Business Process Automation (BPA)

Business process automation is the use of technology to automate manual repetitive
tasks with minimal human intervention so that employees can focus on critical tasks.
Automating business processes minimizes costs, increases efficiency, and streamlines
processes from simple to complex.
A business process typically spans with multiple business departments, often
beginning with an action. Automating the workflow steps in the business process typically can
help improve accountability, efficiency, transparency, and enable accurate data recording of
each step, which can be accessed by relevant stakeholders when necessary. It will also retain
all process-related communication within the workflow to make execution easier and faster.
Business process automation use cases include the following:

  • Onboarding new employees: Integrating a new employee is an important business
    process that involves many low-level but meticulous tasks. They include filling out
    employee forms, scheduling training sessions, setting up direct bank deposit of salary.
    Automating the process eliminates much of the paperwork, ensures all steps are
    completed, and keeps relevant managers and employees informed. Automating the
    onboarding process results in a number of benefits when it comes to recruiting and
    retaining employees.
  • Onboarding new customers: In the financial services industry, banking, insurance
    and other finance companies must conduct background checks of new customers and
    inform the appropriate local and federal government agencies when they onboard
    them as part of Know Your Customer Rule requirements. BPA can help to streamline
    these processes by using artificial intelligence (AI) to automate many manual tasks.
    Faster, more automated processes also improve customer satisfaction.
  • Information technology (IT) service desk support: The volume of incoming IT
    tickets typically outpaces the capacity of IT support to handle them. Automation
    software can analyse, classify and route incoming tickets to the relevant support
    department or personnel, provide service updates to customers and alert IT workers
    to issues that need immediate attention for compliance reasons, among other core
  • Marketing automation: This allows companies to target customers with automated
    marketing messages across channels, such as email, websites, social media and text
    messages, to generate sales leads. The technology is a segment of customer
    relationship management (CRM). It’s typically used by marketing departments as a
    way to remove repetitive tasks from employees’ workflows and increase overall
    marketing efficiency.
    What Business Processes Should You Automate?
    Business process automation is not restricted to a handful of functions. Some factors
    that can indicate the need for automation include
  • High-volume of tasks
  • Multiple people required to execute tasks
  • Time-sensitive nature
  • Significant impact on other processes and systems
  • Need for compliance and audit trails
    If an activity meets all the criteria listed above, it’s very likely you need to automate
    your business process. The areas as follows.
  1. Workflow Management: Streamlines and organizes tasks for efficient execution.
  2. Task Scheduling: Enables automated scheduling of tasks and processes based on
    predefined rules.
  3. Process Monitoring: Tracks progress and provides real-time insights into ongoing
  4. Integration: Seamlessly connects with existing software and tools to unify data and
  5. Reporting and Analytics: Offers data-driven insights to support decision-making and
    process optimization.
  6. User Roles and Permissions: Ensures secure access control and task delegation
    within the system.
  7. Alerts and Notifications: Sends timely updates to stakeholders, keeping them
    informed of progress or issues.
  8. Error Handling: Detects and resolves issues to maintain smooth process execution.
  9. Customizable Templates: Provides pre-built templates that can be adapted to specific
    business needs.
  10. Version Control: Manages and tracks changes made to processes, ensuring
    consistency and auditability.
    Benefits of business process automation
    BPA drives efficiencies and standardization that, in turn, bring many business benefits,
    including the following:
  • Increased productivity.
  • Lower costs.
  • Reduced human error rates.
  • Greater employee satisfaction.
  • Higher revenue.
  • Improved customer service.
  • Insight into process success and failures.
  • Better auditing and compliance.
  • Easy compliance management.
    Replacing human effort with system to handle repetitive tasks saves time and reduces
    errors. To do this, businesses must carefully define the steps in their processes and subject
    them to limited interpretation. Workflow automation of boring tasks frees employees to do
    higher value work.
    By centralizing a business process through automation, organizations also gain
    transparency into their workflows.
    Challenges of business process automation
    Despite all the benefits of BPA, not every process is a good candidate for automation.
    Since automation isn’t a one-and-done effort, enterprises should periodically review how
    automated processes are affected by changes in governance requirements, regulations,
    security and other factors.
    Challenges businesses are likely to face with BPA include the following:
  • Scaling. A business might adopt BPA tools for a specific task or set of tasks. Scaling the
    BPA effort to encompass other goals in the future might not be easy.
  • Synchronization. When automation systems and bots share work with humans, it can be
    difficult to train people to work with the automation tools and provide all the needed
    information so the tools can operate effectively.
  • Overcoming roadblocks. Often, BPA tools are adopted to expedite processes without
    any consideration of potential disruptions that can slow or halt the work of BPA tools.
  • Insufficient documentation. BPA tools must be presented with clearly documented
    processes in a step-by-step format. A business lacking sufficient documentation would
    need to overcome this hurdle before using BPA.
    How to automate business processes?
    Before beginning a BPA project, it’s critical to understand how the existing process
    works, why it’s a good candidate for automation and how it should be changed. Here are some
    necessary first steps:
  1. Analyse the enterprise’s appetite for business automation. Business process
    automation changes how work gets done, so it requires buy-in from key stakeholders.
    The scope of the automation determines the level of executive commitment needed
    for a BPA effort. Employees need to be kept in the loop: Whether the BPA project is
    as straightforward as converting a paper form into electronic format and routing it to
    the appropriate people, or it’s a transformative automation effort designed to support a
    new business model, employees impacted by the automation must be trained on the
    new workflow and should understand the business value the BPA technology provides.
    It’s also important to communicate how the new automation could positively affect their
  2. Understand your processes and identify potential candidates for automation: It’s
    hard to get to where you want to be if you don’t know where you’re starting from. Before
    deploying an automation tool, it’s critical to know what the existing process involves.
    However, understanding existing business processes and the business rules that
    govern them isn’t easy for many organizations.
  3. Scope your project based on automation maturity: Companies typically gain the
    largest return on BPA projects that automate complex, business-critical processes and
    case management. Experts advise companies with limited experience in automation
    to start small, homing in on recurring, rules-based tasks, such as sales orders, where
    the steps are unambiguous and well understood. Various process intelligence
    capabilities, such as process mining and process capture, can help automate this work.
  4. Get input from key stakeholders on process steps to eliminate, optimize and
    automate: “Don’t pave the cow path” is another common saying in the process
    automation world. The idea is that automating an existing process without first
    examining where it can be improved or how it should change simply speeds up existing
    flaws. There’s debate about the wisdom of this warning, especially for companies
    looking for quick wins from automation. In general, BPA experts believe an existing
    process should be automated only after analysing how it could be more effective and
    input is gathered from key stakeholders. According to software engineer James
    Highsmith III, a prolific writer on software development and one of the original authors
    of the Agile Manifesto, successful automation projects have input from multiple
    sources, including business analysts, development teams and IT.
    Overall, business process automation can help organizations improve productivity,
    reduce costs, minimize errors, and enhance the overall quality of their products or services. It
    allows businesses to operate more efficiently and effectively in today’s increasingly digital and
    competitive landscape.
    BPA takes advantage of a variety of advanced technology, including the use of software
    applications, robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning
    (ML), automation tools, process intelligence capabilities and cloud platforms.
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