A Complete Guide to Process Orchestration – What it is, When and Why do you Need It

process orchestration

As customer expectations continue to rise, the expected standard of services and products also increases proportionally. Embracing digital transformation is essential for companies to remain competitive and efficient. Process orchestration is a highly useful tool that facilitates seamless interaction between humans and digital teams.

Although business process orchestration is a relatively new process improvement technique, it has the potential to improve process performance considerably. According to a Markets and Markets report, the Global Process Orchestration Market is poised to grow at a CAGR of 17.5% to reach 8.50 billion by 2023.

Read on to understand what process orchestration is, the need for business process orchestration, and examples of process orchestration. 

What is Process Orchestration?

Orchestration means coordinating, synchronizing, and monitoring multiple automated workflows in an organization. The orchestration process ensures that workflows are operating smoothly and guarantees the expected results for each process. Orchestration in processes is similar to an orchestral group, in which musicians collaborate and play according to their tempo so that the melody processes as intended. 

Process orchestration can be defined as the flow of all work in an operation between humans and digital teams. Business process orchestration enables end-to-end design and management of the business process, which helps businesses streamline processes, organize operations, assign tasks to the right resources, and complete all SLAs on time. Orchestration is a relatively new concept that is being explored by progressive businesses looking to improve productivity and efficiency. 

Various moving parts of the business process are coordinated and multiple processes are tied together with business process orchestration. Business process orchestration helps you work with the people, systems, and devices, and achieve ambitious goals like end-to-end process automation.

Process orchestration tools enable IT to develop, manage, and monitor end-to-end processes from a centralized location. The orchestration process gives IT leaders the visibility and control they are looking for with a centralized platform. Concentrating all the processes in one place helps organizations manage, monitor, and optimize their processes.

With process orchestration, it is easy to implement standardized processes, identify and remediate issues, and ensure that no resources are spent running multiple schedulers or automation platforms. 

Process orchestration brings multiple automated processes together. Orchestration is more than just isolated or fragmented automation usually applied to reduce the time spent on certain tasks in some departments.

Process orchestration is about implementing a strategy for connected automation, fostering collaboration and better communication between teams. When orchestrating processes, leaders need to take a holistic view of all the execution. This is made possible by adopting a platform that integrates all software or applications across different teams. 

Process Orchestration versus Other Approaches to Automation

Perhaps the most common alternative or complementary approach to task-based automation is process orchestration. The main difference between process orchestration and process automation lies in the holistic approach to handling connectable processes. Orchestration takes place when the analysis relies on the whole, not just disparate components.

The main intent of process orchestration is to identify how to optimize the entire suite of processes through improvements to individual processes, and to explore how they connect. 

Automation on the other hand represents a technological solution for individual tasks or activities in the process. With automation, professionals can save time and prioritize tasks that require the unique analytical and creative skills of a human being.

Automation is the result of using technology to automatically perform certain tasks without human intervention. Both manual and automated tasks can be tied together with the help of process orchestration tools.

Automation can –

  • Reduce human errors and increase reliability
  • Remove the need for human intervention, making processes more efficient
  • Improve productivity by enabling employees to achieve more in less time
  • Boost employee morale by eliminating tedious and repetitive tasks

Conventionally, automation has been achieved on an opportunistic basis. For example, a job scheduler may be used to manage overnight batch processes, a data-gathering tool may be used for collecting customer data, and a collection of custom scripts may be used to move data between environments. 

Process orchestration on the other hand may be used to unify individual tasks into an end-to-end process with the help of an extensible automation tool. Such unification allows IT teams to manage the entire process lifecycle from a single location.

Process orchestration can –

  • Reduce complexity by consolidating and coordinating individual tools
  • Increase resilience by reducing the need for custom trips
  • Simplify compliance management by managing audit and credential requirements from a centralized location
  • Integrate new tools and technologies through a single orchestration platform

While we understand the difference between automation and process orchestration, it is important to understand what automation lacks that orchestration may fulfill. One of the main drawbacks of a siloed automation strategy is that integrating new tools turns into a nightmare.

