4 Ways to Automate Business Processes

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Automate business processes to improve employee productivity

What is business process automation?

Business process automation is the automation of business processes through technology to help organisations of all sizes improve productivity, streamline running costs and drive company revenue.

Consumers, business partners and key stakeholders all want information on-demand and it is up to you and your employees to provide this data quickly and efficiently. This can place a considerable strain on resources, with the speed and accuracy of a response having a significant effect on the impression of your business.

Aside from running a primary ERP application, many SMEs run multiple systems and applications to process and store relevant information and transaction based data within its operations and trading environments. Whilst each solution performs its specific role, unfortunately, they work in isolation, leaving your employees to process repetitive bi-directional data and manually interrogate information to respond accordingly. This manual approach exposes your company to errors and financial risk. So, how can you automate business processes to empower your staff to concentrate on pushing your business forward?

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4 ways to automate business processes

What business processes can be automated?

Practically any business process can be automated with the correct use of the right technology. Typically, organisations looking to automate their business processes are looking to streamline employee workflow to increase productivity or reduce administration costs. The most common business processes that businesses look to automate include approval workflows, credit control, invoice creation and delivery, order process management, stock reports, financial and KPI report creation and delivery and bank reconciliation.

Here are four key ways to transform your business processes and provide your employees with the business process automation tools that practically any organisation can adapt and evolve to meet the forever increasing demands placed on an organisation and its employees, 24/7, 365 days a year.

1. Introduce advanced notifications and alerts

The majority of decision makers don’t have the physical time to manually monitor and react to data changes within accounting, ERP, CRM, industry specific or bespoke software. By dynamically monitoring your business applications for key data changes (set to your business rules) and sending email or SMS business alerts to both internal and external recipients when required, you can drive knowledge by exception to decision makers who crave real-time updates to identify potential issues before they happen.

  • Inventory Control e.g. Stock level alerts, stock movement alerts, stock receipt notifications
  • Credit control notifications e.g. Account on hold, approaching credit limit
  • Sales notifications e.g. Unauthorised discount notifications, incomplete sales record
  • Support team updates e.g. Support ticket opened/closed, unresolved issue

2. Integrate systems and applications

You may run a plethora of business software, such as an ERP system, CRM solution, eCommerce application, WMS or bespoke system, but the lack of connectivity between these systems can cause significant inefficiencies and competitive weakness. System integration bridges the gap between disparate on-premises and cloud-based applications and enables systems to work together and dynamically transform data so that it is always compatible with the recipient system(s). Software application integration can be achieved through code free integration tools connecting web services and APIs to join systems, departments and people together - removing data bottlenecks and repetitive data entry. System integration projects no longer need to be complex and costly to manage. Common software integration scenarios can include:

  • ERP integration e.g. SAP Business One, Sage, Microsoft Dynamics, Access Dimensions, NetSuite etc.
  • CRM integration e.g. Sage CRM, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SugarCRM etc.
  • XML, CSV, TXT file integration
  • eCommerce and payment gateway integration e.g. Magento, Shopify, PrestaShop, eBay, Amazon Seller Central, SagePay, GoCardless etc.
  • Marketing automation and integration e.g. dotmailer, MailChimp, HubSpot etc.
  • Courier Service integration e.g. Parcelforce, DPD, Interlink Express, UPS, FedEx etc.
  • Business service integration e.g. Companies House, VIES, CreditSafe etc.

3. Automate everyday reports and documentation

Business reports and documentation are a vital part of departmental analysis, allowing the review of critical information to assist with improving management decision making. Regardless of the nature of the report, the creation, distribution and management of reports is a time-consuming and error prone administration task, often requiring data from multiple databases. Removing the repetitive administration from reporting procedures ensures compliance and improves the visibility of data. By dynamically automating your in-house reporting tool, such as Sage Reports, Crystal Reports or Microsoft Reporting Services, reports can be automatically created and distributed via email, FTP, attached to a CRM record or placed on a network location.

  • Automating stock management reports
  • Automated sales and marketing reports
  • Automating financial reports and associated credit control documentation

4. Optimise employee workflow

Establishing, monitoring and enforcing an appropriate workflow approval process and an approval workflow engine within an organisation is critical to performance. Workflow authorisation processes remain a loose and manual driven process. This can often require multiple levels of authorisations which are unique to your business rules and departmental structures. As a result, it provides your employees with controlled workflow processes.

  • Single/multi-level workflow authorisation
  • Purchase Order authorisations
  • Discount authorisation and price change approvals
  • Expenses approvals

Replacing manual data entry with automated business processes

What are the benefits of automating business processes?

Business process automation reduces time-consuming and repetitive data entry and manual administration tasks from employee workloads to reduce errors, save costs, improve company and employee productivity and drive company revenue.

Relying on employees to manually monitor data within business software is prone to errors and is an inefficient use of employee time. Systematically automating repetitive employee processes, to save time and reduce costs, can be achieved through the implementation of business process automation (BPA) software, this can provide SMEs with the functionality they need to notify, automate, integrate and create workflows for rules-driven processes.

  • Reduce the cost of bespoke IT development projects
  • Tasks are easy to create by anyone with a basic understanding of your database structures
  • Procedures and processes can easily evolve with your business
  • No coding required to protect future business software upgrade paths

With consumers, business partners and key stakeholders all demanding information in real time, isn't it about time you provided your business systems, applications and employees with the power to make it happen?

To find out more about how to automate business processes download the brochure below or call us on +44 (0)330 998 8700.

BPA Platform Brochure

BPA Platform Brochure

The Business Process Automation (BPA) Platform enables you to quickly and easily build automated processes unique to your organisation through an intuitive drag and drop graphical user interface.

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