Business Process Automation

Gary
Gary
2nd April 2020

Business Process Automation

All companies want to utilize their resources as much as possible. If a company can make substantial profits while reducing their operational expenses, then their goal is achieved.

Technology continues to be a great way for companies to solve challenging problems that humans cannot solve alone. Whenever technology is used to solve a major problem, several minor issues get solved along with it.

If a company is going to stay competitive in the 21st century, then it must utilize all available resources by putting the right strategies in place. Business process automation is the newest way in which companies avoid wasting their precious resources.

The advantage of business process automation is that several important tasks can be performed without requiring manual input. Many companies have information technology departments that utilize automation technology regularly in order to use resources more efficiently and effectively. Meanwhile, their operational expenses are reduced because they’re not wasting any resources.

There are countless advantages to process automation. Any new or existing business can benefit immensely by establishing process automation in it. Let’s explore the reason why.

Overview of Business Process Automation

Business process automation is when technology is utilized to boost productivity and reduce expenses through automated business processes. Do not confuse business process automation with industrial automation. The former is when business workflows and processes are automated, while the latter cuts down on physical labour by automating various work-related tasks. An example of a work-related task is product assembly.

You can automate a particular process if the following applies:

  • It is repetitive
  • It must have zero errors
  • There is no need for human thought to be applied to the work
  • It can be a consistent process throughout the entire organization

Business process automation is associated with business process management, which is a bigger branch. Business process automation merely targets specific activities within the many other activities of business process management. All these other activities of business process management pertain to things like planning and execution. It also manages several individual and simultaneous business processes.

The Main Principles

Business process automation has several key principles which must be followed in the organization. They are as follows:

Understand, Simplify and Automate

Don’t bring automation into the company until you understand and evaluate the current system. After you acquire an understanding of the system, the next step is to simplify it as much as possible. Once you’re finished, you can then introduce automation into the organization. But you should only introduce automation if needed badly.

Integrate with Current Processes

Each business process is different than each other. If you have an automated process, then it must integrate with current processes without any issues. You can implement the integration at any point within the automation process. However, the automation processes have to function flawlessly within the organization.

Constancy

The automated processes and other processes must remain consistent together, including all related outputs and inputs.

Stages

You don’t have to automate all the required tasks at the same time. Consider your budget and the logic and resources of your business processes. Now think of ways to split up the job into many different steps or stages.

Flexibility

Business processes never stay the same. As time goes on, there will be changes to the processes. That is why you need flexible automation solutions that can represent these changes as they occur.

Easiness

Automation is supposed to simplify business processes. Human interference should not be needed for any business process after automation is finished. If human interference is needed, then there is a problem.

Training

The ensure business processes stay functional, the staff members must be trained to understand the process and workflow. That way, the workflow can function better. Automation is all about digitalizing documents and simplifying processes in order to make them transparent and efficient.

The Advantages of Business Process Automation

Lower Operational Expenses

It is expensive to run a business. With automation, you can significantly reduce a lot of your expenses in order to boost profits. Unfortunately, many business people have difficulties in selecting which tasks to automate. The best way to figure that out is by choosing tasks which don’t require any human thought. If the tasks can be completed by following a series of predictable steps, then they can be automated.

Small to medium-sized businesses can benefit the most from automation because they have limited human resources for assigning jobs. Bigger businesses have more human workers to tackle various jobs. Automation can tackle most jobs involving paper processes.

It is easy to process documents these days. People can do things like sign documents and contracts digitally, and use software to manage their company’s income and expenses. Trello is one software solution which makes it easier for companies to manage their workflows. There are also accounting software programs like Zoho and Quickbooks that make it easy for employers to pay their employees and suppliers.

Of course, people make mistakes all the time. These mistakes cost businesses lots of money each year. The more errors that need to be rectified, the more expenses that are incurred by the business. Just a tiny misconfiguration may subject a business to attacks or interrupt the flow of the business processes.

By integrating automation, you can guarantee accuracy and efficiency in these processes. If people no longer have to complete basic tasks by themselves because of automation, then you can have those people use their brains for something more strategic and important for the organization.

Offer High-Quality Customer Service

Major technological innovations have changed the function of customer service in the workplace. Experts predict that automated customer service will account for 85% of the interactions in which customers have with companies in 2020. Automated customer service eliminates human support representatives and allows for accurate and faster information to be given to customers. Meanwhile, the companies save money on the operating costs of customer service.

Artificial intelligence allows companies to create a fully functional automated customer service agent that can answer any question immediately. It can also provide additional backend information to the human team that works behind the scenes.

The speed and accuracy of automated customer service will make it better for customers because they don’t need to wait a long time for help. In fact, customers can still receive accurate customer support 24 hours per day, seven days per week. They can even receive help on public holidays too.

Chatbots can answer customer queries immediately. Human support, on the other hand, often takes longer and they don’t always know the right answer. Sometimes customers are forced to wait for hours to get help from a human customer support agent. Now that is no longer necessary because of the automated support systems in place.

Artificial intelligence technology has gotten so much more advanced over the last decade. It won’t be long before virtual assistants can track the actions of your customers and figure out their wants and needs. If you can figure out what your customers want, then your chatbots can provide live support or display the appropriate frequently asked questions and answers to them.

