Owners often put a lot of effort into improving workflow. They know the value of time and look for the best way to set up business processes. Automation plays a crucial role in this matter. It helps employees better coordinate their work and guarantees a higher accuracy of results. Modern firms tend to reduce manual operations and rely on technologies. They pass a big part of human duties to robotic software. In some cases, it does simple routine tasks; in others – more complicated things.
In this post, we will figure out which programs are suitable for your company. We’ll clarify the difference between RPA and AI and consider some examples of their right appliance. So, if you want to optimize the workflow, read on.
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Why You Need Business Process Automation
Business process automation (BPA) is needed to respond to a changing environment quickly. As the company grows, the scope of work also extends. You can issue ten invoices manually, but it becomes a problem when there are thousands of them. The situation is the same with other processes in the company: from recruiting to accounting.
BPA is developing rapidly. While in 2016, the BPA market size was $5.1bn, in 2021, this figure is to reach $12.7bn. That clearly shows that firms are seeing positive results and are willing to invest further in this area.
Benefits of Business Process Automation
BPA undertakes many things that people don’t like, don’t want, or cannot do. As a result, you get a fast and predictable result with no glitches caused by the human factor. Automation reduces the number of work hours, and hence the costs required for staff maintenance. Besides, it brings many related bonuses and powers up the overall business activity.
BPA allows you to serve more customers with fewer employees. When routine tasks are organized using special programs, human participation is needed only in non-standard situations. The company’s profits are growing, but personnel costs are not. Employees can get higher salaries as they manage to handle more clients.
Many subtasks chew up valuable time but do not directly affect the company’s income. For example, scheduling shifts or distributing orders may take several hours but does not bring money. Still, such tasks are vital for building workflow. If you assign them to robotic technologies, your staff will have more room for creative things.
Some processes require perfect accuracy. There is no place for a mistake in processing orders or filling out reports. Human employees cannot guarantee error-free work. There is always a risk of them being tired, distracted, or upset. Such things never happen with automated programs that do clockwork at any time of day and night.
Automated tools can help you build trusting relations with clients by delivering excellent service. Imagine organizing a big conference and needing to call a thousand attendants to remind them about the event. This task is rather challenging unless you have a handy CRM to send bulk messaging or make a call using a robot.
The human-robot tandem gives the best results because each participant does the things they are good at. Automated tools can take on both simple and complex duties. In the first case, people get rid of monotonous tasks, and in the second – free from exhaustive ones. In each case, employees have greater job satisfaction, which means raised productivity.
Types of Business Process Automation
The type of BPA depends on what kind of jobs you want to delegate to robots and how much you want to reduce human participation. Depending on the company goals, you may choose robotic or smart automation. Let’s look at how they differ and which one suits you more.
Robotic Process Automation
RPA covers software tools that allow you to automate simple business processes. Such processes consist of repeated actions and do not require improvisation. RPA software cannot learn or make decisions. You don’t have to expect it comes up with any creativity or improves its work. However, you can be sure it follows a specific algorithm, and tirelessly performs certain actions as instructed.
RPA is used to shift easy yet time-consuming tasks onto the shoulders of software. Unlike humans, robots do not get bored and can do the same thing equally well during any period. This helps human managers get rid of routine work and concentrate on more exciting tasks. As a result, they work enthusiastically and improve their performance.
Example. The simplest use case is invoicing in an online store. Without automation, the manager must tell the client the payment details, manually check if the money has been credited to the account, and call the warehouse to send the goods. With automation, the client pays directly on the site, the manager receives a notification, and the item is shipped to the specified address.
Automation powered by Artificial Intelligence
This automation covers more complex processes that require analysis and decision making. Robots can learn, conclude, and correct themselves. They also understand human speech and resolve non-trivial issues. AI and ML gained wide usage in different fields. The most popular are image and text recognition, natural language generation, machine vision, sentiment analysis, data processing.
Smart robots are invented to replace people in some jobs rather than help them with certain tasks. In some cases, they are as good as people; in others, they are superior to humans and are the only way to accomplish the task.
Example. Imagine that a company wants to pay salaries on the cards of a particular bank. For that, a bank agent should register each employee as a bank client. The manual process can take up to several weeks because the agent needs to check each employee’s documents and enter the data into the banking system. With an app based on image recognition, they can scan the docs, and the data will be automatically added to the system. It will take no more than 1-2 days.
What Business Processes To Automate
So, we’ve figured out there are simple and complex business processes. Now let’s dive deeper into the topic and consider which processes are most often automated.
No matter what you sell – t-shirts, jewelry, or a gym membership – automated sales are the must. They help customers quickly order the needed product, and managers control thousands of orders without the risk of making mistakes. Sales automation involves using chatbots, CRM systems, and a payment gateway. Human assistance is only necessary if something goes wrong because everything happens automatically, starting from the “add to cart” button to the “confirm payment” button.
There are robotic solutions for phone, chat, and email. They cover voice bots, chatbots, and ticketing systems. The choice of technologies should be based on business specifics. For example, if you have an online store, consider using chatbots to help your clients pick the right goods. If you own a bank, voice technologies will help you guide clients through financial products and prevent fraud. If you sell software, a ticketing system is an excellent way to describe an issue in detail.
Setting tasks, distributing duties, tracking results – all this is tedious, time-consuming, and ineffective if done manually. Task management software helps you set up and control the process from point A to point Z. You can use it to prioritize and delegate tasks, set and correct deadlines, track progress and evaluate results, leave comments and gather feedback. Automative task tool can be used as a standalone solution or implemented as a part of your BPM software.
Some processes require multiple approvals by signing specific documents such as invoices, budgets, hiring orders, etc. Using a BPA tool, you can transfer docs from device to device. Special alerts will notify a person about the incoming paper, and an electronic signature will help sign it right in the app. In such a manner, you can collect all “approvals” as quickly as possible. Your employees won’t have to waste time on phone calls and in-person meetings.
Any organization needs to submit both internal and external reports. Smart systems successfully undertake this duty. They extract and analyze data used for report generation and you get in-depth analytics with tables and graphs. You can also modify the report format to submit it to official bodies or use it for in-house needs.
How To Implement Business Process Automation
BPA is a challenging process. It requires owners and developers to unite forces to choose the most effective way of implementation. Start by identifying the problem, proceed to the tech stack selection, and finish with maintenance and monitoring. Here’s a quick guide to your BPA:
Step #1. Define problems.
- Clients leave
- Information is lost
- No time control
- No result control
- Lack of analytics
Step #2. Set goals.
- Improve the quality of service
- Simplify the hiring process
- Reduce operating costs
- Expand analytics
- Optimize doc flow
Step #3. Select tools.
Here, your choice will be between ready-made tools and custom software. Both solutions have pros and cons. In short, an off-the-shelf program is faster and easier to implement, but the bespoke software is way more effective since it is developed specifically for your needs.
Step #4. Train staff.
- Appoint time for training
- Hire qualified instructors
- Prepare equipment
- Create a supportive work environment
- Tune for positive changes
Step #5. Track results.
After implementing BPA, you need to track how the innovations work. It will take some time to evaluate the outcome. You may want to make some changes during the operation, so make sure your developers stay in touch.
BPA is essential for any business. The question is, how much work you want to shift onto the robots and what results you expect to get. To choose the right path, you need to analyze the business and draw up a clear plan for the implementation. Start with highlighting key issues and define the processes to upgrade.
At Softensy, we specialize in enterprise apps and digitizing tools. Our BPM/CRM software runs in financial, real estate, farming, retail, and other firms. If you need automation and a reliable partner, contact us. We will offer a solution that will be most effective for your business.