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What Is Business Process Automation? Examples and Benefits

Business process automation uses technology to automate complex and redundant business processes and workflows. The positive impact on business operations and delivery speed has led to an upward trend in the adoption of business process automation among modern businesses. Let us look at some examples, advantages, and use cases of business process automation.

There is a surge in demand for business process automation among high-performance businesses looking to reduce costs, enhance efficiency, and streamline their processes. According to the State of Enterprise Automation 2018 report, 74% of organizations are actively looking for new use cases for process automation.

To help you understand this sudden trend of adopting a new practice by businesses across the globe, we have put together a guide that covers it all.

In this guide, we discuss some use cases and examples of process automation. We also touch base on ways to identify processes for automation, and how to decide when you should automate your processes.

Table of Content

What is Business Process Automation?

Business process automation is defined as the practice of using technology to automate complex and redundant business processes and workflows. The ultimate goal of business process automation is to save manual efforts, reduce costs, improve efficiency, and optimize process performance.

Process automation includes a mix of software applications, restructuring manual functions, and integrating applications. The right implementation of business process automation has shown positive outcomes of not just process improvement but also process excellence. This is possible because automation eliminates manual dependency and executes process tasks effectively and efficiently.

Implementing business process automation has certain prerequisites. You need to identify a process that meets the necessary criteria for automation, map the process workflow, and collaborate with the process team. These steps help in simplifying the automation process.

Automation helps businesses improve process centralization, encourage accountability, and enable transparency in business processes. These bonuses ultimately contribute to customer satisfaction and business growth. Hence, business process automation has gained popularity among modern businesses as a catalyst in achieving business sustainability and success.

Business process automation is often confused with business process management, which is a comprehensive discipline that focuses on enterprise-wide process identification, documentation, mapping, analysis, and improvement. Check out our complete guide to business process management for more information.

Examples of Business Process Automation

Business process automation can be a complex concept to grasp for business leaders. Here are a few examples of where and how you can use business process automation:

Managing customer service requests

Customer service is the centerpiece of your customer experience, which is why it needs to be flawless. Tasks involved in managing customer requests such as sorting queries, assigning them to customer service reps, and responding to customer emails and messages can be complex and multi-layered.

Process automation can simplify and automate these tasks to ensure speedy solutions to your customers. With BPA, you can

  • Automate the sorting of customer queries into categories/departments

  • Assign queries to respective customer service reps

  • Set auto-responders to customer emails and messages to avoid missing out on any request

  • Much more

With automation in place, you can improve and accelerate your customer service processes, much to the delight of your employees and your customers.

Data Extraction

Data extraction is an important yet painful process that eats up the time and effort of your employees. Just imagine the effort and intelligence of your team spent on the clerical work, which can be put to so much better use for your business.

Business process automation can help you automate the process of extracting data from various sources in different formats. It can help you:

  • recognize and read information from various sources in different formats
  • enter data into your system as per requirement and relevancy
  • sort data into categories, files, and formats as directed

Automating data extraction and entry is a smart move for businesses looking to build efficient processes and enable optimum employee productivity.

Processing Invoices

Keeping track of enumerable invoices every week, month, or fortnight can be exhausting and cause errors when handled manually. Business process automation can automate the processing of invoices and ensure timely payments for your vendors.

Automation can help you:

  • Remove human dependency for invoice processing

  • Reduce human errors and inaccuracy in the payment process

With automation, you can save a lot of time and effort for your accounts team, and they can focus on high-level tasks such as budget decision-making and predictions.

Here are a few more processes that you can consider automating:

  • Back office documentation and processing

  • Employee Onboarding

  • Customer feedback collection, sorting, and storage

  • Resume scanning in recruitment

  • Copy-paste of data between systems

  • Trigger-based marketing emails

  • Payroll

  • Attendance tracking

When Should You Automate Your Business Processes?