For instance, one big concern is product abandonment amongst customers. If a company can learn why customers abandon certain products at higher rates than others, then it will be easier to reduce the number of future customer complaints while enhancing the level of customer satisfaction at the same time. Then there won’t be such high rates of product abandonment.

It costs companies a lot of money to hire new staff members because they have to be trained thoroughly. After a while, the costs of training and hiring increase each year. If you use artificial intelligence for your company’s automation needs, then your employees can receive the necessary information to ensure their success in closing whatever deals they’re working on. The great thing about IBM Watson and other automated platforms is they’re programmed to have domain knowledge, which means you don’t need to train them more than one time.

Enhance Productivity

Certain recurring tasks like scheduling reminders and bill payments are predictable and don’t require humans to perform them anymore. Automated technology can be used to handle these kinds of repetitive tasks, so employees can devote more of their time to work on more important things for the company.

Every business has bills that must be paid regularly. Automation allows you to set up automated bill payments, so your bills get paid on schedule each month or at whatever frequency you want. You just need to specify the amount, the frequency, the company bank account information and the name of the payee. Once the automated payments are set up, you will never need to worry about late fees every again because your payments will always be made on time.

Standard tasks can be generated through automation, such as rent payments and weekly reports. It is important to back up your data periodically. There is no asset more important for a business than data. Various kinds of data must be treated differently. Sometimes you need to backup your data daily, and other times you need to back it up monthly or weekly. When you have automation technology present, you must simply create data backup strategies. Once you set up the backup system, it will be responsible for backing up data on its own.

Does your company want to build a greater social media presence on platforms like Instagram and Facebook? If you want to achieve this goal without hiring employees or spending a lot of time on social media yourself, then you can set up an automated process where blog posts get published automatically to those social media websites.

Email filters can be set up to organize your emails automatically, according to the types of emails they are. You can separate emails and organize them by their subject, site, or sender names. Labels can be added to emails automatically in order to make it easier to figure out which emails to delete later on.

Enhance the Morale of Your Employees

All industries must aim to maximize output, no matter if it is the healthcare industry, manufacturing industry, or food services industry. Higher productivity levels can be achieved by making employees work longer hours. Unfortunately, employee morale will be negatively affected by this.

One very serious problem is customer disengagement. According to a recent study, American businesses lose about $300 billion each year because of customer disengagement. If you have employee disengagement, then you have employees that don’t try very hard to help customers.

You can enhance employee engagement if you can make them feel better about their work. If you make your employees perform repetitive tasks all day long, then they’ll start to feel like they don’t bring value to your company.

If employers utilize automation technology to perform repetitive tasks, then employees can devote their time toward more meaningful tasks. A recent Smartsheet report revealed that 69% of employees believe automation reduces wasted time in the workplace, while 59% of employees believe they could save over 6 hours each week if automation performed repetitive tasks for them.

If employees can start focusing on more important work, then managers should introduce them to the strategic objectives of the organization. Employees can then use their brains to come up with innovative ideas to help the company succeed.

Governance Enforcement

You can enforce governance in the workplace through automation. If an automated process finishes a task, it is usually documented. Logs are created for each task, which specify the task that was done, when the task was done, and who did the task. Automation does a lot to reduce the chance of human errors from happening while speeding up the completion of repetitive tasks.

Service accounts can automate jobs without directly accessing any managed systems. This allows officials, such as system managers, to simply keep track of each task on just one screen interface.

The success of modern organizations is due to business process automation. It is used for workflow platforms, Electronic Document Management Systems, and Enterprise Content Management Systems. But no matter how much you use business process automation, you must consider information governance.

Previously, on-site automation solution setups needed to have expensive licensing and installations. That was why most companies did not want to use them. Now there is cloud automation, which offers a reduced initial commitment, lower setup time, and a smaller footprint.

Business Process Automation Using CheckFlow

An easy-to-use workflow management tool named CheckFlow was created to assist businesses in creating, enhancing, and executing their workflows. Digital checklists could be used to document workflows and develop actionable workflows instantly, where tasks are assigned to various members of the team. The whole process is automated, and the workflows are tracked in real-time. That way, there is an assurance that the workflows are executed each time properly.

The whole idea here is to reduce the chance of human error and to have more accountability in the organization. Most importantly, process automation offers all the appropriate information and tools to employees so that they can accomplish their tasks quickly and effectively.

The checklist mentions the various details of each task. The details are written in text format, sub-checklists, rich media, and other form fields. This makes it easier for employees to see all the relevant information and to know what is required precisely.

The template editing system of CheckFlow lets you modify the workflow in case you need to make changes later. You can make fast and easy edits without interfering with any of your current workflows.

CheckFlow has integrated with Zapier to connect with more than 1,000 third-party applications. Then you can establish automation rules between the third-party tools and the CheckFlow platform in order to expand their potential.

Conclusion

If you implement automation properly, you can make your business processes more accurate and efficient. Then your employees can devote more of their time toward working on important tasks rather than on repetitive tasks that waste time.