Business process automation is gaining popularity in all business forms.
It is a great way to make sure manual, time-consuming, and repetitive tasks turn into standardized processes with little to no mistakes.
This usually includes tasks like employee onboarding, file transfer, generating and distributing reports, approval processes, and more, as an example. But of course, it varies greatly depending on the industry or company.
Given the right tools, your business operations can be set on autopilot, while you reap major benefits.
McKinsey found that 60% of occupations can save 30% of the time by incorporating automation into their day-to-day activities. In addition to saving time, there are other business process automation benefits, which we’ll be discussing in this post.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What Is Business Process Automation And How Does It Work?
- 8 Biggest Benefits Of Business Process Automation
- 5 Key Business Processes To Automate and How
What Is Business Process Automation And How Does It Work?
First things first, what is business process automation (BPA), exactly?
Business Process Automation (BPA) is the process of reducing manual effort in a business organization by automating recurring tasks or processes through the usage of various forms of technology.
Business processes range from simple tasks, such as handling a customer purchase order, to complex ones. For instance, managing a multi-million dollar loan contract. These processes, when handled manually, often require multiple on-site meetings, long email threads, and numerous back-and-forth documents.
A minor human error might lead to weeks of delays, bottlenecks, and communication breakdown amongst the parties involved. Business process automation ensures that such issues are at a minimum by streamlining business operations, increasing efficiency, improving productivity, and simplifying communication.
This then results in minimum costs, improved customer satisfaction, and free resources.
Even though business process automation sounds similar to business process management, there’s a massive difference between both, so don’t confuse them.
The difference between business process management (BPM) and automation (BPA) is as follows:
- Business process management (BPM) - Much wider discipline incorporating complex organization-wide processes’ management by utilizing numerous different methodologies
- Business process automation (BPA) - Automating mundane tasks via technology and marketing tools.
Now, on that note, let’s take a look at some of the biggest benefits of automating business processes you gain with this in mind.
8 Biggest Benefits Of Business Process Automation
Manual working is becoming obsolete.
If you want to stay up to date with the current work environment, then you’ll have to accommodate automation in your day-to-day activities.
With that said, some of the biggest benefits you gain with w
Following are eight main business process automation benefits:
- Saves employees’ time.
- Save costs and expenses.
- Increases efficiency and productivity.
- Minimizes human error and mistakes.
- Streamlines standard operating procedures (SOPs).
- Provides auditable records.
- Improves customer experience and satisfaction.
- Increases scalability.
Now, let’s take a look at each benefit in detail.
Saves employees’ time
One of the main purposes behind automating a business is to save employees’ time without compromising on results.
Mundane tasks, such as approving paperwork and document processing take around 2.12 hours of office workers’ time, according to research. Week over week, this adds up.
With business process automation, you’ll save your employees over 2 hours daily, which they can use for more important and productive crucial tasks.
Software like document generation systems can be of huge help when it comes to automating administrative tasks much faster and error-free.
Saves cost and expenses
Lost productivity and time result in the loss of billions, not just in terms of labor but profit as well, since 20% to 30% of revenue is lost each year due to inefficient business processing.
In addition to labor and revenue, there are other costs as well. For instance, tons and tons of paperwork that require paper, printing (ink and electricity), and postal costs, to name a few.
You can cut such costs through document automation.
And if you’re not sure about the benefits, keep in mind that 59% of businesses going paperless achieved full ROI on their operations within 12 months. Meanwhile, 84% achieved payback in less than 18 months.
Increases efficiency and productivity
Repetitive tasks that have the potential to be automated cost $5 trillion in lost productivity annually.
With business process automation, your employees can tackle multiple such tasks at once, and in most cases, they won’t have to provide any input, and the system will do everything itself.
In addition to improving productivity, business process automation enhances efficiency. It allows your employees to perform tasks with minimal effort.
For instance, a dashboard with all the tasks set out enables employees to stay on top of and manage deadlines easier, and streamline collaboration.
According to Frevvo:
- 51% of business process automation (BPA) efforts are aimed at boosting efficiency.
- Over half of organizations agree that automation and BPA minimize human error in workflow operations.
- 85% of business leaders believe that automating their workload will give them and their employees more time to focus on tasks that matter.
Minimizes human errors and mistakes
Humans are prone to making errors regardless of how capable or skilled they are.
With manual repetitive tasks, there are chances of slip-ups, delays, and inefficiency.
A minor error in a business process can lead to days of delays, and, in some cases, revenue loss. You can sufficiently reduce the likelihood of errors by utilizing business process automation (BPA).
Streamline standard operating procedures (SOPs)
Manual business processing is quite messy as different people have different working styles, which results in a loss of efficiency.
An automated business process, however, allows employees to follow consecutive steps in a systematic manner leading to a standardized result.
Harmonization in the workflow ensures that all the critical steps are followed and that documents aren’t lost.
This can either be a standardized checklist or a well-defined flow used in internal documentation.
