To survive in this new digital transformation era and stay on top of their game, 97% of businesses believe they must make process automation their top priority.
This article explains process automation, why it is essential, and how to cope with challenges to move past the initial stages of basic process automation.
What is Process Automation?
Process automation uses technology to shorten and ease manual tasks. It is a way to decrease the need for human input in performing tasks.
As such, it is a broad category that refers to any streamlining. However, most often, it relates to automating the processes in a business.
Business process automation (BPA) means automating repetitive tasks to free employees’ time to focus on more essential and high-value work. Additionally, it helps organize systems and improves the workflow for the entire personnel.
There are many uses of BPA in a business which is why it’s becoming increasingly popular among organizations. In fact, according to a McKinsey study, 31% of companies have at least one fully-automated function.
Types of Business Process Automation (BPA)
Depending on how the automated process is utilized, BPA can be divided into different types.
1. Basic Automation
Basic automation takes the simplest, repetitive tasks and automates them. It digitizes rudimentary tasks to eliminate human errors and make the processes faster.
Examples include robotic process automation or business process management.
2. Process Automation
Process automation includes using apps and software that document and manage business processes.
It is a great tool to make all processes uniform and transparent. Since it uses technology, it increases efficiency and productivity.
Process automation is used for operations like workflow automation or project management.
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3. Advanced Automation
Advanced automation, also known as integration automation, merges humans and machines to integrate systems within an organization.
It aims to allow machines to imitate employees’ operations by monitoring and analyzing their work. To do so, it couples unstructured data with machine learning and natural language processing.
For instance, an organization might integrate its customer support system with a project management system to provide more efficient customer support.
4. Intelligent Automation
Otherwise known as Artificial Intelligence (AI) automation, it incorporates AI within the software to help the machine “learn” and make faster and smarter decisions based on previous data.
For example, a virtual assistant powered by AI can improve the customer service experience by providing fast and intelligent responses.
Benefits of Business Process Automation
Considering all the possible business process automation applications, it can deliver many benefits for a company.
1. Improves Productivity
Removing time-consuming tasks away from employees and letting them focus on more important matters drastically increases productivity. In fact, 86% of workers believe that automation will help them become more efficient in their job.
By streamlining processes and integrating them all into one automated workflow, there is no doubt that productivity and efficiency are likely to improve.
2. Reduces Costs
Many companies are becoming aware that automation can help them reduce costs because of many reasons. For one, it increases processing speed allowing for greater efficiency and productivity.
Moreover, automation reduces the risk of setbacks and obstacles in the process, along with any delays. As a matter of fact, 45% of owners state they will AI in their organization as a means to reduce business costs.
3. Minimizes Human Errors
With the use of automation, the risk of human mistakes can be brought to a minimum. According to a survey, 66% of IT workers state that automation is crucial in eliminating human errors.
Getting Past the Challenges of Business Process Automation
Looking at all the benefits and implementations of BPA, it might be surprising that 45% of companies are still focusing on basic process automation.
But, like any other process or software, integrating BPA into the company’s current way of working can present some challenges.
To move past the initial stages of basic process automation and take advantage of all that BPA can offer, organizations must face and deal with any automation barriers that might come their way.
Аutomation Can’t Fix a Broken Process
There are many things that automation can do for a company, like reducing costs and boosting productivity. But if there is one thing it cannot do is fix flawed processes and make them better by automating them. In fact, automating broken processes can only make them worse and cause lots of other issues.
Therefore, organizations should focus on automating processes that are already established and have extensive data inputs. Furthermore, it is advisable to target work that doesn’t require extra coordination between multiple departments.
Using a One-Size-Fits-All Solution
Often, companies see automation tools as a solution to all their problems.
They don’t differentiate between RPA, integration platforms, or intelligent workflows and believe they can use a one-size-fits-all approach.
However, that is not the way it works. Different technology has different uses and is inadequate for all kinds of processes.
Therefore, the first step toward implementing automation tools is to examine all processes beforehand and distinguish how they work. Afterward, it is vital to pinpoint which processes can take advantage of automation because not always all of them will function better if automated.
Lastly, before committing to any software or application, it is beneficial to do extensive research on the technology and what the competition uses to determine which solution is the best fit.
Implementing an automation process in a business can be challenging. However, considering all the benefits it can bring to an organization, it is a must in today’s ever-evolving technological world.