There is no easy way to say this.
If you’re not already adopting automated processes at work, you’re likely spending valuable time (and money) on repetitive tasks instead of the work you were hired to do. You’re not alone in this. A study shows that office workers waste up to 227.5 hours a year on routine work (responding to emails, chasing after feedback, onboarding new hires, etc.). On a macro level, this number represents a global loss of productivity in the United States equivalent to $1.8 trillion (yes, trillion with a “t”) annually.
While these numbers can leave you light-headed, there is a prominent solution to the redundancy problem: Business process automation.
What is business process automation?
Business process automation (BPA) is a term that refers to the use of software to control and monitor workflow. In basic terms, business process automation eliminates the need for people to perform repetitive and manual tasks to increase productivity.
Business process automation has a wide range of use cases, from automating manual tasks to streamlining complex processes. Examples of process automation include:
- Repetitive tasks such as data entry or report generation.
- Manual tasks such as analyzing data or generating reports.
- Complex processes such as managing invoices or compiling information for a marketing campaign.
What are the benefits of business process automation?
Improving overall efficiency and productivity.
Business process automation can improve the efficiency and overall productivity of your business through the elimination of errors and the reduction of the time it takes to complete tasks. Because automation deals with monotonous and repetitive tasks, it improves workflow efficiency so you and your team can focus on core business processes.
Automation standardizes common business processes, sets higher security standards, and maintains maximum operational efficiency for the entire team. It also standardizes workflows and allows operations to be performed more predictably, keeping your work consistent with expected results.
Business process automation reduces the burden of repetitive tasks on employees. Specifically, BPA aims to automate repetitive tasks that would otherwise require manual intervention such as employee onboarding, file transfers, report generation and distribution, approval processes, and more. By digitizing workflows, you mentally and physically free up your employees from draining tasks. Getting their valuable time back, your team is then able to focus on activities they were paid to do.
Identifying, improving and simplifying complex activities.
Business process automation involves identifying tedious, time-consuming, and repetitive manual tasks and replacing them with more efficient, faster, and automated activities using specialized software tools. Robotic process automation (RPA) is an area of automation that is often compared to BPA because they both emphasize process improvement by removing human interaction from repetitive activities.
By defining and reengineering processes, you have the opportunity to improve the flow of information between departments. Businesses use BPA to automate numerous steps in core and support functions to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Business process automation extends business process management (BPM), a technology in which core business rules automate data-driven activities such as purchase order approval and travel reimbursement. While some business processes, such as filling out forms and maintaining records, are automated, BPA deals with more complex business-related functions.
Eliminating burnout and enhancing the employee experience.
Business process automation enhances the employee experience by allowing your employees to focus on exciting activities such as income-generating activities. In a Kelton Global Survey, 68% of employees say that they experience work overload. Introducing BPA can eliminate the redundant work that depletes your team’s time and energy, thus giving them the space to innovate and thrive in their zone of genius.
Staying competitive and increasing the bottom line.
Business automation software solutions can offer you many benefits to stay competitive, increase profits and improve overall efficiency. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large enterprises are implementing business process automation solutions for various purposes such as monitoring inventory, managing production, controlling budgets, simplifying reporting, or improving communication with customers. Integration automation allows machines and software to track and analyze how employees perform tasks and simulate them.
A well-designed BPA can eliminate the need for manual processes and systems - or at least minimize them. Consequently, you won't have to pay existing staff, let alone hire new staff, to run those processes. Moreover, the automation of work decreases the costly problems associated with inadequate handoffs between departments, as well as the ability to move work seamlessly between departments or functions.
Reducing errors and biases.
Automation removes the human error behind many inefficient activities in your organization, especially in areas that require manual paperwork. It is easy to become complacent when you repeat a task over and over. As a result, you are more likely to get distracted, disregard a step or simply make a mistake. When specific processes are taken out of human hands, routine activities are executed correctly and in a timely manner. Through the utilization of digital business automation tools, companies can avoid errors, thereby saving time and costs of rework.
By standardizing processes, BPA can help eliminate biases that could influence decision-making. For example, an HR officer can inadvertently choose candidates to interview based on cognitive biases, while an automated system makes choices based on pre-set requirements. BPA helps companies take the focus off manual and labour-intensive processes and improve coordinated workflows that can add business value efficiently and effectively.
Achieving organizational goals.
It goes without saying that every productive hour spent helps in pushing the entire organization closer to hitting its targets.
Business process automation software helps teams achieve organizational goals by implementing new processes that increase efficiency, save time, and reduce operational costs. With the help of business process automation tools, companies reduce the time to complete tasks from hours to seconds, increasing employee productivity.
A few areas where business process automation can help organizations streamline processes are contract management, employee onboarding, accounts payable, and more. BPA can significantly automate entire workflows such as auditing, compliance, and data collection while freeing up significant resources, and eliminating risk. As a result, the organization as a whole can increase its agility and achieve its goals.
Investing in business process automation has the potential to scale your operations, reduce costs and give you a competitive edge in whichever industry you operate in.
Don’t know where to start? Ditto can help with that! Contact us today and we’ll guide you to organize, optimize, and automate your business's systems and processes.