Top 5 Reasons to Love Business Process Automation
February 23rd, 2017 • Business Process Automation
Business process automation is a way by which companies take out the complex, most redundant steps from their processes and streamline them for simplicity. In plain terms, BPA is a hands-free, innovative approach to systematize critical business processes. But how does BPA work? We’ll get there in a minute.
First, here’s a short story on automation’s saving grace:
Tim was struggling in his role as a marketing manager for a large, traditional engine manufacturer. He had only been at his new role for a few weeks, but already saw why the previous person had left.
He got an email from Karen, who led the email marketing program, asking his approval for the latest campaign. Tim had to scroll down through an email chain of so many versions, edits, revisions, and suggestions that he had no idea how many people had touched it before him. In his last management meeting, Tim was yelled from Sales because some of the emails included old pricing information that wasn’t updated from an earlier version.
At a team meeting he asked for a status update on the SEO campaign. Everyone looked around at each other. “I’m still waiting for Paula to approve the budget,” Eric said. “She already sent her approval, weren’t you on that email?” said Karen. “Well, then I think we still need the ad edited,” said Eric. “Who’s doing that?” asked Tim. No one spoke.
Tim’s situation isn’t that different from most business managers. Everything seems like it should be so simple to follow a simple path, but communication breaks down and no one seems to want to take accountability. For many business leaders, business process automation can be the answer they are looking for.
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The Kinetic Effect of Business Process Automation
Automation is moving the needle of business efficiency and simplifying human lives in general. Organizations that embrace business process automation have cut costs, saved time, and asked their manual workforce to solve more intelligent problems. They let machines do the rote tasks, while eliminating the chances of human errors.
Business automation is like the rolling ball machine that lets repetitive tasks glide on their own without the extra push. There are extensive benefits of business process automation, but we have rounded up the five best reasons.
1. Streamline communication
Emails, sticky notes, and conversations around the water cooler are good ways to discuss tasks, but they are terrible for organized collaboration. An automated workflow enables your teams to huddle together around individual items in a workflow and get things done in a simple, streamlined way. Automation software offers a visual dashboard to see all of your requests at one go. Every item in progress has its own line of communication so all of your conversation is recorded in the right place.
Learn more about 3 Super Simple Processes to Get You Started on Automation
For Tim, this means no more communication based on email chains. Instead, by the time he reviews an email, he knows exactly who has seen it before and what the key goal of the campaign is.
2. Enforce accountability
When you automate your workflow, you create an owner for each step of the process. Initiations, approvals, rejections, and input tasks are all bound to an individual expected to perform an action. Enabling that level of information transparency in your business process enforces accountability on all stakeholders. Consequently, applying automation to your business will help you identify which tasks are taking the longest, or at what point a task tends to get stuck most frequently.
After trying business automation, Tim doesn’t have to ask “Who’s doing that?” anymore. Everyone knows who is responsible for a task and it is clear when that task is ready to be completed. A workflow management system allows you to take informed decisions in the future to address blockades, implement better process, and even out workloads accordingly.
3. Minimize costs and manual errors
By substituting human vulnerabilities with the accuracy of a machine, you bypass the expensive costs associated with manual errors and inefficiencies. Late payments, slow sales approvals, and payments for goods never received are all very expensive errors. Automation can also save lots of administrative labor costs.
An automated system lets Tim’s team cut down on its errors. Rather than manually cutting and pasting emails at the last stage, they can ensure that the version they send out is the right one.
4. Keep a tab on your business processes
An automated system not only lets you see the status of any individual item, it also gives you the bird’s-eye view of your whole system. Imagine what you could do with several months of data from an automated system. With an automated workflow tool, you can track how many requests came in, how many were approved, how many got rejected, time spend on each tasks, which ones took the longest to complete, etc.
With a BPM tool like KiSSFLOW, Tim doesn’t have to ask the status of SEO campaigns. He can instantly bring up a report that shows the status of every pending item. So, rather than trying to find who to blame, he can spend his team meetings perfecting the workflow and talking about new strategies.
5. Establish a clear approval hierarchy
When you create a custom workflow, you can assign approval responsibilities to anyone in the organization, regardless of the reporting structure. A busy supervisor doesn’t need to be on every step/task (unless she prefers) and you don’t have to have secret pre-meetings in the bathroom before getting a project approved!
Tim doesn’t like being involved in every campaign that goes on, but he always wants his proofreader to see everything before it goes live. He can use a business process workflow tool to set up hierarchies in his own team to make sure the right people see everything before it goes out.
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Why not give automation a try today? There’s nothing to lose. Sign up for a free 7 day trial of KiSSFLOW and test out automation on the process that gives you the biggest headache.