What is Task Capture?
Task capture is a complementary technology to process mining. It enables organizations to discover, understand, and analyze the tasks users perform in a company. It does this by monitoring the actions users take and collecting their interactions like keystrokes, clicks, data entry, etc., to uncover how tasks are completed within the organization.
Where process mining discovers entire business processes the organization performs, task capture finds how the individual steps that make up that process are completed.
It's used to understand how tasks are completed within an organization, help enterprises improve how tasks are carried out, and, most importantly, identify tasks that can be automated to increase operational efficiency, reduce errors, and improve employee engagement.
How Does Task Capture Work?
At a high-level, task capture sits at the desktop level, recording and collecting data to present the individual steps users take in completing a specific task. At a more granular level, task capture follows a sequential, step-by-step process:
Task capture software records user interactions to uncover how individual tasks are performed. A recorder is installed and manually triggered on employees' computers and collects their interactions —including keystrokes, mouse clicks, scrolls, and similar actions —while adding timestamps and screenshots.
A good example of a task that might be recorded to be improved or automated is information extracted from an invoice as part of the larger workflow of processing that invoice. Using that example, the recorder would collect the data involved in executing that task like:
- Accessing their email
- Downloading the invoice
- Opening the invoice
- Copying textual and numerical data
- Inputting that data into an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planner)
Definition and Optimization
Once all the individual steps of completing a task have been defined, it's time to identify how the execution of that task can be improved and made more efficient. This step is critical if the ultimate objective is automation.
If the objective is simply process improvement, employees would need to be re-trained to execute the task according to its new, improved state.
Discovering tasks to automate with RPA (robotic process automation) is a primary driver of adopting task capture solutions. When the objective is to automate a task that has been discovered and defined, the task must be:
- Designed for automation
- Mapped to all relevant constraints and dependencies like any regulations it must adhere to or the applications it interacts with. In the example of invoice extraction, there would be regulations regarding data privacy and the email and ERP software that task interacts with to be traced.
- Packaged and communicated to your automation development team so the automation can be built and deployed.
Monitoring and Analysis
Regardless of whether the task's objective was simply process improvement or automation, its execution should be monitored according to metrics and KPIs the business defines, such as a decrease in completion time, reduction of errors committed during task execution, etc.
Why Does Task Capture Matter?
Embracing and fostering innovation is one way to ensure continued growth and protect the organization from falling behind to digital disruptors. Digital transformation is at the forefront of every enterprise, and task mining is a part of that.
Better understanding the tasks employees perform to find ways they can be improved or automated, plays an essential role as the future of work – which includes the interaction and synergy of machines and humans – is being defined. Task capture enables organizations to uncover, optimize, and automate repetitive tasks to drive increased operational efficiency, higher-quality output, and enable employees to spend their time on more value-added, engaging activities.
Do You Need Task Capture?
Robotic process automation (RPA) is the fastest-growing enterprise software category because of the benefits it delivers. By definition, RPA is the automation of repetitive, rules-based tasks.
Task capture is a fundamental technology that makes up part of the RPA toolchain. It uncovers the rules-based, repetitive, and mundane tasks that your employees perform, providing countless opportunities to scale your use of RPA across the enterprise and drive continuous process improvement. It is a key mechanism contributing to critical business objectives like increased operational efficiency, cost reduction, and better customer experiences.
Benefits of Task Capture?
There are several benefits of task capture that can be grouped into multiple categories:
- Discover Automation Opportunities – Task capture delivers the insight needed for optimal RPA candidate identification and prioritization like process velocity and utilization. It also provides the steps of the task, which give you a ready-made canvas for process optimization and automation design.
- Process Improvement – Task capture delivers the data needed for business process experts to easily identify gaps, waste, and all areas where task execution can be improved regardless of whether the objective is automation or continuous process excellence.
- Decreased Process Variance – Because task capture records user interactions, it allows organizations to better understand the different variants that may exist when that task is performed, providing a platform for standardization to reinforce quality and efficiency.
- Improved Employee Experience – Task capture uncovers the repetitive, mundane tasks being executed by employees and provides the opportunity to automate those rule-based tasks. Not only does this drive efficiency gains, but it also allows those employees to focus on more engaging, business-critical activities.
- Risk Analysis – Considering that task capture records and collects user interactions, tasks that are impacted by controls, policies, and regulations can be scrutinized to ensure that task execution is compliant and eventually automated for even greater assurances of compliance.
To see how Blueprint Task Capture enables a scalable, enterprise-wide RPA model that drives maximum returns, read the Blueprint Task Capture datasheet.