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Automate With Purpose: Benefits and Best Practices of Business Process Automation

what is business process automation
Streamline your processes with BPA. [Getty Images / NicoElNino]

If you want to reduce manual process time, then you need business process automation. Learn how to automate your business efficiently with BPA.

The narrative is all too familiar: time-consuming, repetitive tasks are hindering your team’s creativity and strategic thinking. The focus shifts away from innovation as your employees wrestle with mundane, manual processes like data entry.

It’s a battle between administrative burdens and elevating the customer experience – a situation that happens all too often. But here’s the good news: it’s possible to hand off those mundane tasks to someone — or something — else.

Business process automation (BPA) allows you to automate those manual responsibilities, so that you can focus on work that promotes innovation. The spotlight’s now on why it’s high time to embrace automation, and how you can wield its power with precision. 

Discover the latest trends in workflow automation

The case for business process automation 

Why automate manual processes, business processes, and even data entries? Research reveals that automation has a host of advantages: reduced costs, accelerated ROI, happier teams, and elevated customer experiences.

Consider the results of a Salesforce survey on automation users

  • 83% said automation tools provided them with the time to tackle innovative projects
  • 91% said automation on the job allowed for a better work-life balance
  • 92% said automation boosts their productivity
  • 88% said they trust automation solutions to complete tasks faster without costly errors 

In the theater of business, bad data costs nearly $13 million annually, and as the adoption of BPA gains momentum, it’s likely your competitors are getting involved. The global BPA market is projected to reach $19.6 billion by 2026, up from $9.8 billion in 2020. Meanwhile, 95% of IT decision-makers are turning their focus onto process automation.

Why is business process automation important?  

Not sure if BPA is right for you? Consider these numbers: nearly three-quarters of IT and engineering leaders witnessed up to a 30% reduction in manual process time with BPA, and around six in 10 leaders reported cost reductions spanning from 11% to 30%. It’s clear that implementing BPA saves time and money, and the benefits cascade across all kinds of activities in three important ways. 

Accuracy and efficiency 

Think back to those repetitive and time-consuming data entry tasks we’ve all had to do. Manual practices introduce errors into an organization’s data when employees mistakenly key in the wrong information. These incorrect figures could mean critical business decisions are based on misplaced data. 

With BPA, you’re guided by its predefined and preprogrammed steps for completed workflows. It’s the rhythm that ensures your team operates with accuracy and efficiency, significantly reducing the potential for error and empowering your teams to operate more productively.

Security and compliance

Are you treading in highly regulated waters, such as finance or healthcare, where data privacy is critical? If so, manual processes can leave a trail of vulnerability in unsecured folders or scattered inboxes.

Automated workflows are designed with consistent security measures to safeguard sensitive information and mitigate risks of fraud, theft, hefty fines, and preventable penalties. With real-time tracking and monitoring, automation also provides more transparency and accountability. For auditing purposes in particular, BPA creates a trail of tracked changes to documents, offering a clear record of who did what and when.

Happy employees and satisfied customers

While the operational benefits of BPA boost business success, remember that the heart of any organization lies in its people, employees and customers alike.

Imagine the transformation for those tasked with the processes now entrusted to automation. Their role becomes one aligned with enhancing employee and customer experiences, or contributing to strategic IT plans. With nearly 90% of employees experiencing increased job satisfaction due to automation, they can become more engaged, productive, and content, leading to higher retention rates.

With automation reducing tedious tasks, employees can amplify their connections with customers, tackle complex issues, and make memorable experiences. In fact, a resonating 77% of respondents from the same survey noted that automation provided them with the time to nurture meaningful relationships with customers and stakeholders.

Stay up-to-date with change management best practices, and provide training and tutorials so that your team can become confident experts in its use.

How to automate business processes

In a world of technology, humans still play a critical role in guiding the direction of an organization. Not every business process is fit for automation – some require the complexity of human decision-making or a personal touch.

To identify which business processes are ideal for automation, consider these best practices: 

  • Automate selectively
  • Establish goals and requirements
  • Capture workflow details
  • Continuously monitor performance

Automate selectively

Automation can benefit any department across an organization. Think HR’s resume scanning, IT’s data aggregation, or logistics’ shipping management. As you consider what to automate, opt for processes that are repetitive and demand adherence to workflows for compliance. It’s all about crafting a workflow that transforms the mundane to melodic.

Establish goals and requirements 

Meet with your team to outline the specific goals and objectives that automation will help you achieve. Ask yourself: 

  • Why does your organization need BPA tools?
  • What problems are you trying to solve?
  • Who will use the tool, and what are their desired features and functions? 

Capture workflow details

Check in with employees responsible for the workflows or processes earmarked for automation. Document their steps, their unique standard operating procedures (SOPs), ensuring that every nuance finds a place in your workflow. The small details help guarantee the execution of a big picture performance.

Continuously monitor performance

Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and regularly monitor the performance of your BPA solution. Tracking KPIs allows you to measure progress, identify areas of improvement, and ensure the automation solution delivers on your intended objectives. 

Choosing the right business process automation software

Ever been involved in deploying a new software solution only to see it unused by your team? It’s more common than you think. The key to a successful deployment lies in selecting tools that resonate with your team: simple, accessible, and immediately effective.

Enter low-code automation software, the leader of user-friendly business automation tools. With a drag-and-drop interface, it allows you to easily automate business processes without the need for custom code. But remember, when reviewing vendors, seek tools that also offer:

  • A purpose-built or customizable solution 
  • A user-friendly interface
  • The ability to easily add users and edit permissions
  • Easy integration with legacy tools and systems
  • Compliance with relevant regulations in your industry
  • Built-in security features
  • User training and education 
  • Ongoing customer service and support 

Business process automation’s overarching goal: business process improvement

Making the decision to implement new technology, particularly automation, involves many moving parts. You’ll need a thorough understanding of your organization’s workflows and processes to determine which areas can benefit from automation.

Realizing the full potential of automation, however, goes beyond implementation alone. Provide your team with training, allowing them to reap the benefits of automation. And as technological harmonies evolve, continue monitoring its progress, harvesting the rewards of efficiency and ROI.

Throughout your journey, remember the guiding principle: to automate with purpose, the undercurrent that propels business process improvement. When done right, BPA can enable new efficiencies, allow employees to be immersed in impactful work, and propel your business to new heights. 

John Eagan Product Marketing Director More by John

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