For instance, when a business wants to deploy a new platform and then integrate the platform with multiple, disparate tools across siloed environments. To rapidly adapt to new challenges, whether they are economic, regulatory, technological, or consumer-driven, the IT team must be able to quickly integrate new tools, platforms, and technologies. 

Process orchestration tools are designed to be extensible, streamlining system integrations by providing universal connectors, API adapters, and direct integrations. This is different from traditional automation tools that are designed to support specific vendors.

Process orchestration tools make it possible to rapidly integrate virtually any tool or technology. Data and dependencies from those tools can be seamlessly incorporated into existing end-to-end processes using low-code, drag-and-drop workflow designers. These disparate processes, including resources and applications they depend on, can be monitored and maintained through the process orchestration platform. 

Why do you Need Process Orchestration?

When do you need process orchestration? There are several reasons for companies to strive towards business process orchestration. Process orchestration could be a game changer in all kinds of businesses. Implementing process orchestration at the right time in the right manner is crucial for its success.

You need process orchestration when –

1. Your process has end-point diversity

When your process spans across several possible process endpoints, then it is time you consider orchestrating your process. For a process to be executed smoothly, the tasks need to be coordinated. Process orchestration software executes the process as a whole without breaking it into individual tasks. Tasks being considered as endpoints, orchestration software lets you integrate those send points seamlessly. 

2. Your process complexity increases

Coordination between various tasks in the process depends on its complexity. The coordination is based on a certain logic, which in the real world is rarely a straightforward sequence of steps. Process orchestration helps simplify the complexity of business processes. 

Now that we have decoded the “when” part of process orchestration, let us get into the “why” part. 

3. Increase in remote-working models

The concept of remote working was widely adopted by companies during the pandemic. Even with the pandemic gone, the remote or hybrid model of working remains. Such a working model requires sharp and quick decision-making to ensure that productivity remains unaffected and information security and communication remain intact. Orchestration can help businesses achieve all these by taking care of end-to-end processes. 

4. Increased demand for customer-focused agility

Online shopping has set a faster pace for product and service delivery. Companies need to explore ways to accelerate workflows and prevent bottlenecks to boost deliveries without hurting quality. 

5. Need for optimizing existing automation

Companies may already have several automations functioning, but they may not be performing at optimal levels. You can make the most of existing automation systems by orchestrating them to save money and time across the company. Process orchestration brings together multiple departments and citizen developers that are directly involved in the automated action. 

6. Need to keep up with the competition

Staying ahead of the competition requires companies to embrace digital transformation to improve the efficiency and productivity of processes. As per IDC forecasts, 70% of organizations will accelerate the use of digital technologies like automation for their key business processes. When multiple systems are automated, the need for process orchestration will increase proportionally. 

Use Cases of Business Process Orchestration

Not all automation systems require process orchestration. It is important to identify the automation systems that would benefit from process orchestration to derive the full benefits of orchestrating them. In general, orchestration is adopted by the finance, banking, insurance, and health industries. However, implementation of orchestration is not limited to these industries, any enterprise that handles large teams, processes, and data could benefit from orchestration. 

Let us look at some use cases of process orchestration so we can make an informed decision on which processes to orchestrate. 

1. Ticketing and email processing

Processing service tickets usually involves multiple departments. Submitting a ticket, categorizing and assigning it to the right person, resolving it, and updating the status of the ticket – are some of the tasks involved in ticket and email processing. Process orchestration brings standardization in ticket and email processing across the organization. 

2. Claims processing

This is another data-intensive process that involves a series of validations and verifications. Successful claim processing involves pulling data from disparate sources and getting approvals at multiple levels. Process orchestration streamlines claims processing by facilitating a seamless exchange of data between disparate systems. 

3. HR onboarding

Onboarding new employees involves access allocations, document verification, allocation of resources, and other induction-related tasks. Some of these tasks are ripe for automation mainly due to their data-intensive and repetitive nature. Process orchestration speeds up HR onboarding and makes it more efficient. 

4. Underwriting

Processing loans cannot be done without the underwriting process. The underwriting process involves the assessment of income, assets, and other property details of the borrower before approving the loan. This process must be completed totally to mitigate the risk for the lending party. Process orchestration standardizes and accelerates the underwriting process by bringing together several automated tasks. 

