As a business owner, you will agree that we often find ourselves drowning in administrative tasks. We just can’t find the time to get to everything we need to do. Thanks to technology and business process automation (BPA), we can improve our efficiency and turn our attention to more important aspects of managing our businesses.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how automation can help you achieve these goals.
What is BPA?
Business Process Automation is a way of managing information, data and transactions by automating them through computing technology.
The effective use of BPA can help you focus your efforts and attention in the right places. It will allow you to hand off certain tasks to computers or computerized machines so that you can focus on more important work. Work that only you can do.
An example of BPA:
Back in the day, before automation, when you went to the bank to apply for a loan you had to complete a stack of documents as part of your application. You then submitted the paperwork and went home hoping for the best. The bank would process your application, perform the required credit checks and verifications. And then they would make a decision on whether to grant or deny the loan. If your loan was approved, you had to return to the bank to complete a new stack of documents and contracts to complete the loan process. Once all the paperwork was done, you still had to wait a couple of days before the money was transferred to your account. This was a lengthy process with a lot of manual paperwork and you had to travel to and from the bank.
Today, with the help of computer automation, you simply go online and the automated banking processes complete the entire loan application in a couple of minutes. The automated systems gather your personal information, perform the checks, calculate the loan risk and make a decision on whether to approve or decline your application. And, if approved, they automatically prepare the agreements. Your electronic acceptance makes the funds available in your account straight away. No need to visit a branch or wait for an outcome. It’s all done in a couple of minutes.
What are the benefits of BPA?
There are many obvious benefits to business process automation in the above example. How many can you think of? Here are four benefits to get you started.
1. Improved efficiency and speed
BPA can eliminate manual, time-consuming and costly tasks performed by employees. These can be replaced with computer automated processes that work faster. The efficiency and speed with which computers perform these tasks can provide your business with a competitive advantage.
You could, for example, automate the following:
- customer relationship management, or CRM, to streamline your sales process
- enterprise resource management, or ERP, can streamline your inventory, human resource and accounting processes
2. Improved customer experience
Customer satisfaction is the number one priority for all businesses. With automation, you can improve the quality, speed and consistent standard of service delivery. Thereby improving the overall customer experience and help in exceeding customer expectations with ease.
Some businesses set up an automated help desk to handle customer service. By using online customer-service software you can create a central resource that answers frequently asked questions. You can provide highly detailed instructions or tutorials on technical issues. Online customer-service software also typically has a system for submitting support questions when a customer can’t find an answer to their question.
3. Boost productivity and morale
The selective automation of repetitive tasks can streamline business processes and increase your overall productivity. This gives you more time to focus on tasks that add value to your business and turn your energy towards more rewarding tasks.
Allowing your employees to spend more time on activities such as the processing of exceptional transactions, sales and market analysis, financial reporting, general problem solving and innovation, will also contribute to the health and performance of your business.
4. Better control of your business
BPA allows you to track the performance of your business and make informed decisions. There are many tools that can be used to generate reports, trigger tasks, and much more. They can put valuable information at your fingertips allowing you to make better decisions for your business.
Therefore, you could use an ERP system to measure your business activities against key performance indicators. For example, comparing actual revenues and expenses against forecasts and budgets and monitoring inventory levels against set minimum requirements.
Although there are many benefits, there are also some challenges that come with the adoption of BPA. It’s important to be aware of these challenges.
1. Fears of job cuts
Automation can eliminate the need for workers that perform repetitive and easily automated tasks. It could also be used to open up opportunities for workers to learn new skills. And, provide them with time to focus on pleasing the customer, generating sales, improving the product, or engaging in other tasks that directly impact the bottom line.
2. Integration of various systems and tools
It is important to choose the right solutions for your business and that they are able to communicate/interface with each other. Therefore, you may need the help of a consultant to assist with implementation. However, make sure the consultant understands your business and your budget.
It is vital to perform regular reviews of your automated processes to ensure that they are delivering the expected outcomes and performing well. This will ensure clear long-term benefits for your business.
Similarly, it can also help identify possible improvements or opportunities for new automation.
The world is ever-evolving thanks to technology. There are many ways to automate business processes. We’ve discussed just a few of the benefits for your business in this article. There are many more and many that may be unique to your industry or business.
Take time to review the processes in your business. Identify where you could possibly automate time-consuming and repetitive tasks. Don’t get left behind, do it now! And, consider asking your employees to help you identify key areas where automation can improve productivity.
Business Process Automation is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a MUST!
Do you need to improve your business processes? Consigliere can help identify and implement suitable computer automation systems and tools for your business. Contact us today.