What is Business Process Automation?
Business process automation refers to automating repetitive tasks using technology, thereby minimizing manual labor.
Business process automation or BPA is characterized by:
- Automated process,
- Centralized and integrated data,
- Reduced human intervention and in-person communication.
As BPA systems connect different but relevant parts of organizations, they are complex, integrating multiple software systems, and engineered to meet the specific business goals of an organization.
They help organizations to better understand the interconnection of different business processes via business process management software solutions.
Business Process Automation Vs. Business Process Management
Business process management deals with the management and end-to-end flow of business processes. Business process automation involves digitizing these business processes through cutting-edge software technologies.
Low-code BPM software like SolveXia allows non-technical resources to map out their own business process according to the company’s predefined business models and rules.
Business Process Automation Vs. Robotic Process Automation
Robotic process automation (RPA) automates small and simple repetitive tasks that consume human time, i.e. simple copy-pasting of data. BPA is considered more complex. It often consists of multi-step business processes.
RPA tools are usually plugged-in to the existing software system without connecting to a database or without a need for an API. BPA systems, on the other hand, are customized according to the business needs. They integrate with data files and connect through APIs.
A business process automation solution can also integrate one or more RPA tools.
BPA systems, when used together with robot process automation systems using machine learning and artificial intelligence technology, can handle complex scenarios like understanding unstructured data, etc.
How Companies are Using Business Process Automation?
A business process is any activity that helps a business reach its specific goals. For automation purposes, such a process is repetitive and involves multiple steps by different information systems, etc.
When such complex tasks are handled manually there is not only a waste of resources that could be utilized in other creative tasks but also increases the chance of human error. In big organizations, the magnitude of such mishandling can escalate quickly.
Thus, companies are using BPA software solutions for multiple purposes. Some of the use cases of business process automation in organizations are:
Customer Support: Centralized databases, especially cloud-based data storage, enable employees to access relevant information easily and in no time to provide a better customer experience.
Moreover, customer support can also be completely automated using BPA software. Instead of using a human resource to answer the same customer query repetitively, an automated customer support software can be set up to handle this task.
Using advanced ML, such Business automation bots can read the specific keywords, understand the nature of the customer query, and answer accordingly.
Read more on building such a smart chatbot in our guide here.
Accounts Payable: To automate invoice processing and payments, for example, lots of emails and documents with the required information can be filtered out through automated procedures.
Approval Management: To avoid bottlenecks that appear when a document or a business process has to go through multiple approvals. A BPA system can initiate an automatic approval process to save time and prevent unnecessary in-person communication.
Data Entry and Management: Intelligent BPA software helps to gather and analyze structured and unstructured data for efficient business decisions.
Integrated Systems: Different IT systems become connected to make all the required information available for every concerned department. It also enables the implementation of restricted accessibility rules.
HR Onboarding Process: To streamline processes of new employee onboarding. Multiple tasks like interview setting, assessment tracking, setting up of training courses, collecting documents, etc. all become automated and easier to manage for HR professionals.
Contract Management: Contract generation becomes more efficient through automated tasks like the creation of pre-formatted contract templates, approval procedures from higher authority, a new profile creation in other departments, like accounts, etc.
Product Launches: To automate product launch and deployment activities like filtering best users, sending out emails, prior product testing, etc.
Procurement: To find the required goods and services from suppliers and according to the company’s terms and conditions.
Attendance Tracking: To monitor employees’ attendance and working hours.
Purchase Order: A very important and recurring multi-step process in companies where the purchasing team receives a request form from the inventory manager, sends it to the higher management for approval, receives back, and sends it to the inventory manager who finally makes a purchase order to the supplier. A lot of unnecessary human interaction and time can be saved by automating this process.
Communication: To facilitate effective and transparent communication between different departments and teams.
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Why is Business Process Automation Beneficial for Businesses?
Organizations investing in automation are witnessing growth and profits. Some of the benefits of using BPA systems in your company include:
- Efficient Business operations: Through better-informed decision making and by eliminating time-consuming paperwork.
- Transparency throughout the Organization: Increasing the sense of accountability and responsibility across the organization.
- Better Monitoring and Tracking: In the form of performance reports. You will be better able to monitor performance, gain insights, and make changes to avoid making the same mistakes again.
- Reduced Costs: Intelligent business systems help understand data quickly, thereby reducing inefficiencies, saving operational costs, and generating revenues.
- Better Use of your Human Resources’ Potential: By freeing them from mundane tasks and freeing up time for tasks that demand more creativity and analytical thinking.
Our recent blog discusses the benefits of business process automation in more detail and also touches on why you should invest in it.
How to Implement Business Process Automation in Your Organization?
