As businesses continue their quest for digital transformation, they are discovering something really important: automating complex, end-to-end business processes requires a different set of strategies than the standard ones.
It’s no surprise because many digital transformation projects end at a small scale (or fail completely) because of poor planning, disconnected systems, and a lack of robust applications to process unstructured data at scale. And it doesn’t help that IT is more focused on automating the core or operational processes while paying little attention to complex, behind-the-scenes tasks.
The good news? A few key business process automation strategies can help companies effectively sync their complex processes with digitally mature ones. Read on to learn about process automation and the methods available to automate end-to-end processes.
What is Business Process Automation?
Business process automation (BPA) is the practice of automating recurring, monotonous tasks with the support of technology. It is done to reduce costs, minimize errors, and speed up operations. Over the long term, process automation helps organizations transition to a digital way of doing business.
Business process automation is useful for businesses of various sizes, from major enterprise corporations to small firms. It can help you transition from slow, cumbersome manual processes to seamless digital workflows.
How Can Process Automation Improve Organizational Efficiency
Process automation can boost the efficiency of business processes and keep all aspects of operations running optimally. Effective process automation delivers benefits like:
Better resource allocation
By automating mundane tasks, process automation gives employees more bandwidth to work on key business tasks. Materials, workforce, and budgets are efficiently allocated in optimized processes.
Modern process automation software boasts monitoring capabilities. This enables businesses to identify and resolve bottlenecks before they affect process efficiency.
Transparency and accountability
With process mapping and the involvement of all stakeholders, process automation facilitates transparency and accountability in processes.
Improved customer satisfaction
Process automation makes it easier to fulfill service level agreements (SLAs). Delivering high-quality services and products consistently improves customer satisfaction levels.
Process logs enable companies to demonstrate process compliance with industrial, financial, or legal regulations seamlessly.
Why developing a business process automation strategy is crucial to organizational success
Automation strategy for business processes is critical to facilitate a path toward complete digital transformation and realizing bigger organizational objectives. Here are some of the key advantages of building a proper business process strategy:
Business Process standardization is vital for positioning your organization as reliable so you can increase your customer base. With an efficient business process strategy, you can achieve a consistent standard of outcomes every time.
Simplify change management
A proper business process automation simplifies change management. With process documentation in place, it’s far easier to communicate and implement a process change as well as make sure everyone adapts to it instantly.
Forecasting process outcomes are incredibly important in today’s business world. With a business process strategy, you’ll be able to identify the best tools to monitor processes and their outcomes. These tools will generate the data you need to make intelligent forecasts and predictions.
Get more clarity
With process mapping being a key aspect of a business process strategy, organizations developing one can provide clarity to all employees. The insights you gain from evaluating an automated process can reveal potential gaps between your process as is and as it should ideally be.
Steps involved in building a well-rounded business process automation strategy
So what’s involved in building automation strategies for an end-to-end business process? Here’s a glimpse into the steps forward-thinking organizations are taking to automate complex tasks:
Identify eligible processes
Start your business process automation journey by identifying the processes eating into your resources. What tasks are draining your team’s time? What areas of the business require manual, repetitive work? As you answer these questions, consider seeking input from those involved to get a better insight.
Then, map the complex processes with the help of flow diagrams and review your business workflow to understand where you need to start. (FYI: Processing mapping also helps present a clear business case to support process automation strategy implementation).
Outline business goals
What is the purpose of process automation? What do you aim to achieve with it? How will you know if it is helpful?
Defining your business goals will help you get a clearer picture of how process automation can help scale your business. Note down any bottlenecks or challenges you expect to face along the way, then justify how automation can help address those issues and fast-track digital transformation.
For instance, many companies aim to make invoice processing more accurate and transparent. But with the exercise largely left to accounts departments and their manual efforts, achieving the goal seems far-fetched. This is where process automation can bring them a step closer to their business objective.
Choose a process automation solution
As business process automation is a technology-driven strategy, you need to bring in a software-based tool to accomplish it in a shorter time and with minimum cost.
Explore what various automation solutions have and do not have to offer, then assess them against your objectives, resources, and timelines to identify the best option for your strategy.
- How quickly do I want to automate processes?
- How many processes need to be automated and what is their complexity?
- What other tools do I need to integrate to automate the process effectively?
Remember, an integrated strategy for end-to-end automation requires a solution that can scale and adapt to your business.
Manage the change
Business process automation isn’t just a technology initiative — it’s an organizational initiative that requires bringing everyone along with you. Consider how you will drive the change within your organization.
You can set up tutorials and training for staff, especially those who will be at the forefront of the change. It’s also important to provide transparency around your process automation strategy, to create a positive perception of automation and combat fear that it might result in job losses. Present cases where automation fixes broken processes and involves your team to manage change effectively.
Develop a winning business process strategy with Kissflow
When developing a business process automation strategy, it’s vital to consider not only present-day goals but also needs in the foreseeable future. Usually, organizations succeed when they view automation processes within the broader context of end-to-end operations and digital transformation.
Kissflow offers a BPA tool designed to make end-to-end automation possible. As an efficient digital workplace, it can streamline your tasks, cases, projects, and collaboration—basically everything related to business on a single platform. Use Kissflow’s Process intuitive visual designer and drag-and-drop form builder to create and automate workflows on the fly.