Monday, we posted a blog about an introduction to business process automation. Although this was a beginning, this is not all that you should know about BPA. So, today we are going to go over some more things you should know about BPA to help you understand more about it.
Steps to Take to Get Started with Business Process Automation
Even though there’s going to be variation in the way that business process automation will be deployed in an organization, there are steps that every business should take. Even though some businesses might choose to deploy it across their organization all at once, a lot of companies find that it’s easier and much more productive to begin using automation at a department level. Below are some steps that that you can use to begin using business process automation.
Outline & Match the Goals of Your Business – First, you need to figure out the processes that you want to automate and prioritize them based on the degree to which they are going to push forward your short term and long-term goals in your business.
Begin Small – You want to review one of the process maps, maybe one that the team’s developed or maybe from one of the BPM systems. Then you want to select a process that contains lots of repetitive tasks as well as provides many opportunities for cost and time savings to automate at the beginning. Client onboarding, employee onboarding, basic support for customers or managing a loyalty program all are good places that you can begin. You want to think big. However, you also want to do the work slowly, using small steps. When you begin with the simpler tasks also will let your team to get the confidence and experience to deploy automation.
Assess & Choose BPA Tools – Select the BPA tools that you need – standalone systems such as BPMS or embedded in a CRM or ERP systems – based on the tasks that are revealed in the previous step.
Search for Ways You can Streamline Certain Processes – Will things such as marketing automation, automated forms or automating the order confirmation messages make work easier or faster for employees?
Merge Data & Other Software – Pull information automatically into your process and ensure the data that’s being pulled is complete, relevant and accurate.
Change Management – Receive input from those business lines that are affected to make sure that the automation’s making sense for the workflows. Secure their support early during in your automation efforts to make things easier.
Automate – Use those right tools to turn the automation on for those processes that you took time to identify and prioritize.
Test – When you are using automation, it’s going to do things correctly or incorrectly without any fail, and it will be done repeatedly. So, you want to make sure that it’s working as you expect and that the results you’re looking for are generated.
Receive Feedback – You want to reach out to the business lines and users to make sure the automation’s helping rather than hurting their specific tasks and work.
Set Metrics Up & Monitor Them – Measure the effectiveness and benefits of the automation and then tweak your processes as is needed.
Phases of Business Process Automation
There are four general types of BPA and four general business process automation phases. The types are differentiated by complexity and the phases by function. It is common for a company to use BPA in several types and phases, as opposed to a unified state. That is, the individual processes often come in many phases and types.
4 Business Process Automation Types
- Entry-Level – Low level automation, repetitive and basic processes and tasks
- Intermediate – Things like calculations using the data that’s pulled from multiple fields and forms that is common when completing a tax form or offering call center customer service.
- RPA – Automation that’s for just about all or all of the process
- Hyperautomation – Automation that is end-to-end which combines a few automation technologies.
4 BPA Project Phases
- Analyzation – Reviewing the infrastructure of the organization
- Implementation – Setting up and customizing the technologies
- Integration – Using integration tools such as API for combining workflows and data for supporting automation.
- Maintenance & Support – Correcting flows, removing bottlenecks, repairing any breakages, refining and streamlining processes.
Business Process Automation Tool Benefits
Tools from BPA make it simpler to automate tasks, without necessary manual input, to use labor resources efficiently and cut the operational costs. These tools often will include templates that can be followed b the team for automating common processes, and this adds simplicity and consistency.
Best Practices for Business Process Automation
You always want to learn from those who have gone before when you’re planning to deploy a technology. Below are some practices that can help you with deploying BPA.
- Smart Small but Think Big – Focus on taking the small steps when you deploy automation that are going move you steadily towards completing your bigger picture. But all the while, think of your whole picture instead of the parts you’d like to automate while developing the strategy.
- Get Your Data Organized – BPA’s will only be as effective as that data it’s running on. Therefore, you want to make sure the data’s complete, clean and that you haven’t closed it off in silos. Make sure you’re standardizing data forms and fields, like abbreviations for addresses and other kinds of variations. Not only that but get rid of outdated and duplicate data. It’s a lot easier if you’re dealing with those issues in the beginning.
- Streamline Processes First with BPM – BPM software’s made for organizing and optimizing business processes. It also can help with pinpointing the gaps between and in processes which need to be integrated with your other processes or access to data.
- Leverage Your ERP System – Fill the gaps in between processes and pull the data and processes together across business lines by taking advantage of your ERP system. This already serves as your company’s central database. You also can access some tools for automation in the ERP that can be integrated with IoT devices.
- Make Continuous Improvement Your Goal – Automation’s not something that you can set and forget. It should be your goal for the BPA to run smoothly without a lot of human intervention. However, it has to be changed constantly so that you remain competitive. So you want to review your automation and processes on a regular basis to figure out those improvements you want to make next.
Examples of BPA
There are many different ways that you can use business process automation But to help you with seeing how it can be used in your business, we are going to show you some of the most common ways that it is used. Below are 6 common examples of BPA that many companies use.
- Knowledge Assets Using Chatbots– BPA will automate the choice of answers to typical questions that are asked by customers, which makes self-service a very efficient employee assistance tool. This can help with reducing the need for a lot of employees in HR and support, since there’s no need for responding to common, basic questions. It also can reduce the amount of time that’s spent on searching for the documents in HR or customer service, which leads to more savings.
- Employee Onboarding – Onboarding processes that are automated can help with ensuring that a business meets the requirements for compliance regarding the legal notices that employers have to provide employees and the identification documents that employees have to provide. Additional typical onboarding tasks are able to be completed with BPA. For instance, it can push the benefit plans to a new employee and deliver a variety of options. Finally, it can send the person the documentation for their chosen plan.
- Customer Support – An agent in customer support is able to access all necessary product and customer information instantly so they can efficiently help customers with resolving problems. With automated emails and chatbots, some of the support issues can be entirely resolved using automation.
- Ledgers – BPA is able to add the data to balance sheets and ledgers, which can eliminate the need for adding the information into each. For instance, it can automatically add the inventory receipts to the balance sheet’s asset column and the company’s inventory ledger.
- Accounts Payable – When a company receives new inventory and it’s checked to make sure it’s accurate and in good condition, BPA can ensure that it’s send to accounts payable and resolve the process.
- Employee Scheduling – BPA is able to automate the scheduling of employees based on the cuts in payroll budget, market factors, projected activity in sales and other kinds of factors. Not only that, but BPA is able to notify the employees of the schedule and record their performance metrics, absence or presence accordingly.
As you can see, business process automation can go a long way to helping your company to run more efficiently, save money, and give your customers much better customer service. We work with Service Autopilot and use it for our business along with our clients. If you are intersted in knowing more about what we can offer, contact us to find out more. Feel free to follow us on Facebook, too.