Automating business processes is often referred to as BPA, namely Business Process Automation which is a way of taking different applications and integrating them, using software applications and restructuring to make business processes happen in a manner that is seamless and effortless. In fact there are very compelling reasons why business processes should be automated; here are the top 10.
1. Technology and the automation of processes can increase productivity by reducing the time taken to perform repetitive tasks. This is indeed a compelling reason for automation of processes: since increased productivity with less labour costs means increased profit.
2. Automated processes will also reduce defects, which in turn saves money and enhances the production process.
3. An automated process will also ensure that each process will run effortlessly and that it will run the same way every time it is run; there will be no room for human errors and as everyone knows, ‘To err is human’. So there will be fewer mistakes made and mistakes may not simply be defects, but can be about making mistakes that can impact on the production process as a whole.
4. Automated systems do not get bored. Anyone who has to undertake a repetitive task over and over again will get bored. This will slow down their performance (and increase the risks of defects) however, an automated process will not become bored, no matter how often it is run, so performance is not slowed down; it is run at the same speed every time.
5. The automation of processes also means that they will always ensure compliance with internal or external requirements, such as statutory requirements.
6. Cost savings are also made by the reduction of training that staff will require. Historically it could have taken a long time to train staff to do even the most repetitive of tasks, especially if the task required a high degree of accuracy. However, if they are using an automated process, it takes far less training, so overheads are reduced significantly.
7. Automated systems also make auditing an easier process in itself, so there is less time taken to analyse and audit processes and the production process as a whole.
8. Automated systems are also incredibly flexible, so it is easy to make changes, or at least far easier than it would be to change processes that involve only humans. This flexibility can be important if changes are required at short notice.
9. The fact that defects are reduced means that customer satisfaction is increased, often quite significantly, so customers will be kept happy whilst profits are increased, which is good business sense and one of the most compelling arguments for automating any business process.
10. A workforce that is not bored by repeatedly undertaking very repetitive tasks or who are not faced with reams of data that they need to analyse, or who don’t have to worry about achieving high degrees of accuracy each time, because the technology solves all these problems, will actually be a happier workforce. In a sense this brings about two benefits:
• A happier workforce tends to be a more productive workforce because they are not stressed by their work and they have a more relaxed and happier working environment, which helps them to devote their attention to the tasks in hand.
• A happier workforce is also a more stable workforce, because they are less likely to leave. This in turn further reduces staff training costs, because staff are not being recruited, trained only for them to leave. Instead they remain in post and so do not require further training.
Thus the automation of processes is not a radical concept, it is simply about making sure that businesses can survive within very tough times!