Business Automation and Software Blog

What is Business Process Automation

Posted by Robert Baran on Thu, Dec 08, 2011 @ 12:18 PM

All companies rely on Business Process Management (BPM)in order to run their operation effectively. These business processes are generally made up of a series of repetitive tasks performed by employees. This includes anything from ongoing reporting, authorizations and approvals, to manually tracking stock levels, contract renewals and key performance indicators.

Automating these repetitive tasks will not only save significant amounts of time and reduce overhead costs; but will also provide for more efficient and reliable information organization-wide. Business Process Automation (BPA) is achieved through the implementation of the appropriate business process management software. This technology provides the capabilities necessary to have the computer system handle tasks that were traditionally performed by employees. Automating certain processes gives an organization the ability to streamline operations and reporting, not to mention free-up staff members to focus on more important tasks. Business process management technology is capable of much more than organizing simple static flows, such as task options with multiple choices and contingencies. Rather, it can define, execute, manage and refine processes that involve human interaction; work with multiple applications; and handle dynamic process rules and changes. 

Business Process Management technology is the IT industry’s response to problems created by employee-dependent applications. The resulting Business Process Automation allows directors, managers, suppliers and customers to receive instant responses to commercial interactions by leveraging all IT systems across an organization through a real-time, responsive infrastructure.

Which business processes should be automated?

Like any savvy business owner -or- manager, you are likely considering your bottom line. Will the automation of your business processes really save your organization time and money? The answer is: absolutely. The types of processes listed below are most likely to yield a high return on investment once automated.

  • Dynamic

These are processes that change frequently such as those that must be regularly adapted in order to abide by regulatory compliance changes. For example, retailers who are required to regularly modify how customer information is managed due to changes in federal privacy law and Credit Card Company mandates.

  • Inter-departmental

This category covers any processes that involve people and/or typically cross multiple business units, divisions, or departments.

  • Complex

Complex processes are those that require the collaboration of a variety of people from different departments, who may be using different software applications. An example of this would be an organization’s Order-to-Payment process, which covers each step of a product purchase. From an order placed (via phone, web, email, etc.) to the sales rep, to fulfillment by your shipping department and payment to accounts receivable.

  • Measurable & Mission Critical

This covers those processes which are vital to the business, and that directly impact performance metrics.

  • Legacy

This category includes any processes that rely on one or more legacy applications to be completed. Additionally, this also covers those that require a significant additional capability such as HR functionality for employees.

  • Manual Research

Manual research processes are those that are currently handled by a staff-member. An example would be a furniture retailer’s reliance on physical discovery, and/or research into inventory aberrances.

  • Exceptions

These are any processes with exceptions that require quick turnarounds.

Sometimes however, the most important part of a strategy is in knowing what not to do, especially with a fairly horizontal capability like BPA. Areas that are not good candidates for automation include:

  • Legacy application replacement
  • High-volume transaction processing (such as a point-of-sale application, although cross-channel returns might be a good target)
  • Processes with little or no user interaction
  • Processes that can be simply and cheaply automated with other tools

For a first BPA initiative, select a process from your organization that is important, but not mission-critical or overly complex. A good first step is to focus on a specific and quick solution where a visible business process improvement will foster momentum for broader and more sustained BPM conversions.

The Benefits of Business Process Management Automation Software

As a technology, Business Process Management software can deliver endless benefits to any organization, no matter the size. Converting your business processes from ‘managed’ to ‘automated’ reduces operational costs and frees up employees to concentrate on other activities that are important for the success of your business. Tasks such as report creation and distribution, or the monitoring and/or reporting on company Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) can now be easily handled by your computer application.

Some of the direct benefits include:

• Stronger Revenue Streams

• Operational Savings

• Reduction in the Administration Involved with Compliance and ISO Activities

• Greater Company Agility

• Higher Customer Satisfaction Levels

• Eradication of Data Entry Errors

• Critical Failure Avoidance

Business Process Management automation software can greatly enhance the day-to-day operations of your company. With increasing demands and fluctuating profit margins – there’s never been a better time to invest in automation capabilities that will enable you to maximize performance. Business process automation will provide you the leverage you need to reduce costs and increase efficiency, enhancing your organization’s ability to remain competitive.

PositiveVision can help identify and automate your business process management.  For more of information regarding the best business processes to automate, and how to achieve an optimum level business automation, download our complimentary whitepaper below.

Complimentary Whitepaper ► ► Business Process Management and the Benefits of Automation

Topics: business process automation, business management software