Table of Contents
- 1 Business Process Automation Strategy
- 1.1 What is Business Process Automation?
- 1.2 Why should you automate business processes?
- 1.3 How do you automate business processes?
- 1.4 What business processes should you automate?
- 1.5 Over 200 Business Process Automation Examples
- 1.6 What are the benefits of using business process automation tools?
- 1.7 Next Steps: Benefit from ISV-focused features
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions
Business Process Automation Strategy
Business process automation is an essential tool to add to any organisation as it provides the mechanism to implement cost-saving strategies that improve employee performance and drives company revenue. BPA Platform has been used extensively worldwide to automate business processes across almost every business process and function imaginable. We have compiled over 200 automated processes that you can implement with the use of BPA Platform in your business process automation strategy. Within these business process automation examples, we will show you how automation can improve the following areas:
- Accounts and Credit Control
- Warehouse, Stock Control and Distribution
- Senior Management
- Retail and Trade Counter
- Customer Services and Helpdesk
- Professional Services
- Human Resources and Payroll
- IT Process Automation
- Health, Safety and Security
- Vehicle Fleet Management
To successfully implement your business automation strategy, you will need to have a plan in place. One of the first steps for consideration within your automation strategy is to highlight the key processes, areas and departments of your business that you would like to automate and reduce operational costs. Each area that you are looking to automate will need to align closely with the overall business strategy. Once the key areas have been highlighted you will need to document them alongside the project goals and the overall outcome that you are looking to achieve through the implementation of business process automation software.
For more information on how to plan your business process automation strategy and for over 200 business process automation examples that you can use to improve company performance download the brochures below.
What is Business Process Automation?
Business process automation (BPA) is the automation of repetitive, manual data entry administration tasks within a business process. Business process automation removes time-consuming data entry activities from employee workloads to help organisations reduce operational costs, improve productivity, eradicate data entry errors and drive company revenue.
Business process automation provides the ability to structure and transform data held within business systems to simplify complex business processes and functions. In turn, this improves the management and visibility of critical business information without employee intervention. Business process automation ensures that data is consistent, is well-structured and can be mapped and manipulated reliably and repeatedly, with business processes being easy to maintain, configure and adapt to changing business requirements when required.
As a result, business automation ensures that each department and employee can improve decision making, strategic planning and forecasting by having the most up-to-date information to hand at any given time. Bringing disparate information together allows your business to become more efficient and cost-effective to help you reach your overall business objectives.
“I always equate BPA Platform to being a staff member that never sleeps. It’s like an incredibly efficient person, or team of people, checking data, that never stops.”
Malcolm MacLean, Global Head of IT, Graff Diamonds. Read the case study
Why should you automate business processes?
Business process automation helps organisations of all sizes to improve operational efficiency, making it more sustainable for long term business targets. Without automation, delays, data entry errors, loss in productivity and incomplete customer records can occur. Each delay in processing critical business information or a data entry error costs both time and money.
Process automation tools provide the added ability to become more agile by allowing you to update, scale up or down business processes as and when businesses requirements dictate. Some of the key reasons that organisations look to automate business processes and data entry tasks include:
- Allows you to free up employee resources to concentrate on other tasks within the organisation that add value such as building supplier relationships
- Reduces operational and resource costs. Automation reduces the need to hire additional employees during peak periods
- Eradicate data entry errors that may occur through manual data entry tasks
- Improved decision making due to an increase in the visibility of real-time data
- Achieve 100% accurate audit trail
You may be seeing bottlenecks with order processing that creates a delay in order fulfilment or you may be looking to improve how debtor payments are managed. Business process automation can be used throughout your organisation. Common indications of which business processes you should look to automate include:
- Lack of communications between departments and employees
- Increased running costs and high turnover
- Customer satisfaction is low with a large volume of inbound customer queries
- Management teams are making poor decisions on old data
- Reports contain errors
- Delays are occurring in less complex processes
In today’s fast-moving business environment organisations need to reduce the number of data silos for them to become more cost-effective and efficient. Business process automation can provide your organisation with a competitive advantage by ensuring that each employee and department has access to real-time information without having to perform manual data entry or reporting tasks between multiple databases. Management teams can use data served in real-time to improve decision making, strategy planning and forecasting.
