Business Process Automation: What, Why, & HowBy: Ramin Ettehad
Businesses conduct thousands or even millions of repetitive tasks and transactions every day – and many of these can be automated.
What Is Business Process Automation?
At the simplest level, Business Process Automation (BPA) means automating repeatable business transactions. But BPA can handle more than simple tasks––by integrating software and IT solutions into business processes, organizations can carry out complex, error-prone tasks quickly and seamlessly.
Automating business processes can make a big difference for senior executives looking to improve efficiency, reduce cost, alleviate risk, and eliminate manual errors and redundancies.
BPA can transform your business. Automating complex processes can streamline operations, improve consistency, and save money.
Getting Started with Business Process Automation
What, exactly, is a business process? A business process is a multi-step operation that contributes to the organization's goals. The process involves tasks, transactions and activities that follow a particular procedure.
In today's economy, most business processes involve interactions with systems and software.
The core of HR processes include benefits administration, payroll, HR compliance, training, recruitment, performance management, and onboarding and offboarding employees, managed with the help of Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS).
The finance department typically uses Finance Management Systems (FMS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to manage invoicing, budgets, tax processing, cash flow management and forecasting.
Sales and marketing teams rely on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to manage prospect and existing customer engagement throughout the sales cycle including contacts, campaigns, pipeline, quotes, account history, renewals and customer success.
The IT department oversees technology deployment and maintenance, onboarding and offboarding employees, service requests, IT compliance and audit readiness, and life cycle management of endpoints, software, and infrastructure.
Many organizations create standard procedures and playbooks to handle these step-by-step tasks. BPA helps organizations automate these complex, repeatable tasks.
8 Business Processes To Automate
Before automating business processes, your organization must consider which processes to target with BPA.
Which business processes should your organization automate? Any process that is repeatable and requires consistency across the organization can benefit from BPA. Processes with little room for error also benefit from a standardized procedure like BPA.
In terms of specific business processes, many organizations benefit from automating the following key operations:
- Onboarding new employees/contractors and providing timely access to resources
- Offboarding employees and ensuring timely deprovisioning, resource reclamation, reassignment, reuse and decommissioning
- Providing IT service desk support for employees or customers
- Managing quote to cash processes for potential or current clients
- Monitoring employee performance
- Coordinating social media posts and marketing activities across various channels
- Collecting audit data and compliance information
For example, BPA can streamline the process of providing software and cloud access to new employees. It can also bring together previously siloed data to streamline the audit process or identify security gaps.
How Can Business Process Automation Improve Your Business?
Business Process Automation can help any business. The specific impact depends on your business's needs. For example, does your business report auditing data? BPA can streamline audit readiness by automating the collection process.
If your business relies on procurement, BPA can more accurately forecast procurement and supply needs, eliminating uncertainty in forecasting.
How can BPA help your business? Here are some of the many benefits of BPA:
At its core, BPA makes complex business processes run smoothly. That means streamlining your processes and improving efficiency. It also reduces redundancies and decreases the chance of human error. By turning your standard operating procedures into an automated process, you'll see the benefits of streamlining.
In many organizations, silos create redundancies and inconsistencies. When separate departments manage overlapping tasks without clear communication or standard operating procedures, businesses suffer. BPA reduces silos by requiring the creation of clear operating procedures that are automated.
Inconsistency can confuse customers and harm operations. When departments use different procedures, forms, or tracking methods, skilled employees spend their time reconciling data and senior executives lack consistent data for decision making. And inconsistent processes can cost your organization customers. BPA means more consistent operations.
Inefficiency and redundancy eat away at the bottom line. Automation can improve efficiency by eliminating repetitive and error-prone manual tasks. And it frees up employees to focus on strategic initiatives. By targeting inefficiencies and eliminating redundancies, BPA saves costs and boosts profits.
Boost Customer Satisfaction
In customer-focused businesses, automated processes mean a smoother customer experience. And implementing BPA in areas like tech support or sales can mean faster resolution to customer issues, which translates into higher customer satisfaction.
Implement BPA for Common IT Processes
While BPA has been embraced in areas such as sales, finance, operations and manufacturing, IT has been slower to adopt it. Common IT processes such as employee offboarding and onboarding, technology forecasting and procurement, IT compliance and audit readiness, and SaaS and Cloud optimization are still heavily reliant on service tickets and human orchestration across tools and teams.
Service tickets are appropriate for people-centric processes such as incident management and customer support, but are inefficient and resource-intensive for automating technology-centric processes, such as the ones mentioned above. That’s why Oomnitza offers a solution that enables rapid business process automation for IT with pre-built and configurable automation playbooks.