What Is Business Process Automation?
Business process automation (BPA) refers to the use of software to automate repetitive business transactions. Compared to other solutions, BPA technologies are connected with various business information technology (IT) platforms, and specially designed to an organization’s needs.
How Does Business Process Automation Work?
A “business process” is a transaction involving various IT systems and a series of recurring phases. Business processes help an organization achieve a specific objective, such as completing a purchase requisition to onboarding a new worker.
These procedures often entail many email conversations, documentation, and handoffs when managed ad hoc. Even minor human errors may result in communication breakdowns, delays, and missed deadlines. And to top it all, these concerns multiply exponentially. These problems are the focus of software that aims to automate business processes – by using various digital enablers, like software robots, artificial intelligence, data integrations, etc.
Learn More: What is Automation?
In order to deploy business process automation, an organization must:
- Identify the function: Identify functional areas of business where efficiency gains may be possible. This could include sales representatives, accounts payable, customer support, inventory management, and other business operations.
- Construct a standard operating procedure (SOP): For any form of automation to be accomplished, a process must be clearly specified with tasks and stages. SOPs record the precise actions required to carry out and fulfill a role’s responsibilities.
- Pinpoint inefficiencies: Once the functional areas of an organization are defined, the team can assess the repetitive tasks associated with the function. Task mining can provide desktop and app-level data on inefficient tasks that should be automated.
- Evaluate and select BPA software: There are a number of workflow tools and BPA platforms specifically designed for this purpose and it is best to evaluate the ROI of implementing automation within the current technology stack.
Learn More: What is Process Automation?
Processes That Should Be Automated
Processes that have high transactions and require reduction in error rate. These are the three factors one should look for before implementing business process automation.
- Manually-intensive: Focus on improving labor-intensive processes which take up a lot of time and resources. These tasks are rules based and conducted in the same sequence, and utilize systems that do not or seldom change. And, these processes come with detailed documentation.
- Based on fixed rules: A rules based process is more suited to BPA compared to one in which employees make decisions based on their own discretion. If the process requires employee judgment, consider decomposing it into smaller segments using task mining tools; you will find that the majority of the steps are rule-based and may be automated.
- Use of structured data: The ideal process uses structured data and legible electronic inputs, such as workbooks, JSON documents, and CSV files. If you’re dealing with unstructured data, such as PDFs, faxes, handwritten forms, or emails, consider using a task mining tool.
Benefits of Business Process Automation
Now comes the key question that probably makes the biggest difference to you – how does how BPA help businesses? The benefits are myriad:
- As a result of fewer manual interventions, organizations can take advantage of shorter turnaround times, increased productivity, and reduced expenses.
- As BPA can automate mundane, repetitive, tedious activities, resources can focus on higher value tasks. Consequently, teams can focus on tasks that require human effort.
- Easier to track and monitor ongoing processes, which helps increase end to end process visibility.
- The possibility of monitoring processes from a centralized BPA solution will also make it possible to keep an eye out for errors, helping you to fix issues as they occur.
According to McKinsey’s 2020 research, 65% of companies are already using business process automation to unlock these benefits. After-sales support (BPA software can respond to any communication with a preset keyword or keywords with an automated response) and accounts payable are prime examples of BPA’s value to businesses (BPA can scan, identify, collate, sort, and email the documents needed for auditing and payroll management).
Finally, the true value of business process automation can only be realized when you know the exact processes that should be automated — and you can automate without a huge cost.
Experience the Scout work graph advantage
Today, over 60% of the teams’ workday is spent on unstructured interactions in documents, emails, communications, custom applications, and websites – outside of ERP, CRM, and other systems of record. This massive unstructured and undocumented interaction dataset between people and software is untapped and contains a goldmine of insights that could give a significant competitive edge to enterprises. Traditional solutions for identifying and building automation pipelines have significant privacy, accuracy, and scalability issues and fail to capture work done outside the systems of record, such as ERPs and CRMs.
Through Soroco ScoutTM, powered by the world’s first work graph platform, organizations can unlock this data source to discover processes where inefficiencies occur and are prime candidates for intelligent process automation.
Request a demo of Soroco ScoutTM today!