Achieving process excellence is critical for any business that wants to evolve and deliver the best values. Although most companies understand it, they get confused when it comes to implementing it. A simple and effective action that businesses can take in this regard is business process automation.
Stocked with many benefits spanning over a broad range of business operations- including cost reduction, error minimization, better service, and improved ROI- automation of business processes is key to developing solid business infrastructure. This article will give you a good understanding of business process automation and how you can implement it in your organization.
What is Business Process Automation
Business process automation is a tech-based process whose aim is to automate complex business processes within an organization. It is a move towards replacing manual effort by ensuring that repetitive and time-intensive business processes can be automated with the use of technology. It frees employees from having to do menial tasks, and lets software take care of those. Benefits? More productivity, more efficiency, better service, and less operating costs!
By using advanced technology to create processes and workflows to automate recurring tasks, businesses can essentially transform their way of working. From complicated IT tasks to simple programs like email marketing, BPA can be used for several processes.r̥egardless of their complexity. The clarity and transparency that BPA brings to a business is a tremendous prospect for every company.
Why Should You Automate Business Processes
In an organization, most employees spend considerable time every day in operations like requesting approvals, tracking updates, revising workflows, and scheduling meetings. When employees are expected to do these manually, it could take up much time. They have to sift through multiple reports, ensure that what they are referring to is the latest version, and spend effort drafting their response/report.
Not only is this time consuming, but it also has significant error rates. By automating such processes, an organization can reduce the risks and improve efficiency. It makes things easier for employees, motivates them to work more productively, and also eliminates errors. So your business will save money while simultaneously improving operational efficiency.
Automation can act as the vehicle for digital transformation for your business. It can standardize operations, streamline processes, and increase employee and customer satisfaction. Some mostly found reasons why businesses carry out automation are:
- Eliminate the time and effort spent in performing routine tasks
- Maintain consistency in processing speed
- Reduce paperwork, manual errors, and minimize costs
- Create improved workflows with a clear hierarchy, accountability, and communication
- Allocate resources more efficiently and consistently
What Business Processes Should You Automate
It is said that in an average organization, about half of the business processes can be automated. Even so, automation of some processes has more value and benefits than others. So the decision of which processes to automate is one that should be taken after considerable thought and study. As a rule of thumb, processes that are time & resource-intensive and prone to errors are chosen for automation.
The factors to consider while choosing which business processes to automate are:
- Nature of tasks: Are the tasks involved in a process mechanical and repetitive? Can they be done without any critical thinking? If the answer is yes, it means automating these manual processes will be worth the effort. It will minimize human errors and allow space for human skills to be used where it’s needed.
- The number of involved people: If a particular process involves a number of people working in different departments and at different hierarchy levels, automation can help to make the workflow smooth and efficient by reducing manual interventions.
- Timelines: If certain processes are to be performed with strict timelines, automation is an excellent choice for them. Automation streamlines tasks, eliminates human-induced delays and results in better turnaround time.
- Interconnection with other processes: When several processes are interconnected, and data from one process is being used by others, it is key to ensure that the accuracy of this data is maintained. Otherwise, it will hamper the working of all the dependent processes.
- Need for compliance: In industries that have to adhere to strict compliance requirements, ensuring that the regulations are met is important. Process automation can help to perform, track, and keep records of processes to meet the industry’s demand for compliance.
Benefits of Business Process Automation Tools
By now, you must be aware that business process automation has several benefits to offer for your organization. Improvements in the business workflow, increase in productivity, reduction in operational costs are some of the benefits you must have already gathered. So, let’s take a more detailed look into the benefits of automation.
Better Employee Satisfaction
Business output is directly related to employee satisfaction. By implementing automation, employees are relieved of mechanical and tedious tasks. This gives them time to focus more on areas where they can utilize their skills. As a result, the employees will be happy and satisfied.
Minimize Human Errors
In manual processes, human errors are unavoidable. Some errors may cause drastic results that can shake the very operation of businesses. It is always best not to take a chance, even if it’s very slight when it comes to sensitive processes. Automating such processes helps to deal with them effectively and save your business from unforeseen accidents.
Reduce Unnecessary Costs
When you embrace automation, you improve the efficiency of employees. Automation lets you allocate resources more mindfully. As a result, you can eliminate unnecessary spending, track wasteful activities and reduce the overhead cost.
Modern automation tools are developed, keeping scalability as a critical component. With automation in place, it is easy for you to envision scaling up your business model. You can be assured that the new requirements will duly be fulfilled with the aid of automation.
The very decision to automate a process demands that you gain more clarity on everything involved in the process. And once implemented, you get more data and reports, which brings further visibility to the process workflow. Improved visibility paves the way for better identification of problems in the working and encourages effective decision making.
Increase Team Efficiency
Most times, where teamwork is involved, it is seen that much time is spent waiting for approvals and follow-ups. This time can be utilized more effectively if such tasks can be automated- ensuring speedy response. The overall team efficiency witnesses visible improvement then.
If a business wants to succeed, delivering consistent outcomes is the only way to do it. Whether it is to your customers or employees, when the interaction with them is consistent, the satisfaction increases tenfold. It also improves the quality of your business operations.
Business Process Automation Use Cases
With a deeper understanding of business process automation, you will get to see how it is quite a broad term. The practical application of process automation requires that capable automation software is chosen to apply automation to the process. Different use cases would require different tools with specific features. Let’s take a look at some of the use cases.
