Business process automation gives companies a new set of capabilities, and those who have already implemented it consider it a wise decision. As can be found in the latest Camunda’s “STATE OF PROCESS AUTOMATION REPORT 2022“, in a one-year period, 72% of respondents report a return on investment of at least 50% on process automation, and almost 90% spotted increased business growth.
In this article, I’ll show you how business process automation can boost growth and how it solves various problems that companies face in today’s world. Find inside:
- What is business process automation (BPA)?
- What areas are affected by process automation?
- What problems does BPA solve? Real-life business processes cases.
- How to leverage business process automation in your organization.
What is business process automation? A difference between BPA and RPA
Business process automation (BPA) is the transformation of manual workflows. With the help of modern technology, it replaces human labor with intelligent solutions. Seemingly a small change, it brings with it a number of benefits that go far beyond simply removing repetitive manual tasks. We will outline them more extensively below.
In the context of BPA, you may come across the acronym RPA (robotic process automation). It is worth noting the relationship between the two terms and the main difference. A well-planned BPA can identify and address inefficiencies throughout a business process, with the goal of increasing their efficiency. RPA, on the other hand, focuses its energies on individual activities, introducing automated, rule-based “robot” programs that efficiently perform basic manual tasks. In short, business process automation is a broader concept that focuses on a holistic approach to the process, while robotic process automation is viewed more as a tool used to achieve a goal.
Both terms are strongly associated with business process management (BPM), a set of methods that discover, model, analyze, measure, improve, optimize and automate business processes.
What areas are affected by process automation?
To answer this question, it is necessary to understand what all companies in the world have in common. The answer is: processes. In order to achieve selected goals or deliver a product/service, employees must perform a series of tasks that make this possible. It is these interrelated tasks that are called processes. Thus, there is no industry that cannot benefit from process automation, although some industries, such as insurance, banking and retail, are leading the way in the use of BPA, while others remain in the peloton.
What processes are worth considering for implementing BPA?
The most significant benefits can be derived from the automation of repetitive business processes, that are documented, time-consuming, high risk and, most importantly, are possible to automate. Such processes can include:
- Transcribing information from documents;
- Completing databases;
- Transferring data between systems;
- Ordering recurring payments;
- Verifying the accuracy of invoices and issuing them;
- Comparing data from multiple systems;
- Preparing reports;
- Sending emails or automatic replies;
- Archiving documents;
- Scheduling tasks and appointments;
- Taking orders and bookings;
- Handling complaints and returns;
- Updating the customer database;
- Generating and verifying leads;
- Responding to customer inquiries;
- Self-service sales;
As you can see, the scope is large and still does not cover all the business processes that can be undertaken by the BPA. Most of the business processes listed above are universal to many companies and industries, differing only in their internal rules. That only proves that business process automation can affect multiple industries.
What problems does BPA solve? Benefits of business process automation
CEOs and managers have always faced many adversities, but the current market additionally does not make it easy to function and grow. Ever-increasing competition, rapidly changing customer habits, changes in work (remote mode), financial problems (rising global inflation) or changing regulations mean that companies must adapt even faster to remain competitive, efficient and effective.
Automation done well, can:
- Improve customer service and experience
- Introduce money savings
- Reduce errors
- Enable regulatory compliance
- Improve tracking of business processes, which improves visibility into process effectiveness and efficiency
- Enhance management of remote work
- Keep up with tasks, or even scale work by introducing solutions that can run 24/7
Real-life business processes cases where BPA can help
Let’s see some examples, that shows how the mentioned benefits can be achieved with business process automation.
Improving customer service in the banking industry
There are many business processes in the financial sector that require customers to fill out multiple forms and come to the branch in person. Process automation in the banking sector could be used, for example, to build a process through the self-service channel. Customers could provide the necessary information online, and a combination of automatic and manual verification would ensure proper control and data quality. Such a solution could reduce queues, increase service availability, improve customer satisfaction and enable the bank to process more cases at the same time, which would lead to better ROI.
Efficient Data Flow in the insurance business process
Still in many insurance companies, the ordering system and the claim processing system operate separately. This slows down work and causes errors to creep in when transferring data, which is often done manually by copy/paste. Introducing automation and arranging business processes in the right way can put an end to asynchronous data processing and can introduce a consistent flow, initiated from the online application after a specific task is completed. The result of that kind of business process automation allows to track process and avoid mistakes.
Automation of Repetitive tasks
BPA technology can take over the responsibilities of routine and non-strategic activities, freeing employees from these processes. An example of such repetitive tasks, are invoices processing. To solve the manual process, RPA bots can be introduced to read and understand data from multiple documents. It is also possible to program them to present the extracted data to users through an intuitive interface and enter them into the system. Employees can therefore focus entirely on tasks that require the human element, such as developing relationships with customers.
BPA can find its use in a wide range of processes. However, it is wise to ask whether it is worth implementing automation everywhere. After all, there are some business processes that, although they can be easily automated, can negatively impact the customer experience.
Business Process automation in your company
The goals for introducing automation can be manifold. For example, in an industry where you sell services or products, a well suited solution is to introduce simple customer self-service automation on your website. This reduces the workload on your employees, while effortlessly adding a new revenue stream by allowing customers to purchase products directly online.
If you’ve identified an area in your company where introducing business process automation could benefit, you have made already a great work effort! But next step should consider a creation of simple Proof of Concept (PoC). It will prove whether a non-intrusive introduction of a BPM engine into your company’s ecosystem is possible.
Knowing the business process management engine, makes swapping code and setting up the new feature easy, as long as your contractor has the necessary knowledge of BPA, BPM, BPMN and BPMS.
How can Devapo help you with BPA?
As business process automation specialists, we can build applications that are more agile, collaborative and productive, achieving the business flexibility, visibility and scalability needed to drive digital transformation.
Our projects are mainly based on two BPMS engines: Camunda and IBM.
If your IT department is too occupied to build or maintain your current solution, or you need to replace a manual or outdated process, we can support you. We have helped companies from financial, insurance, and telecommunications sectors automate their HR, finance, sales and operations processes.