Business Process Automation - Definition, Benefits and Case Study
It’s not much of a surprise that business process automation (BPA) has become a norm in recent years.It’s a revolutionary us of technology that helps businesses automate both complex and redundant processes and workflows.
A State of Enterprise Automation report in 2018 found that 74% of organisations shared that they are “actively looking for new use cases for automation”. When asked what were the most important needs that drive their organisation to consider BPA, 51.3% shared that it’s to “adapt to the rapid rate of change.” Meanwhile, 42.5% said it’s to drive new revenue opportunities. Other reasons include reducing labour costs, freeing up strategic resources, reducing human errors, better security, and more.
This just goes to show that many organisations have seen the benefits of BPA and are taking strategic advantage of it. It’s a trend that has quickly made its way around the globe. If you’re gearing up to jump on the trend for your business, here’s a guide you can use for your strategic adoption, complete with a case study.
Business Process Automation: Definition
As mentioned above, business process automation is the revolutionary use of technology to automate business processes and workflows, either complex, repetitive, or redundant. Its overall goal is to improve business efficiency and optimise performance by saving manual efforts, reducing costs, and more.
Here, there is a mix of various tech solutions. This includes software applications, integrating new applications to old ones, and restructuring existing manual functions. The right implementation will provide positive outcomes for a business.
However, this will require extensive preparation. First, you’ll need to identify your business needs, and what process automation will work. At the same time, you need to map the process workflow and collaborate with the team involved in the process. These are just some of the steps for a successful BPA implementation.
So, what business processes can benefit from BPA? Here are some examples.
Customer ServiceTo become a customer-centric business, your customer experience must be at the top of its game. There are various factors related to this, such as sorting customer queries, assigning them to respective customer representatives in your team, and responding to said queries (all in a timely fashion).
For a speedy response to customers, you can use BPA to automate the sorting and assigning process. You can also set an autoresponder email to make sure you don’t miss out on any request.This has a strong positive reception not only from your customers but also your employees.
Data ManagementIf you don’t already have centralised data management for your business, then it’s safe to say that it can be quite a challenge extracting data. After all, you’ll have to request data from different sources in your organisation. It wastes time and effort.
This is where BPA comes in. It can help automate data management and extraction, even with different formats. BPA can automatically enter data into your system based on your format and sorted by requirement, relevancy, and other categories.
If you are looking to optimise your business via data management, then BPA is a smart choice.
InvoicingProcessing invoices is prone to human error. It is an exhausting process when done manually since it’s needed every week, month, or fortnight. There’s also a lot of pressure on the employee as it’s a task that needs to be timely and accurate.
Remove the possibility of error and the stress with BPA. Through it, human errors and inaccuracy of the payment process are reduced.Moreover, it also removes the human dependency on invoice processing.
Criteria To Identify What Part of Your System Needs Business ProcessAutomation
Implementing BPA in your business will take time. It will involve a lot of preparation. But, when should you exactly decide that you need it and what part of your system?Here are the key factors to consider:
One of the easiest ways to identify whether a process needs to be automated or not is the time spent on it. If you notice that a lot of manual hours are spent on repetitive tasks, then the process is a good candidate for automation.
Automation will take more time when it comes to highly complex processes. That’s why you should choose simpler processes first before moving on to more complex ones.
If a process has high volume, and requires more manual effort and time spent on it, then it’s also subject to possible automation. Some examples are data sorting, cleansing, rearranging, and more.
At its core, BPA is aimed at automating repetitive processes.So, if you notice repetitivetasks and processes in your organisation, then automating them will be more efficient.
A great example of BPA can be seen in the Eagers Fleet Portal web application that we developed for Eagers Automotive, one of Australia's largest motor groups.
Eagers is used by many insurance companies to provision replacement vehicles for their clients in cases of write-offs. This usually amounts to thousands of vehicle replacement transactions every year. Before integrating BPA into their organisation, Eagers had been handling their processes via MS Excel files and email exchanges. This, of course, results in delays in their transactions, slower fulfilment for the client, and leaves room for human error.
To remove this inefficiency from their business, Eagers partnered up with our team at April9. After diving into their business workflows and how their vehicle procurement process works, the team discovered a solution in the form of a Fleet Portal driven by their processes and workflows.
The solution defined different stages of their tender application process, configured permissions, automated notifications, and status changes based on their rules and specific actions taken by users. And after much testing, the Portal met the exact requirements of Eagers and its users.
The Vehicle Replacement Portal (”Fleet Portal”) was able to introduce huge efficiency improvements not only to Eagers' processes but also to their business partners. In fact, their vehicle tenders that usually took up to 40 days are now being processed in under a week.Click the link above to read the full case study.
Would Your Business Benefit From BPA?
If your organisation is still stuck with manual, inefficient or costly process you think would benefit from automation, why not schedule a consultation with April9's solutions team to discuss the best fit for your business.