Technology is an enabler for Business Process Automation (BPA) and it can automate processes or workflows to a point where human interventions are no longer required. BPA helps companies streamline processes and it’s not just about replacing paper with PDFs – it aims to make processes more cost-efficient, error-proof, and transparent.
Not every business is a good fit for automation, so it’s important for companies to determine what can be automated and what needs to be manual. Companies start by looking at their strategic and operating drivers for process improvement within their organizations and industries. For instance, today almost all companies feel pressured to get goods to market quickly and to be the first to market whenever possible. In a highly competitive environment, companies must also economize their operations to improve their margins, since it’s not ideal to raise prices frequently.
Thus, companies look to automate business processes that are time and resource intensive, subject to human error, and that can be accelerated with automated process improvements achievable through machines and technology.
The major advantages of BPA can be improvement in revenue capture, reduced operating expenses, improved margins, and much more.
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency.
The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” – Bill Gates
Critical Elements of BPA
Business rules, logic, and data (structured and unstructured) are the critical drivers of BPA. Business rules and logic include reasons, data, and documents that support the business parameters. Structured data is the information referenced when making process updates, while unstructured data is more subjective and usually text heavy. The sources for this may vary from company to company.
Businesses rely on a few basic practices that are most likely to succeed in their BPA efforts as they automate their workflows. These are generic practices and almost always apply.
Clear understanding of the tasks involved along with who is responsible and when each task needs to be executed.
2: Defining goals
Clearly define the business and operational goals to be achieved by automating the process.
3: Measure results per phase
Introducing or implementing automation in phases and setting targets to help the enterprise analyze the results in phases and to make decisions that are timely and impactful
4: Employee Training
Training is an important aspect of automation. Automation benefits the company but at the same time benefits the employees. Unless the employees can use the new process efficiently the company will not realize the full benefit of BPA.
5: Human Failover Provision
A human failover option is always recommended so that the company can continue to function even when automation is disrupted.
Following these basic best-practices will help ensure that your enterprise realizes the full potential offered by Business Process Automation.