You will need to undertake the following steps to implement business process automation into your organization.
- Identify Business Processes that need to be automated
Start by listing the processes that require a course correction or could benefit from digital automation. Start with processes that:
- Include involvement of several people or departments,
- Are repetitive in nature,
- Should be some standard complaint,
- Are time-sensitive,
- Output results that affect other systems.
- Align Automated Processes with your Business Goals
Implement business processes and automate them in a way that aligns with your business goals. How will a business automation system help you in achieving your business goals like increased customer satisfaction, increased sales, larger market outreach, etc?
- Select the Right Business Process Automation Tool
There are many tools and web apps available to help you automate your business processes. Choose a tool that helps you achieve your objective of business process improvement. The tool should be flexible and scalable with your business needs.
Most importantly, the right business process automation platform will need to easily integrate with your existing tech stack without disrupting your current technology infrastructure.
Some of the online available tools include:
Kissflow: This is a cloud-based application that helps to design and build workflow automation systems using a visual user interface with a drag and drop builder. Moreover, it does not require an extensive software setup.
RedHat: RedHat offers multiple automation and digital transformation products and services to cultivate an automated business process environment in your company.
SolveXia: This offers intelligent automation features to collect and integrate data, for performing analytical procedures, and for audit trails and compliance governance, etc.
As with any other technology tool, there are a lot of options to choose from. You can either opt for an online tool that comes at the price of lower customization options or another option is to build your own business process automation software. This is a project that requires a range of skills as well as a larger upfront budget.
In regards to skills, you can partner with an experienced software development company. If you have a technical software development team, then even better.
You can outsource the required resources for developing a business automation tool, i.e specialist developers, and get them to work with your in-house team.
Moreover, these software developers should have a strong background in data analytics and machine learning to make use of advanced development technologies.
Cloud computing expertise is another plus because then your software development team will be able to integrate the required third-party cloud services for fulfilling infrastructure and functional requirements, efficiently.
Read more on cloud computing integration architecture and strategies in our guide on cloud integration techniques.
Your choice of business automation tool will largely depend on the size of your business and available budget. If you are just starting out with automation technology, it seems better that you start with a third-party tool.
You can customize it according to your business needs and even build your own customized business automation system as your team and employees get more accustomed to the automated transformation processes such a solution provides.
- Train your Resources
You will not be able to reap the benefits of business process automation if your workforce is not ready for it. Therefore, your management and employees that will work with the system day in and day out must be on board with the whole process of automating existing business processes
You will need to hold training sessions for employees that will be using the system. Create an open atmosphere where employees are encouraged to pour in their suggestions and are eager to help design a system that, at the end of the day, is designed to help make their work easier.
- Monitor and Measure
Analyze how your new BPA system is working for your business on all levels. Monitor the set KPIs and adjust the system accordingly.
Some prominent KPIs, depending on your business include:
- Client Retention Rate (CRR): It helps you track how many clients you were able to retain. You get an idea of where your business is heading in terms of profitability.
- Profit Margin (PM): Is your revenue costing more than the revenue itself? Not a good sign, if it is.
- Average Daily Attendance (ADA): Combine it with some sales acquisition strategy to convert these numbers into loyal customers and not just viewers.
- Revenue Per Client (RPC): This is the easiest KPI to track. Divide the annual revenue by the number of clients.
For your internal business processes, measure how well your organization is adapting to the system. Are they getting enough training? Is the training course helpful? Is their work more streamlined? Are they able to pay attention to more demanding tasks? Is productivity up? etc.
Your preference for BPA tools can change as your business needs change and also if you discover that your results are unaligned with the business goals or are not what you were looking for.
How to Undertake Business Process Automation?
Business process automation is now an inevitable route for businesses to take if they wish to remain competitive. Given how technology is changing business processes, making them more efficient and cost-effective, it is imperative for businesses to embrace digital transformation to lead their respective user market.
If you want more assistance on developing or customizing your business process automation tool, DevTeam.Space can help you. You can get in touch via this quick form, which details your initial business process automation requirements.
One of our technical managers will get back to you to discuss your project’s needs in more detail and connect you with the right software developers who are experienced in business automation.
Top FAQs on Business Process Automation
As the name suggests, business process automation focuses on digitizing the business workflows, whereas business process management is managing these workflows from end to end.
To start with digital transformation effectively, outline business processes that need to be automated and can add value to your employees’ work and potential. Figure out a BPA tool that aligns with your business goals. Onboard your management and train your employees. Finally, monitor the progress and adjust if there is a need.
Business process automation can add value to your business by automating mundane and repetitive tasks, making business processes more efficient, more optimized, less resource consuming, etc. All these benefits, in the long run, drive your business revenues.