Five Reasons to Go for Business Process Automation
Updated: May 7, 2020
By: Siddharth Wadehra, QuickReach Digital Transformation Practice Lead &
Katherine Ina Fuentes, QuickReach Digital Transformation Consulting Associate
As a senior manager or a business owner who might not always have abundant resources at your disposal, you do everything you can to put your company on the right track. You make smart hires, invest in training your team, and pick software that you won’t outgrow in two years. But, where are you on business process automation?
The US Council of Economic Advisors estimates that 83% of jobs paying less than $20 an hour could be automated soon. The McKinsey Global Institute predicts that 20% of all jobs could be automated in a similar time frame.
But aside from lost jobs, how do executives and managers prepare for such an onslaught? What kind of preparations will ensure that your business doesn’t suffer the same fate as the many other industries disrupted by digital transformation? Can you embrace technology while also have a thriving workforce?
Automation is a present and increasing reality and the sooner you can bring it into your company’s culture and foundation, the better prepared you will be for the future.
‘Digitalization is NOT the same as automation’
The first step in including automation into your company is to understand what automation is and what it isn’t. To start, you need to understand the difference between digitalized and automated.
For example, a company that has gotten rid of paper reimbursement forms in favor of fillable PDFs has digitized the form. Eliminating inter-office memos in favor of email is digitization. Turning your employee handbook into a wiki-style format is digitizing. But, none of these are examples of automation.
For automation, the enemy is not paper but the manual transfer of data. If your traveling salesperson must download a reimbursement form, punch in all the data, email it to her manager for approval, and then forward the email and form to the finance department for processing, although the process has a facade of digitization, it’s a labor-intensive manual workflow.
Automation seeks to eliminate as much of this manual transfer of data as possible.
In an automated workflow, your salesperson would start with a reimbursement form that is already half-filled-in with all of her details. After submitting all the details, she hits 'Submit'. From that moment, she doesn’t need to do anything but wait for the cash to be deposited into her account. Every member of the process needs only to complete their small role (i.e. approval, processing) while the transfer is handled without any human lifting.
In the book Digital Transformation with Business Process Automation, Keith Swenson of Fujitsu America says, “As we make everything digital, what is it that we are transforming? There is little to gain from digitizing things that are already automated. The real benefit comes from transforming things that are not automated; things that today are human processes.”
So, what does business process automation really bring to the table? Here are the most pressing reasons why you should start getting your hands-on business process automation.
Reduced processing time
If you were to eliminate all the time your team currently spends manually inserting, creating, tracking, and transferring data, what kind of savings could you imagine? Business process automation helps your company spend less time on mundane busy work and more on things that matter.
When you have an automated, predefined workflow for your processes, the chance of error is greatly reduced. Systems and machines rarely fail in accurately handling data. If you use intelligent forms and appropriate approvals, you can expect your processes to run with zero errors.
Reduced operational costs
The alternative to an automated system is to hire someone to handle all the data generated by a single process and ensure its completion. It is likely that you already have people on staff who are performing some of these manual tasks. By freeing them up to do other things, you will have not only reduced errors but also saved on labor costs that don’t get much of a return.
With business process automation, you can see the status of any item inside that process with a glance. Imagine processing 600 sales invoices a month and wanting to know what stage a single order is in. In a manual environment, this means searching through files, emails, and phone calls. In an automated system, it’s often at a simple click of a button.
Data and analysis
With manual processes, it is extremely difficult to gather data on how well the process is running. You probably have no idea how long employee onboarding, vendor payments, or service requests take to complete on average if you have a manual system. When you turn to business process automation, you can see exactly how long the process takes, and where the bottlenecks are that you need to address.
There are many ways to improve your ways of doing business and one of the best ones is to business process automation. Any company that wants to be a step ahead should consider business process automation especially because it exponentially simplifies business operations. In this modern times, there's definitely an abundance of tools that can be used to automate old, boring, manual tasks. Do yourselves, your employees, and customers a favor and start working your way to automation and eventually reap its benefits.
QuickReach takes business process automation to a whole new level
An intelligent business process automation suite like QuickReach could help you to integrate paperless workflows into your legacy systems, be it in finance, HR, office admin, or IT. Its built-in templates and easy-to-configure drag-and-drop visual interface allow you to deploy the first digital process in a matter of minutes!