A process that is present in every organization, employee onboarding is more complicated than it would seem to an outsider. Multiple tasks are involved in the process, such as employee information gathering, filling, collecting documents, setting bank accounts, providing induction, assigning report officers, etc. It can result in a lot of paperwork and may get time consuming. The chances of errors or missing information are also high. Automating employee onboarding will help to fasten up the process as well as bring transparency into the entire proceedings.
Similar to employee onboarding, employee offboarding is another process that is significant from an organization perspective. A good onboarding process will result in accurate knowledge transfer as well as give the HR department valuable insights into the pain points employees face in their company. To understand the offboarding process better, we will share with you one of our case studies of a project where we had associated with a Fortune 500 company in the healthcare field to automate their employee onboarding process.
Capital expenditure process
Managing enterprise-wide capital expenditure through manual processes using emails and excel sheets is slow and can be errorful. An organization will have a lot of data to process relating to capital expenditure. Since it is related to the financial aspects, even small errors may turn out to be costly. Automating and streamlining the capital expenditure process is a great way to handle this situation.
A capital budgeting and planning software can provide various benefits like improved visibility, increased accuracy, better policy compliance adherence, and faster processing. Our Capex management solution can help enterprises enhance their workflow and increase productivity.
Plant tour automation
The daily plant tour in most companies involves a manual survey with recordings observed on paper. There are several limitations to this process because of the extent of manual intervention. By digitizing the daily plant tour, companies can benefit in various ways like real time alerts, automatic follow up actions, non-conformity recordings, standard scoring process, etc. It also simplifies reporting and integrates all the sub-processes efficiently.
Employee performance management
In any organization, keeping employees happy and satisfied is a necessary criteria for creating a positive work environment. Assessing employee performance and carrying out appraisals on a regular interval is key in ensuring that you are utilizing the employees’ potential to the best while also keeping them satisfied. However, in large organizations with thousands of employees, it isn’t so easy to carry out.
Employee performance management systems can help to automate appraisals. It can replace the traditional Excel-based process most companies use. By automating the process, timely appraisals can be done with minimal errors and in minimum time. Our Sharepoint based performance management system has been implemented by several big companies with amazing results!
Procurement Management System
A company will have several departments and each department may need to make certain purchases for their smooth functioning. Two aspects involved in procuring a purchase is purchase requisition and purchase order, and together they can be grouped as a procurement management system.
A purchase requisition involves concerned parties raising a purchase request to the authorities. These may include various levels, like approving officers within the department, HR department, purchase department, etc. Once a purchase requisition is approved, a purchase order is created. It includes taking quotations from various sources, identifying the best option, and taking approvals from concerned authorities to proceed with the purchase.
Overall, procurement management tends to be a repetitive task that requires multiple levels of approvals. Carrying it out manually may result in delays, errors, and inaccurate purchases. Automation can help to streamline the entire process and execute it faster. It can enable data recording, improve speed of execution, create transparency and accountability across the entire process.
Simplified and effective communication can help to improve efficiency like nothing else. Automating operations management can help businesses achieve that. A manager can monitor everyone’s tasks and see their progress through a dashboard or similar setup. It helps them identify if anyone is lagging, requires new tasks, has pending tasks, etc. By digitizing this entire workflow, the operations management can execute smoothly.
Customer support is at the crux of every business. Good customer service can help to increase your customer base efficiently. Often, customers get frustrated when they dont get a response from businesses after making a query. Sending automated replies is a great way to handle this. By identifying keywords in the customer query and sending responses that explain the situation under concern, you can communicate with the customer and solve their concerns.
Aufait has worked with a leading airline company in the Middle East to automate their customer support system. We built a comprehensive customer complaint management system which resulted in improved customer satisfaction and increased employee productivity. To know more about this project, take a look at this case study.
Choosing the Right Business Process Automation Software
What are the factors that you should consider while choosing the business process automation software for your organization? It surely depends on your unique requirements, but there are certain things that you can consider in common.
- The automation software would need to integrate with other internal systems and databases in your organization. Ensure that such integration is possible.
- The software should have flexible deployment capabilities. It should support on-premise, cloud, or hybrid deployments as needed.
- The software should have a good user experience. If it is not easy to use, it would be challenging to convince employees to use it.
- Predefine the workflow and approval hierarchy- which is dependent on your organizational hierarchy, i.e, the number of people involved, the standard process followed, etc.
- It is best if the software you choose uses low-code/no-code technology. Today, businesses prefer software that lets them not be excessively dependent on the IT department for every step.
- A responsive design is becoming more and more inevitable. Having mobile responsive software can simplify things to a much more target extent for businesses.
How Aufait Technologies Can Help You Automate Your Business Processes
With our years of experience in the business process automation domain, we are fully equipped to automate any of your business processes. We understand the ins and outs of automation and can help you strategize and execute your requirements in the most efficient manner. We provide features like forms automation, employee self-service, and customer support solutions. We have helped various businesses take the leap towards automation with our expert services.
We also offer process management solutions like employee exit process automation solutions, plant tour automation solutions, performance management systems, IT lease management systems, tender management software, and more! Want to know more about our projects or discuss a new project with us? Contact us right away! We would be happy to assist you!