November 22, 2019

Business Process Automation in 5 Easy Steps

Automation
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Business leaders have a lot on their plate. From balancing internal processes, reporting to external shareholders, and managing customer expectations, it often feels like there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done correctly. Thanks to technology, business process automation can help to alleviate the overwhelming list of action items that comes with running a business. 

Here, we will define what BPA is, what it can be used to do, and the five easy steps that you can follow to implement it within your own business. 

Let’s take a look. 

What is Business Process Automation (BPA)? 

Business process automation (BPA) is the use of technology to automate processes, thereby increasing efficiency and helping to achieve business goals. Processes are defined as the actions and activities that move your business towards a goal. 

By using software systems to make them automatic, you can cut operating costs by up to 90%, as well as decrease the time in which it takes to get things done. 

BPA typically consists of three main features, namely:

  1. Automates processes
  2. Centralises information and increases transparency 
  3. Reduces the need for in-person communication all the while promoting the company-wide sharing of information with relevant parties

To function correctly, BPA can pull data from both structured (collected and itemised information) and unstructured data (social media and customer behaviour patterns, etc.). Depending on the business goal, you have the power to define where data comes from and what it is used to do. 

Business Process Automation Examples

BPA is industry-agnostic, in such that it can help to improve all types of businesses. Here are some examples of the areas in which BPA provides benefits: 

  • Customer Support: Consider the influx of help tickets that your company receives when something is wrong on your website or application. Rather than having an employee spend their valuable time responding the same information over and over to everyone who sends in a complaint, you can set up BPA software to respond to all messages with a specified keyword or keywords with an automated message explaining the problem. Not only will this alleviate the manual burden on your team, but it will also provide customers with increased satisfaction and trust having their needs tended to so quickly. 
  • Approval Management: Often, big companies have processes in place whereby multiple people have to sign off on something before it moves to the next step. This can create bottlenecks and delay approval times. Instead, BPA can be enlisted to “start the approval process” and move each step forward through the system automatically. 
  • Accounts Payable: For invoice processing and payments, it requires constant check-ins and oversight. But, BPA can help to scan, recognise, collect, sort and email out the necessary financial documents to get paid on time. Additionally, since everything is centralised and securely stored, it will make everything easier to perform account closes. 

This is just a few examples of how BPA can help your business. From quality and risk management in hospitals, to loan processing and automatic transfers in banking, BPA manages many different kinds of once manual tasks. Additionally, from customer service in telecommunications and CRM and document flow management in manufacturing businesses, you can always find how automation will improve your workflow.  


Types of Business Process Automation

As you can see from the above examples, we are just scratching the surface of what BPA can do. There are different types of ways to enlist software to assist your teams. 

To put it, here are some ways in which BPA can be implemented: 

  • To gather and manage data files
  • To automate repetitive tasks
  • To connect and integrate data sources and services
  • To build apps that transform your business

Why Should You Automate Business Processes? 

If you didn’t think BPA could help you, you probably wouldn’t still be reading this. To exemplify why you should automate business processes, consider the following: 

  • Digital Transformation: With the continued advancements in technology, your business is likely constantly undergoing digital transformation. At times, this change may feel overwhelming, but the introduction of BPA is another way to ease into a more technologically-centred work environment. If nothing else, it’s a step forward that will have a domino effect on productivity. 
  • Increased Employee Satisfaction and Output: Automating repetitive tasks will take the burden off the shoulders of your employees. In turn, they will have more time to focus on tasks that are challenging, intellectually stimulating and offer them a chance to feel like they are making an impact on the organisation. This results in increased employee satisfaction, higher productivity and reduced turnover. Automation software like SolveXia is designed to augment human resources, rather than replace their essential place in the company. The system helps to manage repetitive tasks through advanced robotic process automation (RPA) so that human resources can focus on the high-value tasks they were hired to perform. 
  • Transparency and Management: It’s easy to get caught up in daily operations without ever taking a step back and looking at how they work. Through BPA, you will clearly define, outline and be able to analyse how current workflows happen and are managed to perform process improvement. Not only does this offer insight to potentially improve the order of operations, but it can also serve as the training grounds for new employees. 
  • Smooth Operations: BPA naturally streamlines processes and allows you to see the progress and current status of an operation. Therefore, it can help to prevent essential tasks slipping through the cracks. 
  • Save Time and Money: When things move along their path automatically, it will inherently save time and unneeded back and forth between parties. In turn, when operations are running efficiently, it will result in money saved. 
  • Reduced Compliance Risk: All industries and businesses face regulations, especially those in finance. As such, digital software can help to reduce risks as they record audit trails and secure the history of operations that took place. BPA software is also capable of producing reports and automatically updating dashboards for consistent oversight and regulatory compliance. Data tools such as SolveXia can do just this. It is a human analytical automation platform that has real-time dashboards that always monitor processes. It also can send reports to chosen parties automatically and can quickly produce audit trails for regulators. 
  • Minimise Human Error: When people have to take care of data entry and management, it can quickly get messy. There is a high chance of human error, which can increase as data increases. However, automation tools are designed to have very high accuracy rates, thereby reducing the opportunity for human error. 

What Business Processes Should You Automate?

It might seem like BPA is the answer to all of your questions and problems. And likely, it will play a significant role in transforming your business and alleviating your burdens. 

But, a significant step to make sure you implement BPA properly is to understand the types of processes that make sense to automate in the first place. 

These include tasks that: 

  • Are inherently repetitive 
  • Include many people and moving pieces
  • Are time sensitive 
  • Require compliance and audit trails 
  • Have a high impact on other systems and processes 

Top Considerations Before Implementation 

Before introducing BPA software into your business, be sure to ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Is my organisation ready?
  • Are employees on board? 
  • Will automation help us achieve our business goals?


5 Easy Steps to Implement BPA 

If you’ve answered yes to the above questions, it’s time to get started with BPA. Business process automation can be implemented in these five steps: 

1. Identify Tasks to Be Automated

  • Refer to list above
  • Use a process map to identify such tasks that can be automated within your organisation

2. Outline Business Goals 

  • What is your current goal?
  • How will automation help? 
  • How will you measure success?

3. Select the Right Tool 

Selecting the right tool involves making sure that it is:

  • Easy to use and simple to understand - For example, SolveXia has training resources and comes with a library or processes whereby you can easily create step-by-step automation for your current workflow or define your steps 
  • Has flexibility and is scalable
  • Integrates with the existing tool stack - make sure the tool can pull data from existing tools to work seamlessly with the information your business already stores. It will help to store and secure information centrally so that anyone who needs access will be able to pull insights and reap the benefits of the system’s workings. 

4. Change Management

  • Set-up training and tutorials for staff, especially those who will be working with the technology day in and day out 
  • Create a culture that’s open to change
  • Involve your team 
  • Provide continued education through training sessions  

5. Monitor and Measure 

  • These tools aren’t meant to be static; they change as your business changes
  • Use them to monitor KPIs and adjust as necessary 

The Bottom Line 

The data doesn’t lie. RPA and business process automation tools continue to exceed expectations when it comes to achieving efficiency in business operations. In fact, according to Deloitte, RPA alone helped to improve productivity by 86%, reduce costs by 59% and improve compliance by 92%. 

Across industries, businesses are increasingly adopting and expanding the use of automation to manage various types of processes. To see how automation can help your business prosper, get in touch with a data automation company such as SolveXia.

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