The Pandemic has shown that Enterprises can bring drastic changes in a short span of time. There is always this question as to how did Enterprises scale up their digital transformation efforts in such a short time? And in some sense we owe it to automation and the advancement of technology. The pandemic has led many business leaders to think creatively and accelerate digital transformation in the organizations to deliver solutions faster than ever before. Many enterprises started to adopt various Rapid automation techniques such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial intelligence (AI), Business Process Automation (BPA), etc. to meet the growing needs of the consumer and clients. These automation techniques have saved a lot of time for businesses and enterprises that spent previous minutes of production involving the boring repetitive manual tasks that are now completed with the help of computers. Let’s dig a little deeper into Business Process Automation and understand how it is helping businesses become more efficient.
What is Business Process Automation?
Before we get into the details of how we can make the systems more effective and our processes more efficient. Let us clearly define what Business Process Automation(BPA) is.
Gartner defines Business Process Automation as the automation of complex business processes and functions beyond conventional data processing and record-keeping. It involves running core business processes that are event driven, and often critical in nature as opposed to running simple data maintenance tasks.
BPA accelerates the way a business functions across different departments and teams to get the work done faster and efficiently. It assists greatly in streamlining the various processes involved in any organization, be it onboarding an employee, planning a marketing campaign, managing vendor payments, etc. BPA gets a lot of the boring repetitive tasks done in no time using custom designed rules and actions, and the best part is that it gets the work done as and when expected without any dependence on human resources.
Business Process Automation Examples
Here are a few helpful use cases which businesses and enterprises can implement to manage the business process in their organizations more efficiently.
There is a lot of paperwork and repetitive mundane tasks involved in the recruitment process in any organization. Right from posting about the job to finally hiring the desired candidate there is a lot that goes on.
Recruitment process Example – The paperwork involving the recruitment process is quite a lengthy process. Unless we learn to automate certain simple tasks like auto populating application data and disqualifying candidates who don’t meet the set standard; we cannot make the process more efficient. While the sample process above may not be the ideal automation process, we’d like to leave you with ways to think about automating certain tasks to make it easy for everyone.
Temporary Entry/Exit Access
When an employee forgets his keycard to enter the office building or infrastructure. The security team ensures that there is a thorough filing of paperwork to issue a temporary keycard to provide the right access areas on it. Here is snippet of the process.
Access Key example – if you forget your access key, it becomes a tedious task to get a temporary key again. But if the process was automated with an app on the phone. There’s nothing like it. You can save precious minutes of the day and escape the frustration of not being able to get things done on time by automating the process of temporary keycards using a mobile app. Forgetting the keycard at your desk and going back for it, all of these can be avoided if we streamline and automate the entry and exit to the office premises.
Managing Vendor Payments
Many times organizations and enterprises rely on vendors to accomplish some tasks that they are not an expert in or need additional hands on deck for. This could be organizing a welcome kit, or getting a birthday gift delivered to an employee, etc. While the tasks get completed as expected, the payments sometimes become a hiccup as the approvals become a roadblock.
Vendor Payment Example – Dealing with the finance team can sometimes be a challenge. And going back and forth between the managers and finance team for approvals could be a time consuming task when you want to just get the work done and want to skip drafting emails every time you have to place a request from vendors. Developing an automation tool that everyone can use makes it easy for everyone.
Key considerations to implement Business Process Automation
Implementation of a Business Process Automation involves careful planning and execution to effectively automate tasks in a business function. Having a systematic approach will enable business leaders and developers to see through the changes needed to automate business processes. Let’s look at a step-by-step breakdown of how to implement an effective Business Process Automation.
Analyse Process Thoroughly
The First step before we implement any Business Process Automation is to understand the need for it. For that, we will need to understand the complete process and anticipate where automation can be of help. Understanding every step of the process will reveal inconsistencies and challenges which automation might be able to solve. Laying out the complete step-by-step process will give us a clear actionable area we can work towards.
Identify the Tasks to be Automated
Once we have a thorough understanding of the steps that are involved in the business functionality. We can then move towards identifying the challenges or opportunities where we can minimize the human effort and leverage automation. List down the specific task that can be automated no matter how small of a task it may be. When we compound these little tasks through automation we can be assured that the process will become more efficient.
Outline the Objectives
Once we have the list of the tasks that can be automated. We can then move towards defining the objectives of the automation system that will be in place. This will help all the stakeholders to have a clear understanding of how the business process will change and relieve themselves of the automated tasks. Outlining the objectives of the automated systems will also provide the IT team to develop the automation tool accordingly.
Once we have identified, outlined and have the automation system in place, it is vital to communicate the same with the teams involved. Ensuring that a clear understanding about the process and conducting training sessions to the team will enable them to use the tools effectively and manage their work efficiently.
There is always a testing phase to check if the automation systems are working as expected and determine if they are an effective method to manage work more efficiently. Parameters like the Task Completion Time, or employee satisfaction, overall turn around time, etc. are valuable insights to measure the effectiveness of the automation systems. And since these systems are not meant to be static and change constantly with the business requirements, we can always tweak the system to produce better results.
Advantages of Business Process Automation
- Digital Transformation – We are entering into a world which is technology driven, and BPA is here to accelerate the process of using technology to get the work done. Most businesses, if not all, are focusing on leveraging technology to accelerate digital transformation, and BPA is a step toward making that happen.
- Efficiency – Business Process Automation helps teams and organizations to save time on manual tasks through automation. The automation of any task will not only save precious minutes of the employees but also increase the overall efficiency and productivity of the organization.
- Accuracy – As there is very little room for human intervention in the Business Process Automation. We can be assured of a high level of accuracy as a result of human involvement being at a minimum.
- Job Satisfaction – Many times, employees get frustrated doing the same old mundane tasks of the day. However, with the introduction of Business Process Automation, there is a sigh of relief amongst the employees. BPA helps employees focus on the more challenging tasks that require their intellect and gives them the satisfaction of accomplishing other productive tasks.
- Growth – The time saved up through automation of tasks can help the organization focus on brainstorming to improve processes or bring in new ideas for better solutions. This would increase productivity and place the organization on the path of growth.
Business Process Automation is sure to accelerate growth and save a lot of time at organizations provided they implement BPA effectively. Understanding the daily tasks and various business processes that are involved in the running of the business is key to picking up on opportunities to resolve challenges through automation. While automating complex tasks might seem like a challenging task at hand, implementing Business Process Automation in a systematic manner will surely make it an easy process.