Businesses become more complex as they grow and develop. To deal with this, it becomes necessary to start implementing process workflows.
But even the most rigorous workflows come with difficulties of their own. This can lead to significant investments of time, money, and resources. Not only does this hurt your bottom line, but it can also affect your business’s ability to continue growing.
This is where business process automation can help.
What is business process automation?
First of all, what do we mean by ‘business process automation’ (BPA)?
Every business depends on a variety of different processes, most of which are executed daily. These can range from producing a financial report to fulfilling a customer’s order or onboarding a new employee. To accomplish each process, a series of small tasks must be performed, many of which are carried out manually.
Business process automation involves the use of technology to automate these tasks so that processes are followed accurately and efficiently.
A common type of BPA is robotic process automation or cloud-based RPA , in which bot downloads can be employed to perform repetitive software operations automatically.
Let’s have a look at some reasons why you should seriously consider adopting BPA in your organization:
1. It will increase your profitability
In business, wasted time is wasted profit. The time you and your team spend updating spreadsheets, importing data, or chasing for updates is time that could be spent elsewhere.
Offload these tasks to automated workflows, and you and your team will be free to focus on adding value and growing the business elsewhere.
Not only will this shift help you make sure your team’s efforts are focused where they’ll do the most good, but you can also substantially reduce your operational costs. With automation, you can do more with less—a smaller, more agile workforce can skyrocket your business’s profitability.
2. It will increase quality and minimize mistakes
Even with the most rigorous processes in place, human error will still rear its ugly head from time to time. And it’s easy to underestimate just how common human error can be.
According to research, the probability that a small spreadsheet containing about 10 formulas will contain an error is between 18% and 40%. That probability rises to 100% for spreadsheets containing 100+ formulas!
Depending on the data being entered, errors like that could cause serious issues further down the line.
By automating manual processes—and utilizing integrations between systems—you can virtually eliminate errors like these.
As well as reducing human error, automation gives you the power to establish best practices across your business using workflow templates. For crucial elements such as your finance team process, it would greatly expedite workflows while minimizing the risk of mistakes.This helps you deliver a consistent level of high quality, regardless of the specific business process.
3. It will help you deliver results faster and more efficiently
Not only does an overabundance of manual tasks lead to human error, but it also takes up valuable time. To show you how much of an impact this wasted time can have, let’s look at some stats.
A 2020 survey found that the time office workers spend on administrative tasks (on average a third of their working year!) is costing the US service industry a staggering $5 trillion in lost productivity annually.
When your business processes are automated, you and your team can reclaim hours, days, and weeks of productivity. Translate that into dollars and cents, and BPA practically pays for itself.
4. It will make it easier for you to enforce standards and regulatory controls
If you’re in a regulated industry, you’ll know the struggle of maintaining compliance across your organization. Falling foul of regulatory requirements can be a costly mistake—bringing with it the risk of heavy fines or even criminal proceedings.
It’s likely your business already has strict processes in place to make sure you’re fulfilling your regulatory obligations—but the risk of human error is always there.
With automation, you can practically eliminate the chances someone on your team will inadvertently put you in breach of regulations.
Using business process automation can also simplify your chances of acquiring ISO certification by ensuring that you incorporate ISO processes into your workflows.
5. It will allow you to track progress and gain insights
When you’ve got a number of different teams working on multiple projects, it can be tricky to stay up-to-date. Time spent chasing for updates is time wasted.
With business process automation, you’ll be able to stay on top of everything easily—you’ll know what’s outstanding, what’s in-flight, and what’s been completed. And if something has gone wrong, you’ll have detailed information on what process failed and why.
In addition, you’ll be able to gain insights into how your team works and how the processes you’ve established are helping or hindering their work. This data is invaluable in allowing you to identify bottlenecks in the process—giving you the opportunity to optimize and streamline using a variety of testing methodologies.
6. It will improve morale and reduce staff turnover
People hate repetitive tasks. They’re boring, they require no imagination, and they can make your team deeply demotivated. The morale of your employees is so crucial—because happy workers are also better workers.
Not only will contented staff work more efficiently, but they’re also far less likely to leave. A high staff turnover can be a real drag on a business, representing sunk costs of hiring and training.
Free your team from those mundane tasks by taking advantage of automation and they’re more likely to feel that they’re actually accomplishing something—focusing on what’s important and adding real value to the business.
7. It will help you provide better customer service
We’ve looked at the behind-the-scenes benefits of automating your business processes, but these will inevitably translate into positive benefits for your customers too.
It’s a no-brainer, a fast and efficient business that consistently delivers high-quality results is obviously going to be a winner with its customers. Get it right, and automation will help you streamline your customer journey and onboarding processes, ensuring—among other things—that you can deliver first contact resolution (FCR) to your customers.
Happy customers are more likely to stick around, and that increase in customer retention will significantly drive down your organization’s marketing costs.