5. Accounts payable function

The accounts payable function is in charge of all the payments that are carried out by the organization. Accuracy and timeliness of payments are crucial to maintaining strong business relationships. Process orchestration within the AP function ensures that payment verification and payout happen at the right time and without any errors or inconsistencies. 

6. Know Your Customer

Digitization brings several benefits to businesses, but also increases the incidence of identity theft and personalization. This mandates the Know Your Customer (KYC) process that helps identify and verify the identity of the customer while opening an account and also through the course of holding the account.

The investment and financial services industry uses KYC as a standard for verifying customers and identifying their risk and financial profile. The KYC process can be streamlined with the help of business process automation. This way all the tasks related to gathering customer information can be streamlined. 

7. Lead nurturing

When prospects are evaluating your brand and products, you would want to be aware of their exact activities and the timeline of these activities. Armed with this awareness, you can respond to them intelligently and resourcefully. Process orchestration can help you here. Automating the lead nurturing process issues alerts to the reps, which enables them to act on those insights in near real-time. Automated alerts not only inform the reps about the new activity but also provide additional information on the account from other apps. 

8. Apart from these use cases, some of the real-world examples of process orchestration include

dynamic parallel execution, correlation and abortion of messages, and time-sensitive escalations. Process orchestration helps you dynamically coordinate many tasks simultaneously. Correlating messages while solving support tickets can be a challenge, especially at scale. The customer may get frustrated if the agent is not updated on what has been attempted already. Process orchestration solves the lack of message correlation. 

Time-sensitive tasks like invoice approvals or PO approval when not completed by the deadline, can cause significant losses to the business. Orchestration helps escalate processes that aren’t completed on time or within a specific window of time.

The need for orchestration often depends on the degree of process complexity and endpoint diversity at your organization. The decision to orchestrate need not always be binary, you can combine business process orchestration with other technologies to get a comprehensive coverage of the automation needs of the organization. 

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Positive Outcomes of Business Process Orchestration

There are several positive outcomes of business process orchestration. Process teams can streamline their operations and achieve multiple benefits through orchestration. Some of the key benefits are listed below. 

Reduced costs

Process orchestration streamlines the way processes are executed, thereby, minimizing errors and overlooks. When the task is executed accurately in the first instance itself, the need for rework is reduced considerably. The work hours that are spent on rework or corrections are minimized, and associated costs are reduced in turn.

Moreover, the end-to-end transparency that orchestration brings to process execution makes it easier and faster to identify pain points or bottlenecks in the process. Effective identification of pain points in turn minimizes resource wastage and time taken to resolve issues. 

Improved collaboration

Orchestration connects platforms and systems across departments for superior work collaboration. When disparate systems are connected seamlessly, data silos are eliminated and communication between teams also increases. Process orchestration aligns teams with the overall organizational goals and objectives. 

Increased employee satisfaction

When repetitive manual tasks are taken care of by the orchestration process, employees get to spend more time on elaborate and important projects. This makes them feel more valued and that their skills are utilized in a better fashion. 

Data-driven decision making

When orchestration is enabled by proper software, it helps generate useful insights into process performance. When process-related data is available in real-time, the managers can stay informed on performance and make data-driven decisions for making continuous improvements. 

Improved customer satisfaction

When process workflows are synchronized across the organization and data is error-proof, product/service delivery is accelerated. Faster and accurate service delights customers and enhances their brand loyalty. 

Improved scalability

As the business scales up, the need for well-connected automated workflows increases proportionally. Process orchestration helps teams scale up to expanding business operations, without the need to hire new employees or install new automation systems. Coordinating various automation systems through process orchestration supports business growth and enables scalable production. 

Conclusion

Now that the need for process orchestration is clear, where and how do you start with business process orchestration? The first step in process orchestration is choosing the right process orchestration tool.

A workflow automation tool like Cflow is highly effective in bridging the gap between processes and technology. The no-code workflow automation platform helps orchestrate processes with automated workflow apps. Cflow brings several capabilities to process orchestration like track and review on the go, seamless integration with 1000+ business tools, highest levels of data encryption and security.

Cflow provides all that you need to not just start process orchestration but also features that enable process management and workflow building. Interested in trying our Cflow? Sign up for the free trial right away. 

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