For over 200 business process automation examples that you can implement in your business download the brochure below.
How do you automate business processes?
Business process automation can be achieved through the implementation of business process automation tools such as BPA Platform. BPA Platform provides the BPA tools you need to quickly and easily build automated processes that are unique to the way your business works, whilst leveraging the power of your existing business systems and applications. BPA tools allow for changing business environments by providing the flexibility for automated processes to be adapted or completely re-written to meet new conditions and acts as a ‘virtual’ employee that works 24/7, 365 days a year.
Business Process Automation Software provides added business agility by providing a stepping-stone for digital transformation by removing heavy administration tasks from employee workloads whilst providing a complete audit trail of data and business decisions 100% of the time.
Diagram: BPA Platform
Market-leading business process automation tools such as a BPA Platform (example above) provide the following functionalities that delivers a fully automated, end-to-end business process automation solution:
Report and Document Automation
One of the main employee intensive roles within any business is the creation and delivery of reports and documents. BPA Platform provides the tools to ensure employees receive detailed and up-to-date information using industry-standard reporting tools such as Crystal Reports, Microsoft SSRS, Microsoft Word and many others. The report and document automation capability ensures that reports arrive on time, every time without employee intervention. Common examples of report and document automation include:
- Credit control letters e.g. print deb chasing letters automatically
- Renewal documents
- WIP reports
- Waste reports
- Stock reports
- Sales reports
- Pick lists
- Compliance documentation
- Delivery notes
- Budget reports
- Welcome packs
- Support ticket reports
Regardless of the nature of the report or document, it takes time for employees to manually create and distribute them. Report and document automation ensures that repetitive processing is removed and error-free without employee intervention to reduce administration costs.
Irrespective of whether your workflow processes involve a simple authorisation form and database write back or a multistage workflow contribution process, the workflow approval capability of BPA Platform enables organisations to rapidly deploy and configure workflow processes for a 100% fit every time. Common business process workflows that can be created include:
- Purchase order approvals
- Supplementary data requests
- Account reallocation approvals
- Credit limit reviews
- Commission sign off
- Service quote approvals
- Price change authorisations
- Credit note approvals
- Sales discount authorisations
- Review processes
- Expenses approvals
- Holiday request approvals
Relying on employees to adhere to business rules and manual procedures can put an organisation at risk. If a workflow process is managed incorrectly and wrong decisions are made it may have a negative impact on your business. Workflow process automation aids decision making by catering for single and multi-level approvals that allow you to streamline the whole workflow process with relevant and up-to-date information.
Discover over 200 business process automation examples that you can implement to reduce operational costs and improve company performance by downloading the brochure below.
System integration enables organisations to integrate applications, systems and web services. Business process automation software such as BPA Platform provide simple-to-use drag and drop iPaaS tools. This means that through a ‘codeless’ environment and specialist connector tools or web services such as REST or SOAP, organisations can cut the cost of data integration whilst simultaneously safeguarding the upgrade path of their primary systems and applications. Common application, system and web service integrations include:
- ERP systems e.g. SAP Business One / SAP HANA, Sage 200 / 1000 / X3, Sage 1000, Microsoft Dynamics, SYSPRO, Epicor etc.
- eCommerce platforms e.g. Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, Amazon, eBay etc.
- CRM systems
- Warehouse management systems
- Inventory management tools
- Billing systems
- Credit referencing services
- Accounting software
- Timesheet solutions
- Courier services
- Payment systems
- HR applications
System integration allows businesses to cost-effectively reduce employee workloads by automatically synchronising data between disparate databases to improve data consistency and removing the need for employee intervention.
Alerts and notifications
Adding automated alerts and business notifications to your automation strategy will allow you to deliver essential information to the right people at the right time. The notifications and alerts capability of BPA Platform enables organisations to graphically build and maintain real-time, event-driven communications via email, SMS text message or collaborative application APIs as transfer methods. The recipient will therefore, receive the information they need regardless of location and device and can be used when business rules are broken. Individuals, whether internal (management, sales, finance, operations) or external (customers, partners, suppliers, members) to the business can receive notifications. Common examples include:
|Large account placed on credit hold||Order status updates|
|Orders waiting for manual release||Order confirmations sent to suppliers / customers|
|Aged debtor updates||Service data reminders|
|Spot documents not properly completed e.g. POs with no duty rate||Contract renewal reminders|
|Stock level warnings e.g. too high /too low||Delivery notifications|
|Back orders now in stock and available||Appointment confirmations|
Discover over 200 business process automation strategy examples that you can implement to reduce operational costs and improve company performance by downloading the brochure below.
