Manually Automated Processes

Recently I was reminded of an expression I heard from a past colleague, namely “manually automated processes”.  The context was a bureaucratic organization and the phrase referred to automated processes that should have worked but still somehow always had the need for human involvement either by design or after-effect.   I was reminded when I was searching for ideas and best practices for how to automate a process that must be completed by a person, specifically gathering and submitting all of the information required to underwrite a loan.  Automated underwriting, approval and fulfillment is kicked off by the borrower submitting the required information in a usable format. In our case it’s in our interest to accelerate this process to get to a successful loan closing, and even though it’s in the borrower’s interest as well it often requires repeated follow-ups and manual interventions.

Our goals are to make the applications simple and easy to complete, replace manual data entry with automated data gathering where possible, use automated coaching and performance support in the areas that are not intuitive and leverage examples of gamification to reinforce and remind the borrower to complete the application.  In the end our objective is minimize the amount of human intervention required to get the loan application completed.  But we believe there will always be some human intervention given the complexity of the applications we are developing.  These will really be manually automated processes.