security, regulatory and privacy teams grasp the action plan necessary for GDPR compliance join our “The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Deadline is Coming – Get an Action Plan!” webinar with Bart Eynatten, Senior Manager in Analytics and Information Management at Deloitte on June 7th.

Take action now and register today!

Become the Chief Acceleration Officer!

6 REASONS YOU AREN’T SEEING ROI FROM YOUR BPA OR BPM INITIATIVE

How can your organisation remove the barriers to modernisation and achieve meaningful process management with minimal disruptions to the business?

It’s easy. Avoid the six pitfalls outlined in our infographic and you’ll achieve:

  • – Quicker realisation of business productivity gains
  • – Lower process app development costs
  • – Lower labour and training costs
  • – Efficiency gains
  • – Better customer and employee experiences

K2’s low-code business process apps help you keep pace with digital transformation and achieve high ROI at both ends of the balance sheet

Are you ready to start driving ROI?

 

Rapid and Robust App Development – You don’t have to choose

RAPID AND ROBUST APP DEVELOPMENT? YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHOOSE

Successful, intuitive process applications that actually affect change are the objective.
But, so is getting them done in less time, with less money. Traditional BPM software with custom coding yields powerful results, and are often time-consuming and expensive to implement and maintain. Low code tools are touted as an answer to these problems, but can limit application scope, scale and security.

In this infographic, you’ll learn how K2 brings together the best of both BPM and low code to provide a platform that empowers IT to build process automation solutions that are:

– Simple, complex or somewhere in between
– Flexible and adaptable
– Secure
– Able to scale across the enterprise
– Capable of integrating with existing IT infrastructure
– Mobile
– Fast to deploy
– On premises or in the cloud
– Able to yield rapid ROI

Download the infographic to see how your team can use one platform to deliver deep, real-world solutions and align with business objectives.

How to go low code without sacrificing the power of BPM

Bridge the Gap Between Ease of Use and Complexity

Increasingly, organisations are using low-code and no-code application development solutions to lower labor costs, accelerate app delivery, increase ROI from existing IT investments and align more closely with business goals like better customer experience.

Yet, low code can bring with it a reputation for creating the kinds of compromises in security, control and integration that developers find difficult to swallow. K2 approaches process automation differently than most vendors – K2 brings together the power of traditional business process management (BPM) software with the speed and innovation of low-code tools into one platform.

This white paper outlines:

– The inefficiency of choosing a low-code vendor based on immediate project goals

– K2’s low-code and BPM capabilities in nine key areas of business process automation success

– How customers are using K2 to address critical concerns.

Download the white paper to learn why IT needs are crucial to evaluating low-code platforms and how to pick a vendor that has the flexibility developers need.