Provides auditable records
As a result of standardization, each automated business phase is recorded resulting in a proper audit trail.
It simplifies the following activities:
- Tracking documents.
- Document control management.
- Mapping how documents moved through the system.
- Seeing who performed what task.
- Keeping a check on when each action was performed.
Auditable records enable businesses to retrieve data easily, which might be required for answering customers' queries or for showcasing regulatory compliance.
Additionally, this can also help with each step of the document management lifecycle system.
In the context of document management and automation, you can automate business processes such as:
- Document creation.
- Sharing or indexing files.
- Legally compliant document deletion or destruction.
- And more.
Now, let’s get back on topic.
Improves customer experience
Excellent customer service and support are essential for a business’ growth.
Here, business process automation helps in providing quick responses to customers’ queries and providing them with the best possible resource without delay.
These two factors combined instill trust and loyalty within customers, which lead to business growth and competitive advantage.
As your business expands, your administrative responsibilities also scale accordingly.
Handling 10 invoices isn’t the same as handling 100, and employing extra people for handling administrative activities isn't a wise approach. Especially for tasks that can be easily automated.
Now, in this case, invoice management can be easily automated.
Is document automation right for you?
See our full guide on 5 factors that make document automation possible for more info on this.
To recap so far, business process automation (BPA) has scalability potential at a substantially lower and quicker rate than the manual workforce, making it essential within most businesses.
Now, if you’re wondering what are some practical tasks or business areas you could be automating, here’s what you need to know.
5 Key Business Processes To Automate and How
You can start incorporating business process automation piece by piece into your business by targeting the areas that require immediate attention.
A complete overhaul at first might be difficult to undergo directly. Besides, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
It’s difficult for employees to adjust to major change, and second, it might take way longer than going step by step.
So, instead, here is a quick list of key business process automation examples you can start with.
Invoice processing is the process conducted by the accounts payable department.
It involves automating a series of steps of managing invoices. (vendor or supplier) From checking the legitimacy of receipts to ensuring payments and recording in the general ledger to make the company ready for audit. You can also automate rendering and generating electronic invoices.
Doing all this manually is rather daunting, and thus, companies opt for automated invoice processing or invoice automation to speed up the process and reduce errors.
Here’s how to automate invoicing in a nutshell:
- Switch to paperless invoice processing.
- Scan vendor invoices who aren’t willing to go paperless.
- Centralize your data and processes through an integrated accounting system.
Excellent employee onboarding is directly related to employee productivity. 42% of employees show better productivity when they get quality onboarding training.
In recent times, businesses are noticing that new employees, usually millennials, don’t appreciate when they have to wait for someone to show them what to do.
They need tools to start right away, which means there isn’t a better time than now to introduce automated employee onboarding.
Here’s how you can automate your employees' onboarding process:
- An e-signature platform that sends out welcome emails on receiving signed contracts and notifies the IT department to set up the new employee’s user accounts
- Introduce multiple levels of onboarding online courses to make new employees familiar with how your organization works
- A workflow software with roadmaps briefing the initial milestone of the new employee
As mentioned above, business process automation can also help with improving customer experience and providing support.
Customer support is the backbone of ensuring that your company retains its customers by providing excellent service and support.
There’s nothing better than solving your angry customers' queries and complaints without spending a ton of time on calls with them.
There is various software out there that perform these services in an excellent manner.
Tools like Zendesk, for example, allow businesses to support communication through various channels but also provides insights into your company’s overall customer support process.
Sales and CRM processes
If you ask any salesperson, they’ll say paperwork is probably the worst part of their job.
After all, their best skills are in use when they are communicating, prospecting with clients, and closing deals.
The best way to cut this hassle is by automating sales and CRM activities, such as call logging and document filing.
Here’s how sales paperwork can be automated:
- Connected devices.
- Automated call logging.
- Digital workflows between the sales tools.
Automatic document generation
In business process automation, automated document generation is a process of automatically creating critical documents. This includes documents like:
- Invoices and bills.
- Cash receipts.
- Financial statements.
- Medical tests and results.
- Confirmation letters.
- And more.
The major form of automatic document generation is based on template-based document generation. Thich involves inputting 2 types of information into templatized document fields:
- Static information - Content that stays the same.
- Dynamic information - Content that changes.
This information is gathered from connected databases, such as a CRM, and is then fed into the system, which then generates the required document.
An excellent tool in this regard is Inkit Render, which is a REST API template-based software.
Meaning, that once you connect it to a web platform, it’ll start converting HTML data to custom, standardized PDFs. It offers numerous format customization options, which makes creating and filling unique document templates a breeze.
Hope this guide on the benefits of automating key business processes was helpful!
These were the 5 major business process automation examples and 8 main business process automation benefits.
Now, if you’re ready to start gaining the benefits of business process automation, one area you can start with is document generation.
For that, essentially, you’ll need to decide on the right document management solution to help with your key business processes.
Is document automation right for your business?
See our full guide on how to evaluate document management solutions for more info!