Thanks to Business Process Automation, technology that seemed improbable years ago can now be a reality. Business process automation leverages cutting-edge technology to enhance efficiency and improve the bottom line operations. Due to this, business process automation (BPA) has become the fastest-growing segment in the enterprise software market in the last few years. As more and more businesses are beginning to automate most of their processes in the last few years, business automation is only gaining momentum with no signs of slowing down. Business process automation does more than just remove human intervention. It focuses on the enhancement of productivity and optimal allocation of resources. Business process automation can simplify a complex task with a few clicks.
What is Business Process Automation?
Business process automation involves the use of technology in place of human efforts for monotonous, high-volume, and time-consuming tasks. Automation in business is the shift of responsibility for the completion of tasks from humans to machines so that manual resource use is minimal. Automation makes business processes error-free, cost-effective, consistent, and the time saved can be allocated for more critical tasks.
BPA is implemented by coding and incorporating an integrated set of software applications to automate workflows and processes across all departments in an organization to avoid manual intervention. BPA focuses on overall processes rather than individual tasks. Though small-scale operations such as recordkeeping and form filling are automated, BPA is more about advanced business processes like payroll processing, inventory tracking, and so on.
What business processes can be automated?
Any business process that comprises of repeatable and well-defined steps can be automated. All paper-based processes that do not need logical thinking fall within this realm. Broadly, there are 2 categories of business functions that can be automated- core functions and support functions. Core functions comprise of all revenue-generating business tasks and support functions are the secondary activities that support the core functions. Businesses implement BPA to automate both core and support functions to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
BPA can eliminate the outsourcing costs of support functions by not needing to outsource them. Examples of BPA implementation in support functions include Logistics, Marketing and Sales, IT and Technical Services, and Administration. BPA is extensively used in customer service departments as well to digitize repetitive tasks of the service agent.
HR departments use business process automation to speed up and simplify the employee onboarding process through various self-service tools for tasks like employee registration, benefits, training, and other information.
Benefits of Business Process Automation
Business process automation can eliminate the bottlenecks associated with manual tasks leading to loss of time and revenue. The improvements in control and efficiency due to BPA can be seen in every organizational activity.
1. Saves Employee time
Saving time is the primary benefit of business process automation. A study showed that employees typically spend over 2 hours a day on administrative tasks such as approving paperwork, looking for information, and processing documents. BPA solutions can accomplish these tasks quickly and without errors. Through process automation, employees can utilize their time more effectively.
2. Reduces Costs
Apart from labor costs, organizations lose around 20 to 30% of annual revenue due to inefficient processes. By switching from manual to automated ways for business process completion, there are minimal errors and there is no time or money wasted in fixing issues. A study showed that businesses that automated their processes brought down their overall costs by 10% and increased their overall profits by 8%.
3. Enhances Productivity
When monotonous tasks are delegated to digital alternatives, multiple processes can be managed simultaneously leading to enhanced productivity. Additionally, business process automation enables employees to divert their focus on challenging and revenue-generation activities, thereby improving their overall experience.
4. Makes Business Process more Efficient
An efficient process gives the best outcome with minimal effort. When a set of pre-defined steps are implemented consistently, there is less room for deviations. Furthermore, process automation results in greater visibility, improved communication, quality, and efficient task management.
Emails and calls used to transfer information can be replaced by modern techniques that are a part of the business process automation software. For instance, if a team has access to a dashboard to check task progress, it is easier to stick to deadlines and streamline communication. Additionally, there is no scope for details being lost in translation.
5. Minimizes Errors
To err is human. However capable or skilled your employees may be, manual slip-ups, delays, and minor inefficiencies are unavoidable. When you automate business processes, the likelihood of errors significantly decreases, the process becomes smoother and redundancy is avoided.
6. Standardized Processes
When a manual business process involves many individuals, there can be inconsistencies as each has a different way of handling a task. The initial design phase must be strong for a process to be effective. An automated process has a consistent workflow, and a series of steps to follow until the desired outcome is reached. Hence, automation is a clever route for the standardization of processes.
7. Clear Records and Compliance
As a result of standardization due to automated processes, each phase of the process is always recorded in the audit trail. This makes it easy to track documents, map their course, see who performed the action and check the timeline of each action.
This kind of control not only improves the reliability and accuracy of records but also provides the organization with auditable records of each business workflow. These records can be quickly retrieved when needed either to reply to customer queries or demonstrate regulatory compliance.
Along with defining a set of rules for organizing documents, automation also includes setting up data retention methods, security measures, and confidentiality protection. Since all data is traceable and under control, companies can ensure that regulatory compliance is maintained at all times.
8. Better Customer Experience
It is easier to assist customers when you can quickly retrieve the information they need. Fast access and convenience are the main features consumers look for when comparing different service providers. Business process automation enables quicker and more accurate information retrieval when compared to going over piles of papers. A high standard of operational excellence can be achieved which in turn drives customer happiness and satisfaction.
The Final Word
Business process automation helps businesses consolidate all business processes into a single platform. This allows businesses to move forward from limited capabilities and build a comprehensive strategy that facilitates end-to-end process monitoring across the enterprise offering scope for useful insights and innovation.