What business processes should you automate?
Deciding on which business processes you should automate can be dependent on varying factors. Highlighting areas where you can automate processes can be through recognising high data volumes and data throughput. Having an idea of how much data is processed manually through business systems during a given time period will provide you with a clear indication of the areas that may require automation. Data volume is the amount of data that is held within a database or file. Data volume is calculated by analysing the volume of data processed each hour, day, week, month etc. To help you to identify of the business that may need to be included in your automation strategy it’s worth considering the following points:
- How much data volume and data throughput is there during peak periods? E.g. Bank holidays, Black Friday, Holiday season etc.
- Consider if this data is 24/7 and define working hours and alternative time zones
- Define the daily cut-off point for processing transactions
- Establish acceptable times for transactions to appear in its destination system from its original source during high loads
- Establish the number of employees involved in processing data and the time it takes in any given task
Over 200 Business Process Automation Examples
Regardless of industry specialism, each company works differently to its competitors. They will use different systems, different database structures and will have different workflow processes. Within an organisation, there will be a several business processes and associated data that it would like to get from A to B in the most cost-effective and efficient way possible.
BPA Platform provides you with the tools to successfully implement an automation strategy so that your business can become more efficient, cost-effective and sustainable. Each process can be tailored to your exact business processes and customised as and when business needs dictate. BPA Platform has been used extensively to automate practically any business process by organisations within a a multitude of industries ranging from retail, manufacturing, wholesale and distribution, accounting and finance to not-for-profit and professional services to name a few.
For over 200 business process automation examples that can be used within your business, download the brochure below.
What are the benefits of using business process automation tools?
Business process automation allows organisations to strategically improve operational efficiency throughout each department or process that has high levels of data volumes and data throughput. Incorporating automated business processes into your office automation strategy will streamline time-consuming and costly data entry tasks and will allow staff to concentrate on providing value to other areas of the business such as improving customer and supplier relationships.
Not only does it enhance the way your business works but it will also allow your IT team to quickly build integration and automated processes quickly and cost-effectively by providing drag and drop automation tools that reduce bespoke development times and associated costs by removing the need of bespoke coding for 90% of the processes that a business is looking to automate. The flexibility provided by BPA Platform will enable your organisation to quickly adapt business processes, systems and working environments quickly and efficiently as and when business requirements dictate. Common operational advantages of business process automation include:
- Reduced bespoke development times and costs within the IT department
- Removal of human errors from manual data entry tasks
- Capacity to adapt to business changes e.g. personnel, systems, business processes, business objectives and working environments
- Improved decision making
- Increased employee and companywide output
- Increased visibility of time sensitive business information
- Reduced operational costs
- Streamlined workforce during peak periods without having to recruit season staff
- Up-to-date and real-time information distributed to those that need it when they need it
- Enforced business rules and procedures
- Allows you to concentrate on growing the business
Next Steps: Benefit from ISV-focused features
Automating business processes not only requires a solid understanding of data but a comprehensive knowledge of source or target applications. Codeless Platforms has accredited partner status with well-known ISVs such as SAP, Microsoft and Sage, along with industry-specific applications and systems in many economic regions.
Through collaboration with ISVs and leading channel VARs, specialist features have been built into BPA Platform. This provides organisations with the ability to create a solution that is completely personalised to their internal applications and business operations. A selection of ISVs that BPA Platform is aligned closely to include:
- Microsoft Dynamics
- Access Group
- And many more
BPA Platform is used by organisations globally, in every type of industry, ranging from financial services and manufacturing to not-for-profit and retail. For more information on how you can use business process automation to gain a competitive advantage, download the 200 ways to use BPA Platform brochure below or call us on +44 (0)330 99 88 700.