What is Business Process Automation (BPA) and Why Does it Matter?
Updated: May 7
By: Siddharth Wadehra, QuickReach Head of Research
Business Process Automation and digital transformation seem to be the buzzwords today. Despite all the hype and attention it receives, the story on the ground seems to be different. While significant capital and resources are being pumped into getting processes automated, companies are still grappling with getting the basics right. While there are fears of jobs being lost due to automation, companies are absolutely convinced by the value it brings to the table including optimizing operational effectiveness and reducing costs. Given this background, Forrester in its report ‘Sorry State of Digital Transformation 2018’ pointed out that more than one in five still do not have process excellence and workflow automation.
This article discusses what exactly is Business Process Automation (BPA) and why should it be on top of your organization's priority list:
So what really is Business Process Automation (BPA)?
Business process automation (BPA) is the use of technology to execute recurring tasks or processes in a business where manual effort can be replaced. It is done to achieve cost minimization, greater efficiency, and streamlined processes.
Business process automation (BPA) is not to be confused with business process management (BPM), which is a larger discipline involving the management of complex organization-wide processes using different methodologies.
Why should you consider BPA?
While there are many reasons why companies should consider business process automation, some of the most important ones are listed below:
1. Kickstarting your digital transformation journey
Digital transformation is a long arduous journey and companies often do not understand the best approaches to undertake it. More often than not the best place to kickstart your digital transformation journey is from within. Business process automation can be a stepping-stone to adopting that culture of continuous transformation. You can start with a few processes that are clearly in need of correction and gradually work into customer-centric products and innovation moonshots. There is a detailed article which we have written on this (Reference: The Best Place to Kickstart Digital Transformation)
2. Optimized processes and operations
One of the great outcomes of business process automation (BPA) system are streamlined processes. Clear accountability, customizable notifications, valuable insights, and faster turnaround times make it easier to eliminate wasteful activities and focus on enhancing tasks that add value. Not to mention monotonous and mundane tasks could well be automated. Standardization helps to position your organization as reliable, which in turn can help increase your customer base.
3. Cost reduction
When you look to automate processes, error-prone human-centric tasks could be done efficiently and at a cheaper price by machines. Employees could be reskilled and given tasks that might be more optimum to their skillsets. When you automate a business process, you can expect a consistent standard of outcomes every time. With effective reporting, analytics, and the insights associated with them, the senior management can understand the burning areas they intend to tackle. All of these result in significant cost savings which the organization could invest in using more optimally.
4. Customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is a key differentiator in any industry. Focusing on process and operational excellence helps you exceed customer expectations with ease. When you consistently meet promised standards, customers are more likely to develop a preference for your company.
With business process automation (BPA), every detail of a particular process is recorded. This information can be presented to demonstrate compliance during audits.
Automation necessitates a certain amount of clarity about the process right at the designing stage. If you don’t know the tasks involved and the people responsible for running the process, you can’t design and automate the workflow accurately.
Further, process mapping can provide clarity to all employees and serve as a training resource as well. The insights you gain from analyzing an automated process can clearly show you the gap between your process as is and as it should ideally be.
Putting it all together
There are innumerable benefits which your business could expect to gain once you have automated your business processes. The first visible benefit would be a boost in productivity brought about by 24/7 access. Cloud-based business process automation tools store your data in a central database and more importantly can be accessed through any device- even a mobile phone.
Additionally, your business processes will become much more transparent. You can track and monitor processes while they are running, which can improve accountability and visibility. The ability to monitor processes on the go will also help you keep a lookout for errors, fixing them as they occur. Performance reports will arm you with insights so you can take preventive measures against recurring errors.
From a long-term perspective, the organization would begin to notice faster turnaround times and a reduction in costs due to fewer manual interventions. The senior management would be in a position to enhance workforce allocation since the application will handle most of the non-value adding recurring tasks. A business process automation system will ultimately enable growing business efficiency. Since it is based on the notion of continuous process improvement, efficiency levels will keep increasing in response.
Once you are in control of this, you are now ready to turn your focus to customer-facing digital solutions which would allow you to innovate and explore new business models.
Acing business process automation with QuickReach
There are a lot of processes that you can start automating in your organization, be it in
Automating these business processes should not be a hassle and will be as easy as one-two-three when done through QuickReach. QuickReach offers various workflow templates that match your existing processes within business areas. You may also automate the special processes that you have unique to your company through its Experience Studio.