May 30, 2022
The effectiveness of Business Process Automation
Exploring the topic of digital transformation is always fascinating. While numerous studies highlight the extent to which businesses prioritize digital transformation, others find there is little action to back up the talk.
I think we will see a significant change later this year when we start seeing extensive research into how the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation and the embracing of automation. It will be nice to read something detailed rather than another business leader talking about discovering Zoom and Slack!
What is business process automation?
Business process automation, or BPA, is a vital part of the broader discipline of digital transformation.
The best way to define BPA is as a means for digitally switched-on companies to reduce their reliance on human inputs by automating repetitive tasks.
When it comes to implementing BPA effectively, the best businesses do it across the whole company and not just in one or two departments. BPA is typically used alongside other initiatives within digital transformation to help achieve:
- A better understanding of and outcomes from business processes.
- Empowered team members, especially non-technical employees, who can be involved in projects and designing processes using low or no-code software.
- The implementation of things like artificial intelligence to aid with internal process improvements and outcomes for clients.
Why you should use business process automation
BPA has the potential to vastly improve specific aspects of your operations and business overall. Embracing BPA can help enhance accountability and transparency across your business while eliminating human error potential in certain processes and making data recording more accurate. Crucially, BPA gives you the ability to easily share all these things with the relevant stakeholders so they can access them on demand. In addition, the apps and tools you can use within your BPA journey can enable quicker data sharing and feed into the improvement of internal workflows.
Here’s a closer look at why you should consider BPA a must for your business:
BPA is a stepping stone on the road to digital transformation
One thing that holds businesses back from fully embracing digital transformation is how intimidating it can be to make such a profound change. However, by adopting BPA and automating processes slowly but surely, you can achieve digital transformation over a period of time. Digital transformation is not an event but a process you need to invest in for the long-term.
It helps you get clarity around your processes
If a process in your business runs shambolically, automating it can be challenging. However, aiming to automate it allows you to clarify what the process should be, and perfect it. Because you are automating it, you do not need to invest time training people how to do it, either!
Once your processes are clear, you can streamline them
From when processes happen to who gets notifications about their completion, each one can occur when it should, and stakeholders have the relevant information and data at their fingertips when they need it.
Things happen quicker, and you can get back to spending time on higher-value tasks.
Automation means better compliance records
For every process you automate, the app or tool you use creates a record every time a process is started, completed, and what has happened during that process. Whether you need compliance records for auditing, answering customers’ questions, or for anything else, you will have everything you need.
If your business operates in several markets and you must comply with a variety of regulatory frameworks and standards, automation will help you do that better, too.
Using tech means your operations and outcomes are standardized
Although we speak a lot about automation boosting efficiency, another massive benefit of embracing BPA is getting a consistent process, operation, and outcome every time. Human error is out of the equation, whether mistakes happen because it is Friday afternoon or an employee had too many beers last night!
Your customers will be happier
Your customers do not need to know how much of your process you automate. However, it might well be a selling point if you are looking to attract tech-savvy customers. Either way, the bottom line is that automation allows you to do things better and quicker, which means happier customers. When you need to speak with your customers, or there is a need for human intervention, you have more time to do it because of everything you have automated!
How does business process automation work?
It depends on what you are automating.
In simple terms, you make BPA happen by using apps and other tech solutions that integrate to share data and trigger processes. Services like Zapier are specifically designed to make automation easy, making it simple for you to integrate your tech stack to automate a wealth of processes.
While BPA at its heart is relatively simple, it is also possible to add complexity to enhance your processes further by adding artificial intelligence elements and using business process management (BPM) software tools.
What processes can you automate?
You can automate pretty much anything you want. A good rule of thumb for deciding what you should automate is to follow the below list. If a task meets all of these points, try to automate it:
- It is a high-volume task.
- Multiple people are required to carry it out.
- It is time-sensitive, and deadlines are strict.
- The task has a significant impact on people, other processes and systems, or the business as a whole.
- You need an audit trail and to ensure compliance.
What about the specific process you can automate? The list is potentially endless, but you might look to automate things like:
- Invoicing and accounting
- Employee leave requests
- Customer helpdesk support
- Support delivered via chatbots
- Data visualization
- Time, attendance, and productivity tracking
- Lead acquisition, engagement, and nurturing
- QA processes in coding
- Server and data backups
What are you automating in your business?
Where is your business at with digital transformation?
If you are yet to begin your digital transformation journey, BPA is a great way to take the first step. Once you start to feel the benefits of automating your first process, you will quickly begin looking for ways to automate as many aspects of your business as possible!
If you are looking to automate the creation and execution of contracts in your business, learn more how Contractbook can help you achieve this here.