The Benefits and Challenges of Business Process Automation
Business Process Automation (BPA) is simply a defined way to eliminate manual, time consuming and costly tasks within an organization and replace them with automated processes that work faster while reducing redundancy in tasks and overall operating costs. They’re designed to provide companies with a competitive advantage, whether it’s finding ways to provide customers with services more efficiently, reducing order errors, or fixing billing and payment issues, among dozens of other examples.
And the big payoff? The opportunity to improve the all-important customer experience.
Benefits of Business Process Automation
BPA brings several benefits into nearly any type of organization, from an enterprise-level manufacturing firm to a 10-person architectural shop.
Consider these core benefits of BPA:
- Employees can focus less on small tasks and more on customer service. As automation takes hold and previously mundane and time-consuming tasks are eliminated, staff members can turn their attention towards customer needs and revenue-generating activities. Consider a call center that automatically receives chat transcripts from customers when they initiate a chat. Automated access to this kind of information allows them to handle phone calls quickly as they can immediately view any concerns raised in the chat dialog.
- Integrate multiple systems together. Beyond customer service-centric integrations, there’s also the opportunity to automate various functions across departments and previously disparate systems. For example, some employee processes might require manual usage of finance or accounting systems, project management applications, and shipping/logistics. By introducing BPA, companies that automate interconnected processes that take up a considerable amount of time and also can be error prone due to the perils of manual entry.
- Assign tasks dynamically. With BPA, companies can setup various rules that send tasks to the right staff members at the right time. This approach can have a transformative effect on efficiency because employees receive only those tasks that match their skills, and work is more evenly distributed. During slow periods, work can be dynamically shifted to other secondary tasks, or workers can be sent home early. More efficient staff members benefit the bottom line and can also improve morale and retention.
Persistent Challenges of Business Process Automation
Despite its many benefits, there are some challenges that come with widespread adoption of BPA best practices. Consider these three examples:
- Integration of various systems and tools can be difficult. Automation that occurs across multiple systems is very helpful, but it poses a significant challenge. Work with an experienced IT consultancy that can guide you on choosing the right solutions that “talk” to each other and will allow you to maximize the benefits of BPA.
- Automation brings fears of job cuts. While some automation can result in the loss of jobs for workers who only perform repetitive and easily automated tasks, BPA actually opens up opportunities for many workers. It provides them with time to focus on pleasing the customer, generating sales, improving the product, or engaging in other tasks that directly impact the bottom line.
- BPA needs monitoring. When making sweeping changes to processes, it’s important to perform honest reviews of the cost and productivity benefits. This means establishing benchmarks of pre-automation work compared to employee tasks and the business gains after automation. Again, an IT consultancy is an invaluable partner for guiding you on choosing the right processes for BPA, the ones that will produce clear long-term gains.
Looking for an IT partner to introduce and manage BPA? TechBlocks develops BPA roadmaps that guide companies on where automation is needed and how to provide staff members the right tools for maximum productivity. Visit www.tblocks.com to learn more.