For all of its transformative potential – more efficient ways of working, cost savings and competitive advantage – Business Process Automation (BPA) can serve up a host of issues for the unprepared. And if not managed with care, each one can swiftly short-circuit individual automation projects as well as larger ambitions.
There are many factors that need to be considered before starting an automation project, such as assessing current systems, identifying potential risks of change, and understanding the benefits of automating business processes. In short, the stakes are high. But awareness of the pitfalls can make all the difference, giving your teams a chance to anticipate and rise above them.
So, take an essential first step in your transformation journey by shedding light on the key challenges of business process automation in 2022 – and some tips for helping your organization to move forward to tackle the identified challenges with confidence.
Why do Business Process Automation (BPA) initiatives fail?
Lack of clear objectives - One of the frequent surprise challenges of business process automation comes from an understandable place: being too focussed on the short-term – in everything from communication and setup to execution and results. Projects get built for a specific number of users, based on an existing IT infrastructure, and a lack of flexibility quickly makes it difficult to scale.
While business leaders want to see their investments deliver a rapid return, they won’t be thrilled if quick wins end up hindering long-term objectives. You need to know from the start how a project will scale as your organization grows.
Broken processes or not identifying the right processes to automate - Business process automation (BPA) can do a lot of great things for your organization, like helping to drive new efficiencies, save costs and free your people to focus on more high-value work. One thing it can’t do is make a broken process work any better than it does without automation. Bad processes demand an entirely different kind of intervention!
You need to focus your automation efforts on mature processes with established rules and ready-made data inputs – ones that don’t require excess coordination between different teams and departments – so you can deliver tangible results in a short timeframe. However, the difficulty for managers to identify these processes stems from understanding the manual processes that already exist in a company and allocating resources to where they are needed most. Processes that are not necessary and non-value adding processes and processes where a high amount of tacit knowledge and personal judgment is required are not good candidates for automating as these processes are hard to encode and automate.
Integration and compatibility of legacy systems - To fully automate a process, you must be able to integrate with the various business line applications used by your firm to complete the process cycle. Older systems do not allow for integration; thus, you will almost certainly end up with human intervention and negating the objective of your aim being attempted.
Tracking how they contribute to larger business objectives - Most of your automation is increasing efficiency and reducing costs, but those aren’t the only goals automation was implemented to achieve. Equally as important is how they’re contributing to other business objectives like improving the employee and customer experience.
Centralizing all your processes, automated and otherwise, in one repository would give you a space to decompose processes from the highest business level, so you can see and measure how they’re impacting critical objectives. Process centralization using a BPA solution also reinforces better governance and a more effective process excellence management plan that only serves to further increase efficiency and ROI with the simplest of capabilities: seeing how your organization works in one, central place.
Maintaining privacy and security - Security and privacy are two topics that get a lot of attention, especially if the data is sensitive. These two concepts have become the center of attention due to the recent data breaches and the manipulation in recent times. Therefore, most organizations make sure that their systems are secure, but often it isn’t enough. One of the challenges of adopting business process automation is keeping information and data flowing between departments inside organizations secure and maintaining a high level of information privacy without endangering the process being performed.
Change management / Not having the employee buy-in - BPA deployment can be disruptive for your teams in the short term. As such, one of the key challenges you may face is getting employees on board. You’ll need to make sure everyone can navigate the changing workplace landscape and use the software where appropriate. Some team members may have automation anxiety — the fear that technology will take their job or make them insecure. Some team members may also be less tech-savvy. These issues compound into a reluctance to use the automation technology available.
You can address this challenge by introducing automation advocates and/or change agents to your team. These are people that support your teams and highlight how automation will help them. You should also make sure that everyone that needs it gets adequate automation training.
Using a One-Size-Fits-All Solution - Automation is sometimes used as a catch-all when it refers to multiple types of tech. For instance, there’s robotic process automation or RPA, intelligent workflows, execution management systems, and low-code or no-code application and integration platforms. There’s also process mining that powers intelligent automation. Using a one-size-fits-all approach can set you up for failure before you even get started. Take the time to match the automation technology to the need. Technology like RPA is great for taking care of your basic repetitive tasks, but it is often not enough for more complex, time-consuming tasks.
If you’re automating tasks that are part of larger processes, make sure to examine the underlying processes beforehand. If not, you’ll just be automating the inefficiencies in your current system, which won’t solve anything.
QuickReach – Helping You Overcome Business Process Automation (BPA) Challenges
QuickReach is designed to be your one-stop shop for all your BPA needs. The philosophy behind building the software is that we don’t want to sell you a software suite and leave it for you to implement it, but we are ensuring digital success. Our customer success team would be working with you to help you identify and implement automation on processes that would help you achieve your organizational goals.