What is Business Process Automation (BPA)?
Business Process Automation (BPA) is a powerful tool that you can use to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and drive growth. BPA involves using technology to automate repetitive tasks and introduce workflows, reducing your need for manual human intervention, and increase accuracy.
How can I use BPA and how will it benefit my business?
Invoice processing – Organisations spend significant time and people hours manually processing invoices. BPA can automate this by capturing invoice data, validating it against purchase orders, and routing it for approval. This can help to reduce human input errors, improve speed, and reduce costs.
Customer service – BPA can help automate time-intensive customer service processes, such as ticket creation, enquiry routing, and response. This can help to reduce wait times and provide a more seamless customer experience. For example, a chatbot can be used to handle common customer inquiries, freeing up customer service reps to handle more important and complex issues.
Sales – Automate lead generation, qualification, and follow-up processes, resulting in reduced time and people required to manage leads. This leads to improved conversion rates and increased sales productivity. For instance, an automated lead scoring system can be used to prioritise leads based on their likelihood to convert, making the sales process more efficient and effective.
Supply Chain Management – Automate inventory management, order fulfilment, and shipping processes. An automated inventory management system can be used to track inventory levels and automatically reorder when stock levels fall below a certain threshold, ensuring that products are always available for customers.
HR – Onboarding, payroll, and more can all be simplified. By automating these processes, organisations can reduce administrative tasks, improve compliance, and provide a better employee experience. For example, an automated onboarding process can be implemented to streamline the hiring process and reduce paperwork, making it easier for new employees to join the company.
What should I consider before implementing any type of BPA?
Process Analysis: Before implementing BPA, analyse your processes to identify which are suitable for automation. You need to identify bottlenecks in your business and which areas will benefit most from it. This analysis can help identify areas where you can improve optimise operations.
Scalability: You need to ensure that the solution can grow with your business, and that it can accommodate changing business requirements. This is particularly important for businesses that are expanding, as they need to ensure that their BPA solution can continue to meet their growing needs.
Integration: BPA solutions need to be integrated with other systems and applications within the business. This integration is necessary to ensure that the solution can work seamlessly with existing systems and applications.
Security: BPA solutions involve the automation of business processes, which means that they handle sensitive data. You need to ensure that your solution is secure and that it can protect sensitive data. This involves implementing appropriate security measures, such as encryption and access controls, to ensure that data is protected from unauthorised access.
Employee Buy-In: BPA can have a significant impact on employees, as it can change the way they work. You should ensure that employees are involved in the implementation process, and that they are trained on how to use the new BPA solution. This can help to ensure that employees are engaged and supportive of the new way of working, which can improve the overall success of the implementation.
Cost: Implementing BPA can be expensive, and you should consider the costs involved in implementing and maintaining the solution. Be certain that the benefits of implementing outweigh the costs of living with the pain, and that the solution provides a good ROI.
What are the future trends and innovations in BPA?
Intelligent Automation: With the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), we can expect to see more intelligent automation solutions. This will involve using AI and ML to enable systems to learn and adapt to changing conditions, allowing for more personalised and efficient workflows.
Process Mining: Process mining is a technique used to analyse business processes based on event logs. This technique enables businesses to identify process inefficiencies and bottlenecks, and to optimise their processes accordingly. We can expect to see more process mining solutions in BPA, providing businesses with valuable insights into their processes.
Low-Code/No-Code Solutions: Low-code and no-code platforms enable users to build and deploy applications without requiring extensive coding knowledge. Microsoft PowerApps are a perfect example of these. We can expect to see more BPA solutions adopting low-code and no-code platforms, making it easier for businesses to automate their processes without requiring extensive technical expertise.
Collaborative Automation: Collaborative automation refers to the integration of humans and automation solutions to perform tasks collaboratively. This approach can help to improve efficiency, reduce errors, and provide a better overall experience for employees. We can expect to see more collaborative automation solutions in BPA, enabling businesses to optimise their processes with the help of both humans and automation.
Cloud-based Solutions: Cloud-based BPA solutions provide businesses with the flexibility and scalability they need to manage their processes effectively. We can expect to see more cloud-based solutions in BPA, making it easier for businesses to manage their processes from anywhere, at any time.
So, we know BPA can help businesses to achieve operational efficiency, optimise their operations for growth, and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. By leveraging technology to automate complex and repetitive tasks, businesses can streamline their processes, improve accuracy, and free up time and resources for more strategic tasks. This can lead to improved overall performance and productivity, allowing businesses to focus on what they do best.