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Automation of Business Processes - A Beginner's Guide

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Automation is the process of using technology to streamline everyday business practices. Digital business process automation is more than simply moving from paper-based to electronic processes; it involves using artificial intelligence (AI) to complete some of your more routine or complex tasks to improve business process efficiencies and increase productivity.

Here’s what you need to know about automation.

The Value of Automation

Automation increases efficiency and saves your company money. Automating business practices frees up valuable staff time that can be used to produce higher work volumes, invest in professional development, and build business development.

Over half of all employees report they could save up to two hours per day if portions of their jobs were automated. Business leaders estimate their time savings could be even higher – up to three hours per day. When you calculate the monetary value of your employees’ time, the potential for cost savings and business growth is impressive.

The Benefits of Business Process Automation

1. Increased Productivity

Automating cumbersome tasks with digital business process automation saves employees time and allows them to prioritize other work, increasing productivity.

It also helps provide a better employee experience by removing redundancy in their work.

2. Increased efficiency and accuracy

Introducing business process automation brings about improved efficiency by achieving the best outcome with minimal effort. When predefined processes are performed without the effort of the employees, the chances of error also come down drastically.

3. Reduced costs

Manually executing all business processes causes wastage of resources and loss of profit. Automating processes can help reduce resource usage and hence, cost. Resources are used optimally and wastage is eliminated.

4. Provides auditable records

Managing data and documents can be extremely time-consuming and increase the chances of error. Automation streamlines record-keeping and simplifies data access. Data moves smoothly between processes, increasing productivity as well.

5. Enhanced customer service

Digital business process automation speeds up product or service delivery to customers. It also increases the quality and efficiency of these transactions to a large extent.

Latest innovations in automation such as chatbots powered by AI help resolve customer queries quickly and accurately, enhancing the customer experience.

6. Increased Transparency

By automating processes, companies can increase visibility and transparency into their business operations. KPIs can be established to measure the success of your established processes. It also encourages accountability among the workforce.

7. Business Process Compliance

Businesses have to comply with internal and external policies and regulations. A lack of compliance can prove very costly for organizations. When scaling up business processes, the chances of error also scale up immensely.

This is where automation can help. Automating processes and removing the human interaction in these processes can largely reduce the chances of error and help businesses stay compliant.

Related Read: Business process management for enterprises

The Challenges of Business Process Automation

i. Optimizing processes before automation

Automating business processes before optimizing them is a huge challenge to organizations. Only automating them will result in a lot of wasted computation. Organizations must understand how to make their processes better by identifying gaps.

Apty's analytics helps find gaps in your processes and helps fix them with automated workflows.

ii. Choosing what processes to automate

Once an organization has optimized its business operations and processes, they have to choose what processes they want to automate. This can prove challenging as the organization must derive ROI from the automation software and they must choose the right processes to be automated in order to free the talent that once performed these repetitive tasks.

iii. Accounting for industry and business constraints

Automating business processes that are tied to changing regulations or policies, can result in extra work and loss of money. They have to be pulled from production, analyzed, modified, and tested before they can be automated again.

iv. Scaling digital business process automation

A lack of leadership and talent can inhibit organizations from scaling up their automation efforts. This causes a loss of ROI and the organization ends up lagging behind competitors.

In a world where enterprise-wide automation is quickly becoming mainstream, this oversight can cost the company.

Business Process Automation vs Robotic Process Automation

BPA addresses the overall end-to-end business process. It is used to streamline all the processes in an organization to help them make decisions quicker and more accurately.

On the other hand, RPA is used to replace time-consuming tasks that need human effort, with software. RPA does not disrupt existing business processes and can be integrated with existing BPA software.

Business Processes that Can Be Automated

Complex processes that must be performed consistently by employees are ideal for Automation.  Business units where speed and accuracy are a priority also benefit from a more streamlined process.  Mundane, repeatable tasks are perfect for automation as it frees up employees to work on more mission-critical items.

Some examples of business practices that can be automated include:

A. Employee Onboarding

A well-designed onboarding program is essential for employee retention and productivity. Many of the tasks associated with employee onboarding can be automated to ensure a consistent experience for all new employees. This includes initial new-hire paperwork as well as training on the software they will be expected to use.

B. Payroll

Manually processing payroll is a time-intensive and staff-intensive process that can be easily automated. Multiple options exist to streamline payroll and minimize the amount of time it takes to pay your employees. Since this is a process that is done weekly or bi-weekly, the potential time savings due to automation is significant.

C. Customer Relationship Management

In an operation where employees interact with your company at multiple touchpoints, automated customer management is critical to provide a consistent experience across platforms. Automation can offer wide-reaching marketing campaigns with a fraction of the effort, build relationships with customers using significantly fewer human resources than traditional methods, and send customized reports to sales staff at regular intervals.

D. Financial Accounts Management

Most companies use accounting software, but this can be further automated by choosing a program that integrates seamlessly with other programs utilized by the company. This eliminates the duplication of effort that comes with having to enter the same information into multiple programs and reduces opportunities for error.

E. Analytics

It’s important to watch analytics closely to determine what areas of your platform need to be improved for your customers, employees, or end-users. Analytics can be complex and confusing, and sifting through piles of data to determine where the trouble lies can be incredibly time-consuming. Using tools to automate the analysis of back-end analytics saves time while giving you accurate and valuable insight into how to improve your business practices.

How to Automate Your Business Practices with Apty

HubSpot Video

Do more in less time with Apty Automation! Apty uses RPA and AI to perform routine business tasks and simplify complex processes. See how Apty can accelerate your productivity to save time, money, and resources – request a demo today!

Originally posted on September 24, 2019

Nathan Altadonna
Written by Nathan Altadonna

A former journalist and product manager, Nathan is a proud tech geek who blogs about digital transformation, employee productivity, and enterprise software. In addition to his work with Apty, Nathan runs his own consulting company, Innate Digital, helping companies develop content and get the most out of their marketing tech stack.

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