The Value of Business Process Automation

Written by Pieter Coetzer

On Nov 8, 2019

Background to Business Process Automation

The saying goes that persons living in the past will not own the future. This truth is equally applicable to organizations refusing to adapt to what modern technology offers. In life, and in business, the only constant is change whether we like it or not. The present business world is happening in a fast-paced environment where informed clients expect immediate service.

It is true that bureaucracy and the nature of human beings lead to errors which results in more expenses and more complexity.

One strategy to stay current with in an ever changing business environment is through business process automation. It is a strategy which responds to the current needs of an increasing competitive market.

Business Process Automation requires the optimal use of technology to execute recurring tasks or processes to enable the replacement of manual effort. Routine tasks performed with great frequency fall in the category of Business Process Automation or BPA. Increased automation reduces the possibility of errors and enhances the image of professionalism of the organization. The aim of BPA is to achieve cost minimization, enhanced efficiency and greater productivity.

Studies undertaken by various management consulting firms have shown that only a small minority of organizations have embarked on workflow automation to achieve process excellence. These are critical aspects for customer satisfaction and to grow revenue.

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There is an initial cost associated with BPA, but the long-term benefits makes the effort worthwhile. The rest of the article will be dedicated to the benefits of BPA.

Associated Benefits of BPA

Reduction in Operational Costs

Technology allows for the digital signing of documents, signing of contracts and the management of organizational expenses. Human beings are prone to making mistakes and rectification of errors costs businesses a large amount every year. The larger the rate of error the larger is the cost of rectification.

Process automation increases both speed and reliability of task implementation, development and support. Process automation cuts down on the number of human resources required leading to more savings.

Manual tasks take time to complete and consistency in performance is problematic for human resources. Automation frees up time to concentrate on core business functions. More gets done in the same period of time.

Deliver superior customer service

The time to respond to a customer request is reduced with automated customer service. Public holidays are no longer a constraint.

Enterprises implementing customer self service receives a more favourable perception from millennials who demand instant gratification over long telephonic conversations.

Technicians are in a better position to deliver optimal service as they have access to customer service history

Support staff is not bogged down with endless searches for client records which normally leads to customer dissatisfaction. With the aid of tracking numbers customers are able to view where their orders are in the process without the aid of emails or service calls.

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Improve Productivity

Some tasks are recurring regular tasks and are highly predictable. The automation of such tasks will provide employees with more time at their disposal and reduce the risk of important tasks being neglected.

The backing up of data is an important routine that cannot be neglected. Data has become an asset to the organization. The variety in data requires that backups be completed at different intervals, i.e. daily, weekly, monthly, annually. A strategy for backing up data needs to be developed so that the actual task of backing up the data is left to a system.

Computers are far better at data entry than human beings. Batch jobs can run in the background or at night when humans are asleep. Operational performance is improved, and turnaround times are reduced.

Enterprises who have implemented BPA have a competitive advantage over their competitors both in operability and reliability. Work continuity is enhanced while process automation reduces operative costs and increases speed and reliability.

Businesses failing to adapt to next generation consumer demands face the risk of a negative customer journey which will ultimately affect the business bottom line

Governance is Enforced

Tasks that follows an automated process are always documented. Every task has a clear log, declares what was done and who was involved in the process. Automated processes enables visibility and status reports provide the feedback required for optimal efficiency.

Oversight of manual processes is difficult for it is not always clear how far a task has progressed. Automated processes on the other hand is predictable and control is easier enforced. Complexity is decreased by process consolidation and the reduction of required steps. This leads to an easier enforcement of a required compliance framework. The availability of sensitive data is limited on a need-to-know basis, keeping data more secure.

Improved Measurement Ability

With more data provided by process automation, the measurement of a variety of metrics and key performance indicators becomes more easily. It becomes easier to find problems and short comings.

Sustaining business success requires the development and implementation of a superior business strategy. To retain a competitive advantage requires that a strategy be constantly monitored, evaluated and modified. This dependant on the availability of measuring metrics and accurate business data. The best decisions can be made based on a holistic picture rather than based on incomplete records.

Improved Ability to Scale and Grow

Increased growth of an enterprise is often hampered by the inability to scale manual processes. By transferring the manual workload to automated processes, productivity and efficiency will increase without the addition of costly human resources. Automated business-critical processes will better prepare the enterprise to scale the business.

Conclusion

The list above is far from comprehensive or complete. Much more can be said on the topic of Business Process Automation. For instance the topic of Artificial Intelligence has not been touched.

From the listed benefits it is not difficult to see that paper-based manual operations are cumbersome and costly. The world is changing, and business owners must have the vision to adapt to the rapidly changing world. Business is not going to get easier and competition is going to grow more fiercely.

We at Caracal Software Solutions have a mobile workforce solution for client-facing service organizations. Part of our implementation is the linking and automation of business processes. We also integrate with other packages such as accounting and purchasing to further automate business processes.

You are welcome to contact us for further discussions.  Email me at pieter@caracalsolutions.co.za

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