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Enhancing operational organization with business process automation

By ECI | Thursday, January 20th, 2022

The demands of the digital economy are putting pressure on businesses to optimize their critical operational processes and make teams more efficient and productive. Business process automation (BPA) plays a critical role in this initiative. By automating inefficient tedious tasks, businesses are able to minimize resource waste, powering innovation and driving digital transformation.

With the right business process automation software, organizations are better positioned to respond to change, achieve operational excellence and drive better value for customers. Keep reading to learn more.

Introducing business process automation

Business process automation works when companies adopt automation solutions to streamline internal business operations so they can eliminate inefficiencies, enhance employee productivity and accelerate digital transformation. BPA enables organizations to remove the time- and resource-intensive repetitive tasks that drain resources, giving teams more bandwidth to devote to other areas of the business.

As advanced technologies continue to evolve, businesses have the capacity to automate a wide range of operations. The most commonly automated tasks include:

  • Workflow management

  • Training and onboarding

  • Auditing

  • Invoice processing

  • Contract management

  • Customer management

  • Leave approvals

  • Social media

By reducing the amount of resources devoted to any of the above routine tasks (and others more specific to the business), organizations are able to more effectively allocate personnel and resources to the areas that drive the most value.

BPA vs. BPM and BPA vs. RPA

People often get BPA confused with two similar concepts: business process management (BPM) and robotic process automation (RPA). There’s good reason for that. BPA shares a substantial degree of overlap with both BPM and RPA, and an impactful digital transformation should include elements of all three.

There are, however, key differences between them that every business should understand.

Business process management (BPM)

BPM is used by leaders to gain complete oversight over the entire web of processes and operations, allowing them to better identify opportunities for enhanced efficiency, analyze performance and make adjustments. Technology is not critical to BPM, though many decision makers today are deploying advanced tools to enhance the quality of their BPM.

In fact, the role of technology is one of the key characteristics that differentiates BPM from BPA. Whereas technology can enhance BPM procedures, automation tools are an essential component of BPA.

Robotic process automation (RPA)

RPA isn’t exactly distinct from BPA — it’s more of a subset that falls beneath the broader BPA category. Like BPA, RPA uses technology to optimize critical business processes to improve operational efficiency, reduce costs and minimize risk.

Unlike BPA, however, RPA utilizes highly advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to deliver more sophisticated optimization results. Using tools like software bots, RPA can gather data from systems and employees to better learn how to complete more specific processing tasks, like aggregating or cleansing data and metadata tagging, for deeper level automation.

Objectives of business process automation

Before investing in BPA software, it’s important to identify a series of objectives to help guide your efforts. Here are a few of the primary objectives of effective business process automation:

Power innovation

The emergence of new digital technologies has caused customer expectations to skyrocket. Consumers are demanding personalized products and services that perfectly match their unique needs and preferences. Faced with those market conditions, businesses are under extraordinary pressure to innovate to maintain a competitive advantage.

Employees spend a substantial portion of their days on administrative tasks, like invoice processing, data entry and locating information. According to a survey from SmartSheet, more than 40% of employees said they spend a quarter or more of their workday on administrative tasks. That’s a major drain on their ability to contribute to innovative thinking and design.

A BPA solution should automate enough administrative tasks to reclaim a substantial portion of that lost time and bandwidth to give your organization a much greater capacity for innovation.

Facilitate scalability

Digital technologies like ecommerce, mobile apps and social media have given businesses unprecedented access to customers around the world. Identifying new business opportunities is no longer the top concern for these companies. Instead, the priority is scaling internal processes in a way that ensures great customer service whether a business consists of 10 people or 10,000.

Effective BPA should play a central part in a business’s scaling efforts. By streamlining processes, businesses can leverage automation software to ensure critical customer data is shared seamlessly across teams and departments, giving customers the same high-quality service no matter how many other clients the business is serving.

Greater customer satisfaction

Customers are used to accessing their preferred brands’ products and services instantaneously. They expect them to be able to do the same. In fact, according to a report from Microsoft, 96% of customers consider service critical to their brand loyalty.

A BPA solution gives businesses the tools to maximize quickness and efficiency. Teams are much better able to process reams of customer information and transform it into actionable insights that they can use to create more personalized products and services. BPA allows them to do this faster than ever, staying ahead of changing market demands and exceeding customers’ high expectations.

Benefits of business process automation

Delivering digital transformation through BPA implementation delivers results across the entire organization. Here are some of the benefits of business process automation:

  • Decrease time: Time is every employee’s most valuable resource. Automation software vastly reduces the amount of time teams spend on repetitive individual tasks, freeing much of their time so they can focus on bringing value to other parts of the business.

  • Minimize costs: Inefficient processes can cause organizations to overpay in operational costs, which could become a serious financial drain if not properly remediated. Automating core parts of the business helps organizations optimize their processes from beginning to end, helping to create more room in the budget for other initiatives.

  • Reduce mistakes: People make mistakes. That much is obvious, and most traditional business processes have to withstand a certain margin of error. By automating routine tasks, BPA enables organizations to minimize the incidence of human error, reducing the cost associated with those mistakes and creating greater coherence across the business.

  • Maintain compliance: Companies can use BPA software to automate their security processes, internal governance controls and data protection protocols to ensure compliance with all relevant regulatory standards. Staying compliant also helps organizations avoid costly noncompliance fees, which not only strain resources, but can also cause long-term damage to the organization’s reputation.

  • Improve employee engagement: Employee engagement is a higher priority than ever. BPA software can help better track and assess employee performance, pinpoint opportunities for improvement, and process salary changes and job updates. More efficient internal processes drive better employee engagement and connection.

At ECI, our team of experts understands that automation has changed the way people work, and that means there’s a new imperative for businesses to automate.

We work with you to gain maximum oversight and understanding of your business processes to identify workflows that can be automated and optimized. Our goal is to help ensure your human and digital intelligence is devoted to the highest value tasks while reducing mistakes and inefficiencies associated with repetitive work.

Reach out to our team to learn more!

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