Business process automation refers to the use of technology to execute recurring tasks or processes in an organization where manual effort can be replaced. It is done to minimize costs, increase efficiency, and streamline processes
Business process automation is not to be confused with business process management, which is a larger discipline involving the management of complex organization-wide processes using different methodologies.
Business process automation examples
For a better understanding of business process automation, here are a couple of use cases.
Although hiring employees may seem like a fuss-free process, it involves multiple tasks. Filling out employee information forms, setting up induction sessions, arranging training sessions, setting up bank accounts, collecting relevant documents, and assigning mentors are just a few of the activities involved.
- Endless paperwork
- Missing out on some tasks
- Employee dissatisfaction
- Low productivity
Applying business process automation to employee onboarding will ensure smooth transitions from one task to the next, keeping relevant employees in the loop and providing visibility into the status of the process.
Purchase order requests are recurring processes in most organizations. The requesting team fills out a form and sends it to the purchasing team. The approving authority then examines the request and rejects the request in case information is inadequate or if there are budgetary constraints. It is then sent back to the requesting team. If approved, a purchase order is created and copies are sent to the supplier as well as the inventory team.
- Delayed PO approval
- Impacted productivity
- Incomplete records
- Errors in the PO
- Errors while taking delivery of the supplies
Business process automation can help improve accountability, transparency, and enable accurate data recording, which can be accessed by relevant stakeholders when necessary. It will also retain all process-related communication within the workflow to make execution easier and faster.
Here are some compelling reasons to automate your business processes.
Digital transformation can seem like a lofty overwhelming goal to organizations that aren’t on that path. Business process automation can be a stepping-stone to adopting that culture of continuous transformation. You can start with a few processes that are clearly in need of course correction and gradually work your way up.
Automation demands a certain amount of clarity about the process right at the designing stage. If you don’t know the tasks involved and the people responsible for running the process, you can’t design and automate the workflow effectively.
Further, process mapping can provide clarity to all employees and serve as a training resource as well. The insights you gain from analyzing an automated process can clearly show you the gap between your process as is and as it should ideally be.
One of the great outcomes of a process automation system is streamlined processes. Clear accountability, customizable notifications, valuable insights, and faster turnaround times make it easier to eliminate wasteful activities and focus on enhancing tasks that add value.
With business process automation, every detail of a particular process is recorded. This information can be presented to demonstrate compliance during audits.
When you automate a business process, you can expect a consistent standard of outcomes every time. Standardization helps position your organization as reliable, which in turn can help increase your customer base.
Customer satisfaction is a key differentiator in any industry. Focusing on process and operational excellence helps you exceed customer expectations with ease. When you consistently meet promised standards, customers are more likely to develop a preference for your company.
Business process automation is not restricted to a handful of functions. Some factors that can indicate the need for automation include
- High-volume of tasks
- Multiple people required to execute tasks
- Time-sensitive nature
- Significant impact on other processes and systems
- Need for compliance and audit trails
If an activity meets all the criteria listed above, it’s very likely you need to automate your business process.
To give you a clearer picture, here are some commonly automated processes in organizations.
- E-mail and push notifications
- Helpdesk support
- Creating customer case studies
- Data aggregation and migration
- Backup and restoration
- Employee leave requests
- Call center processes
- Sales orders
- Time and attendance tracking
- Product launches
- Lead nurturing