Decoding The “Why”, “What” and “How” of Business Process Automation
– Gayatri. Y
Introduction to Business Process Automation
BPA isn’t a 21st century new age practice! You’d be surprised to know that it’s been there since the early 19th century.
During the advent of the industrial revolution, the majority of factories incorporated automatic processes to improve productivity. Through the 1980s, robotic systems began to transform production methods among various industries.
It didn’t stop there. Right from the early 2000s, business process automation set its foot in the IT industry with the name “enterprise resource planning system” and has lately evolved to include robotic process automation, thanks to the vast new array of technologies.
Before we begin to understand the use of BPA to your business, we’ll take you through a few stats to understand why it’s the need of the hour.
During a recent survey conducted by McKinsey, 53% employees said they could save up to 3 hours by automating tasks.
If we go by a report from Forrester, automation has the potential to reduce operating costs by up to 90%. Further, studies even proved that a third of tasks in 60% of jobs still need automation to standardize business processes.
Convinced with its need? Now let’s get into a detailed guide on business process automation. As you scroll through, you’ll learn it’s importance, applications, benefits and the way of implementation.
What is Business Process Automation? – In layman Terms
According to a 2018 report by Forrester, 22% businesses still don’t have a process excellence policy or a workflow automation plan.
As business owners and leaders, one usually has a lot on their plates. Between balancing what happens internally and managing external stakeholders while also transcending customer expectations, one might often wish for more hours in a way.
Fortunately, technologies that we didn’t imagine to be a reality are now ruling the world. Business process automation uses such tech to improve the efficiency of your business by automating repetitive tasks, centralizing information, reducing the need for in-person communication, and sharing info with relevant third parties.
It accelerates how your daily activities get done with the help of user-defined rules with an aim to make your business processes streamlined, error-proof, efficient, and economical.
Benefits of Automating Business Processes
”The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency.” – Bill Gates
Here’s how it can simplify mundane tasks allowing you to focus on more valuable activities in your arena.
1. Saves Your Employees’ Time & Improves Efficiency
The major benefit of business process automation is saving a chunk of time. According to a 2017 study, employees spend more than 2 hours on mundane administrative tasks like processing documents, approving them, or searching for information to complete an activity.
As a matter of fact, 78% of businesses believe that 60 hours of employees’ time could be saved with automation in place. Not a math wizard, but we believe it could save up to $435 for every average salaried employee.
2. Helps Reduce Costs
Did you know, that several organizations lose up to 30% of their revenue each year due to inefficient processes running within?
Plus, the inefficiency also leads to fixing the errors and that would demand a lump of money from your pocket. To evade all these, you must choose to automate processes for error minimalization.
Gleaning through various sources, we found out that the businesses who have adopted process automation have seen a 10% drop in overall costs and an 8% increase in overall profits.
3. Improves Process Visibility
How do you identify bottlenecks or timewasters in your business process? When done manually, it consumes much of time and resources. With BPA having impressive data gathering and analytics capabilities, everyone in your company can see what’s working and what’s not.
This means, each phase of your automated business process gets recorded, which makes it easier for you to:
- Track the docs involved.
- See who worked on what.
- Have a check on when each of the actions has happened.
These insights help you not only make more informed decisions but also allow you to streamline much of the processes.
4. Ensures Compliance
When we say automation, it’s not just about routing the docs for relevant functionality. It also makes sure to set up security measures and gives you retention measures to bring back the lost data.
As everything gets traceable and in control, automation clearly ensures compliance with relevant regulations in place.
5. Enhances Customer Experience
According to a study, 40% of businesses affirm that on-time delivery with consistency to customers is the key factor for their satisfaction and also retention.
In fact, better customer experiences these days have become a norm. Today’s digital customers expect on-the-spot responses and lose their cool when kept waiting.
With business process automation, operations come closer to your customer allowing them 24X7 access to information, whenever they need it.
Key areas where business process automation can lead to great results
Business Process Automation Examples: The Use Cases You Should Focus On!
43% of organizations to date manage expense reporting manually and it limits the insights required for them to make informed budget decisions.
1. Employee Onboarding
As per recent reports, 58% of organizations still focus on paperwork to onboard their new hires. This can unknowingly lead to unhappy employees and decreases their productivity as too often, new hires are handed over stacks of forms to fill on their first day.
Business process automation can be applied to most of the onboarding tasks like:
- Collecting personal info.
- Setting up payroll.
- Filling out forms.
With the right automation software, your new hires can easily fill up the required forms from any device.
2. Purchase Orders
Purchase orders allow businesses to get the required goods and services they need for daily functioning. Many times, this process is done through manual data entry and the office workers spend hours each week filling the required forms.
BPA accelerates the entire process. All the purchase order forms can be digitized and can be immediately routed to the appropriate approver.
3. Processing Invoices
Businesses these days cannot neglect invoice approvals. However, invoices are usually sent as an email attachment to the approvers, which then must go through manual routing to the respective departments.
Business process automation eliminates all these and with the right software, you can simply send out the invoice link to the respective consultants to fill them out. This method can also help to lessen the frequency of errors.
4. Price Quotes
Whenever a prospect asks you for a quote, as you well know, they have almost decided to do business with you. When you don’t send your price quote within the time frame, your deal can slip away from you.
The best BPA software swiftly enables your sales team to assemble the price quotes and send for approval to the manager.
In addition, automating your price quotes can make a good first impression on your prospects and you can right away send a link of your quote and ask them to sign right away eliminating the need of additional emails.
Here’s a long list of other processes that can benefit from BPA:
- Financial aid and grant applications.
- Appointment scheduling and rescheduling
- Data analysis and risk assessment
- Time off requests
- Event RSVPs
- Order processing
- Document management
- Attendance tracking
Business Process Automation vs Robotic Process Automation
RPA hands over individual tasks to robots to streamline processes while BPA automates an entire business from beginning to end.
Talking about robotic process automation in specific, it uses a group of pre-built software tools, and they are trained to mimic monotonous human tasks. They communicate with business systems and apps to streamline certain processes and reduce the burden on employees.
RPA helps businesses save up to 35% on operational costs and complete daily tasks with 3X speed with no errors.
Meanwhile, BPA solutions can handle more complex tasks and are even integrated into the data systems and the APIs. This means, that instead of automating single steps, business process automation allows you to create and automate workflows integral to your business.
How To Automate Business Processes? – In 5 Simple Steps
Business process automation is not something you’ve to build from scratch. There are a number of process automation tools helping you in a smooth and effective transition.
1. Identify what needs to be automated
2. Note down your business goals.
3. Pick the right tool
- A tool that’s easy to understand, which allows you to create a step-by-step automation process.
- A tool that’s flexible and scalable.
- A tool that’s easy to integrate and pull data from existing sources.
4. Train your staff
- Provide continuous education through training sessions.
- Create a work culture that is open and willing to change.
5.Measure the outcome
- As automation tools aren’t static, monitor your KPI’s and adjust the tool as and when needed.
RPA and BPA tools will continue to surpass expectations when it comes to bringing forth efficiency in the business functioning.
Across various industries, BPA, RPA, and IPA (Intelligent Process Automation) are helping businesses prosper. To know how your business can benefit from these automation solutions, get in touch with us. Whether you’re looking to enhance the efficiency of a few tasks or streamline most of your critical processes, our expert engineers are here to help.
Automation is cost cutting by tightening the corners and not cutting them.
– Haresh Sippy
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