Implementing business process automation in your organization is an intelligent move that could bring a lot of benefits to your company, but the success of the venture depends upon many important factors. It requires the right combination of people, technology and processes led by the correct automation strategy. The strategy must form the core of any automation project. Although there is no one right way to build a successful business process automation solution, there are several crucial elements that you will need to address while creating the strategy.
What is Business Process Automation?
Business process automation (BPA) involves the use of technology to automate repetitive organizational tasks that originally required manual efforts. Business process automation services can minimize operational costs by eliminating time-consuming data entry activities, reduce operational costs and drive company ROI.
Business process automation solutions can organize business systems data and simplify complex business processes. An effective BPA strategy can improve employee performance, improve efficiency, and streamline processes. Process automation can be applied to Accounting, Purchasing, Manufacturing, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Human Resources, Information Technology and so on.
Why should you automate Business Processes?
Business process automation helps organizations of all sizes to achieve operational efficiency and achieve their long term business goals. Some of the main reasons why organizations must automate business processes include:
- Allows you to free up employee resources from mundane tasks to concentrate on value-adding activities.
- Significantly reduces resources and operational costs.
- Eliminates data entry errors that may occur due to manual data entry.
- The increased visibility of real-time data can eradicate any data management errors especially for huge data volumes.
- Can help organizations achieve 100% accurate audit trials.
Steps to build a successful automation strategy
Define the automation vision
Your business process automation strategy must have a specific vision and a strategic objective. You can begin by identifying your goals for leveraging process automation and identifying the key areas that could benefit from the automation. You must analyze the available human resources and technology to support automation and predict whether future investment in people and technology will be needed. Consider the following questions to define your automation vision:
- What business problems are you trying to solve through automation
- Develop tangible goals such as the amount of time you wish to save and number of processes you
- wish to automate within a given period
- In what ways can automation give you a competitive advantage and what are the risks of the existing approach?
- How committed is your company in pursuing process automation?
Identify key stakeholders
One of the main factors to succeed in any new venture is getting the concerned people on board and process automation is no exception. Before building the automation strategy, you must select the right people and the right team composition to ensure that you have competent people on important roles like:
- Process owners or Subject Matter Experts who have comprehensive knowledge of automated business processes.
- The Automation team includes BPA developers, data analysts and engineers who are responsible for project implementation and delivery.
- Information technology and security experts who offer guidance on the working of interfaces with the existing technology.
- Infrastructure support staff responsible for maintaining the machines and servers that are necessary for the automation project.
- You must also ensure that you communicate the benefits of process automation to all whole stakeholders right at the beginning of the project.
Understand the target processes
Since automation is all about modernizing and optimizing business processes, business process automation companies must understand all the steps in the current process, identify necessary steps, bottlenecks, and the capability of the processes to adjust to new, evolving requirements. It is also critical to identify the right business processes for automation. While choosing the business process, ensure that you are aware of:
- The format of documents and data involved in the process.
- Consider the process if judgement-based or rule-based.
- Understand the type of data used – whether digital or non-digital.
Choose the right automation tool
Although there are several tools and techniques available for process automation, there is no single technology that works for all scenarios as each has their strengths and shortcomings. For instance, Robotic Process Automation may work for automation across platforms while leveraging an existing API or interface may work in other situations. You must apply appropriate metrics to assess the business cases for automation and identify the suitable technology. The technology evaluation will depend upon:
- Cost to create the automation
- Time to deploy automation
- Availability of resources to execute automation
- Security of automation
- Complexity of the automation system
- The need for integration with other technologies.aaa
Focus on Process Improvement
To realize the complete benefit of process automation, you must ensure that the underlying processes are optimized, and they offer complete value to the organization. Business process automation companies must understand the process and find ways to improve it while they perform automation. Before automating the process, they must consider the following:
- Is the process and related principles documented and standardized?
- Are the capabilities of process automation entirely leveraged or is it just a replication of the manualtasks?
To develop a successful business process automation strategy, begin to view it as a holistic implementation which can benefit many processes. Plan a roadmap for executing the strategy, seek user feedback and explore opportunities to refine existing automation processes or adopt new ones.