As technology continues to advance, the role of automation in business processes is becoming increasingly crucial, at the same time as the complexity and cost of automation rapidly falls. What used to be the domain of large organizations with deep pockets is now easily accessible to small and medium-sized businesses thanks to a raft of cloud technologies such as Zapier and Power Automate.
The benefits of automation are numerous and can greatly impact a company’s efficiency, quality, and bottom line. Let’s explore some of the key advantages of incorporating automation into your business processes.
What is Business Process Automation?
Business process automation (BPA) is the use of technology to automate repetitive, routine tasks in a business. This can include anything from simple data entry and document processing to complex workflows and decision-making processes.
By automating these tasks, businesses can save time, reduce errors, and free up employees to focus on more important and strategic work. This not only increases productivity but also allows for better utilization of resources and streamlines operations.
The Benefits of Automating Business Processes
Automation ultimately can help with two things – reducing costs (money, time) and improving quality (errors, consistency). But how does that translate into broader business benefits? Here are some examples.
Reduced errors and rework
Human error is inevitable, but it can be costly for businesses. Automating a process can greatly improve the quality and accuracy of the output, drastically reducing the chances of errors and inconsistencies that result in costly rework. This is especially important for tasks that require a high level of accuracy or data input, such as financial calculations or data analysis.
Enhanced customer service
By automating tasks, businesses can provide faster and more consistent service to their customers. For example, automated order processing can reduce the time it takes for customers to receive their orders, resulting in a better overall customer experience.
Increased efficiency and productivity
Automation allows for tasks to be completed faster and more accurately, resulting in increased efficiency and productivity. This is particularly beneficial for businesses dealing with high volumes of repetitive tasks, such as data entry or order processing. By automating these tasks, employees can focus on more valuable work that requires human input and decision-making.
Scalability and flexibility
As your business grows and evolves, so do your processes. With automation, these processes can easily be adapted and scaled up or down to meet the changing needs of your business. This allows for greater flexibility and agility, resulting in faster response times and improved customer satisfaction without the need for additional manpower.
Identifying Opportunities for Automation
Your organisation will have plenty of opportunities for automation – I guarantee it. So how best to get started? The first step in incorporating automation into your business processes is identifying tasks and workflows that can benefit from it. When reviewing your current processes, keep an eye out for any of these characteristics that are good indicators that your process may be ripe for automation.
- Repetitive & rules based.
- High volume of transactions.
- Data intensive.
- Time sensitive.
- Prone to error or requires a high degree of consistency.
- Passes data between multiple systems.
- Relies on paper-based forms or rekeying data ‘back at the office’.
Every department is a candidate to benefit from automation, from back-office functions such as Finance & Admin, to Sales & Marketing, Customer Service and all points in-between. Watch closely for processes that consistently bottleneck at the same stage to see if automation could clear the way.
Listen carefully to when people actually use the word “process” as they speak, such as “We’re busy processing the purchase orders”. Pay particular attention to those job roles that involve a lot of data entry and be aware of when frustrations bubble over because someone isn’t properly “following the process”. All of these can be ideal opportunities to bring automation into play.
The Future of Business Process Automation
As technology continues to advance, the possibilities for automation are endless. With the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, processes that were once thought to be too complex or unpredictable for automation can now be automated with high accuracy. This means even greater potential benefits for businesses in terms of productivity, quality and cost savings.
Best of all, business process automation is now easily within reach of organisations of all sizes. If you’d like to explore the opportunities for automation, contact us today.