While there are several reasons why you should consider automating your processes, here are a few concrete ones that you should take into account:

You want to embrace digital transformation

Business process automation is a stepping stone to building a modern and digital business. It manifests the adoption of digital operations by a company and its employees. If you are thinking of embracing digital transformation and want to employ it in the culture of your company, business process automation is the way to go. It automates your complex processes with a digital medium such as software applications and integration tools to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

You are tired of manual errors

Human errors are inevitable. Although you cannot replace human intelligence and detailed insight, process automation can reduce these errors with minimal yet intelligent supervision from your team. This ensures you get the best of both worlds!

You want to establish transparency and accountability

Transparency in your business operations contributes to employee satisfaction and accountability. This is critical for employee productivity and seamless execution of processes. With business process automation, you eliminate any obscurities within your processes.

You want to improve your processes

Business process improvement is a practice used by business leaders to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a business process by discovering, mapping, documenting, analyzing, and redesigning the process. Business process automation contributes to one or more elements of the process improvement practice and hence is a part of business process improvement. If you are thinking of investing time and effort in improving your process, process automation is the right choice.

Read our detailed guide to business process improvement.

You want happy customers and happier employees

Process automation removes manual errors, accelerates your processes, and makes them efficient. This results in better business outcomes that delight your customers. To top that, automation frees your employees from redundant and clerical tasks. This allows them to focus their energy and talent on more important and challenging tasks. This leads to more productive and happy employees, and you can operate better to live better!

How To Identify Business Processes for Automation?

Before you start automating a process, you need to make sure the process fits certain criteria. Below are a few criteria that help you identify processes within your system that are best suited for automation.

Time spent by employees on process tasks

If a process requires a lot of manual hours to be spent on its tasks, the process can be a candidate for automation. These manual hours can be spent on more high-value tasks rather than the clerical tasks involved in the process.

High level of complexity

If a process is highly complex, the automation will take more time. Complexity includes the number of employees involved, the number of tasks required to complete, and the time taken to complete the process. The higher the numbers, the more complex the automation. The best solution is to start small and automate simpler tasks before getting into complex solutions.

The high volume of processing

Processes that require a higher volume of processing and transactions are best suited for automation. They consume more manual effort and time, which can be put to better use. Processes such as data cleansing, data sorting, and rearranging can be easily automated to improve the speed and efficiency of execution.

Redundant Processes

Repetitive processes are ideal for automation. It does not make sense to automate processes that are not repetitive - it is way too much effort for a one-time fix. Tasks and processes such as invoice processing are repetitive, and when automated can be executed more effectively.

Advantages of Business Process Automation

Automation opens up an array of advantages to businesses, leaders, employees, and customers. Let us browse through the most evident and valuable benefits of business process automation.

Increase in process efficiency

The ultimate goal of business process automation is to save manual time and effort, reduce costs, and optimize process performance. All these results contribute to efficient business processes. When you automate your processes, they become less complex and more productive, ultimately soaring with efficiency. What more could you ask for as a business leader?!

Boost in employee productivity

Business process automation boosts transparency and accountability within business processes. This results in better productivity within your teams. Automation also removes the burden of executing clerical and redundant tasks that lack challenge and creativity. With these tasks set for automation, your employees can take up more challenging and creative roles that boost their productivity.

Enhanced customer experience

Efficient processes result in error-free business outcomes. Your products and service offerings are flawless, which creates an engaging and enhanced customer experience. Customer delight and satisfaction is a dream come true for every entrepreneur and business leader.

Improved business operations

When your business processes are streamlined, your business operations flourish. Process automation enables the efficiency and productivity of your processes, in turn improving your business processes.

Less frustration, better living

Process automation is a stepping stone to the fantasy of every business leader. Your business processes are in sync. Your business operations are streamlined. Your employees are happy. Your customers are delighted. There is no cause for frustration at all! You can enjoy the weekend with the kids without the guilt of not checking your emails or take that long-awaited vacation to the Caribbean with friends and family! Because with automation, you operate better and live better!

Key Takeaways

Business process automation is a robust tool that modern businesses can employ to increase process efficiency and improve business operations. Set out on the journey of process automation to improve your business processes.

Are you falling prey to process chaos?