Introduction to Business Process Automation

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business process automation

A business that is well-run will always be analyzing their business processes as well as looking for ways that they can be more efficient. The business will also look for ways that they can change, eliminate, review, replace, or update the processes regularly to keep its business activities over its departments aligned with the business goals. This process management will rely on accessing metrics, monitoring them and then analyzing them, as well as consistently updating and training the managers.

What’s BPA (Business Process Automation)?

Business process automation means using technology to take over or help with repetitive, manual processes or tasks.  It can generate major gains in efficiency, saving a business money and time, reducing errors, and increasing transparency. It can take a variety of forms and it’s something which can drive the results for those companies across many industries and over the companies’ departments. BPA’s most effective executing repeatable, mundane tasks that aren’t the best way to use an employee’s skills or time.

Business Process Automation Advantages

  • Helps Reduce Costs – It helps to increase efficiency, reduce payroll and other related costs.
  • Increases the Visibility of Processes – Those budding problems that aren’t visible early often grow and become more costly when you address them later.
  • Standardizes Processes – It cuts the time, the effort, and the money that you spend on finding the information in the non-standardized fields and forms, helping to complete costs and make sure that they’re compliant with external regulations and internal requirements, along with other benefits.
  • Improves Compliance – For instance, human inequities and error are reduced. Each process will be completed the exact same way based on the compliance rules that are set.
  • Simplifies Processes – Many times processes will continue for a long time in a certain way because it’s the way it’s always been done. But new changes and technologies in the market or business might require a way to work that’s more agile. When processes are simplified, this can help you to meet that goal.
  • Improves Accountability – Accountability’s improved due to regular reporting and increased visibility. This lets you see just where everything’s standing, if there’s a bottleneck, and what or who’s causing it.
  • Increases Efficiency – Automation will complete tasks a lot faster and with much fewer errors when compared with humans. This reduces error resolutions and queue waits.
  • Decreases or Eliminates Human Errors – Humans are prone to making errors. But automation will perform the process exactly the same way without errors or deviations. You just have to make sure that the processes gets updated as necessary to make sure that it’s performing the way it’s needed.
  • Keeps the Improvement Processes Aligned with the Goals of the Corporation – A common mantra of business is to doing more using less. When processes are sped up, efficiency is improved, errors are reduced, compliance is improved and costs are reduced, BPA can enable improvements in business processes that are aligned closely with the goals of the corporation. This goes anywhere from improving the edge over the competition to keeping on budget.
  • Enables 24-hour Customer & Employing-Facing Services – Employees and customers often work and live in various time zones. Manning a 24/7 office so that you can offer constant full services would be far too costly. Automation’s a very affordable and efficient ways that you can provide service constantly to everyone, no matter where they live and no matter what their schedule is.

BPA doesn’t just help your company avoid adding a headcount when it’s growing, but it also can help with augmenting your employees’ work. It also helps with increasing employee satisfaction. When your employees are spending more time on their jobs’ rewarding and interesting aspects, satisfaction and productivity rises, as does employee retention.

What’s RPA?

RPA, or Robotic Process Automation’s a kind of automation which relies on rules that are user-determined to complete a task. RPA completes tasks time and time again and doesn’t make exceptions or become smarter as time goes by. Because of this, it’s not ‘intelligent automation’. It’s best to be used for repetitive, basic processes. This can be things like robots assembling cars or a rule in the system that flags orders over $500 for approval.

RPA can provide a company with a lot of benefits. The ROI for a first-year deployment can range from 30%-200% and are gained mostly from the savings in labor.

BPA Versus RPA

RPA’s a kind of BPA. However, there are a few differences between the two.

BPA  RPA

Augments human workers’ efforts

Does the work of an employee

Can’t adapt to a changing circumstance

Can adapt to a changing circumstance

 

BPA is able to eliminate those jobs that usually entail repetitive tasks such as filling forms out. However, it’s unable to figure out if changes need to be made to processes or business goals.

RPA isn’t some souped-up type of BPA. Instead the main difference between them is RPA will usually envision complex processes and RPA tackles simpler things which require time but don’t have to.

5 Key Business Process Automation Use Cases

BPA can be applied in a broad range of areas and could improve the efficiency of countless tasks. However, there are some commonalities between use cases that may help identify where to use BPA.

 

In general, any process that has any of the below characteristics is one that can be done with business process automation:

  • Large repetitive task amounts
  • Processes that are high touch which usually involve multiple people
  • Processes that are time sensitive (these are tied to a deadline, circumstance or event)
  • Audit trails are needed (audits, compliance, security and others)
  • Processes that have a big impact on deadlines, departments or other processes.

Which Business Processes Can a Business Automate?

You can automate business processes based on specific workflows or roles that are ready to automate. When process automation is simplified by role, a CFO, a CIO, or a CEO or business managers are able to automate a lot of their day to day or weekly tasks a lot more easily.

Another way that a business can determine what should be automated is grouped or related processes. One example of this is pre-configured roles and prebuilt reports in the business intelligence metrics and dashboards for guiding automation. Another is intelligent phased implementation, and this focuses on process automation that are incremental, and these progress without a lot of disruption to the business.

Which Functions are Able to Use Business Process Automation?

There’s two types of functions in a business – support and core. The support functions are the secondary activities which support core functions. Core functions are those activities which lead to the business’s income.

A lot of steps in support and core functions, like accounts payable, call centers, management of supply chains, and accounts receivable are able to be automated using BPA for reducing costs and increasing efficiencies.

The support functions are those that are often insourced, near-sourced or outsourced by those firms who want to solely focus on doing activities that will produce revenue. These are things like administrative duties such as payroll and HR, marketing, sales, and distribution/logistics. However, a lot of support functions a company can consider using BPA for, and this can decrease or completely eliminate the costs of outsourcing.

What Industries are Using Business Process Automation?

The majority of industries are using business process automation for managing things such as knowledge assets, workflows, data flows, projects, self-service portals and portfolios. Those industries that are relying heavily on BPA are health care, manufacturing, telecommunications and banking.

Automating processes first came out in manufacturing and it’s still prominent there. but almost all of the industries use some automation to help their business.

Another department that often will use business process automation is customer service. According to Forrester, a research firm, customer service will commonly use RPA as a short-term and tactical approach to digitize the common tasks done by agents. Not only that, but it’s also reported by Forrester that companies that are in other kinds of industries that focus on improving their customer service will use BPA in order to help them achieve that goal.

HR departments will also often use a type of process automation in order to speed up and simplify self-service and onboarding tools for the employees. Colleges and universities use BPA to make it more efficient and improve employee and student experiences. BPA is able to manage things from dorm assignments and calls to the medical services and meal plans.

This is just part one of our look at BPA. Wednesday we will be finishing our look at BPA and how it can help your business. If you are intersted in any of our services or learning abous how we can help your business with automation, please contact us.

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