So often we let successes go uncelebrated. We are striving to finish a project. We are trying to meet a goal. We are implementing a new system or process, but when we see results, we are already focused on the next thing. Maybe that is a byproduct of our American culture, or maybe it is a casualty of being a little too driven. Whatever the cause, I think it is good to force ourselves to hit the pause button and recognize the good things for at least a few minutes!
One of those celebratory successes almost passed me by a few weeks ago, as we met with a client about an enhancement to a process automation solution we had completed several months before. In the process of talking, and rather offhandedly, this customer told us of how they had lost two people in a specific area of work.
Interestingly, our champion in that department, stated that it was now just her. She was doing what had previously been the work of three people! She was certainly busy, partially because she is still working out the new way of doing things into all areas of the organization, but she said this almost without realizing how big it was. With electronic workflow and process automation software, she was keeping up with what had previously been the work of three people! This brought a smile to my face, but of course, we kept moving quickly to the task at hand!
Process automation has been around for a very long time. People in our industry have called it lots of things. Of late, we are all focused on “Digital Transformation”. For many technology focused people, it is easy to get into the weeds talking about ECM, BPM, DMS, OCR, Metadata, and a whole dictionary of terms. At its core, digital transformation and business process automation are just about using the right automation technology (often software designed to do this) to make the process of conducting business automatic.
The drawback of focusing on the tactical parts of the technology is that the strategic results get lost, and the strategic results are what really deliver.
Here are 5 Strategic Results of Automating Business Processes:
#1 Higher Efficiency – We all strive to create a repeatable process for doing business. We then apply all sorts of principles and strategy to continuously improve. We build process diagrams and checklists and try to find the most efficient way of doing things. The problem is that often we still fall short, because the process is still tied to people remembering to do things or using a scheduled list of reminders. The weight of moving the process forward still lies in human hands. This is where a (BPA) business process automation solution really shines. It remembers the next step and escalates reminders to managers when a process remains undone. It provides transparency, so that approved people can see the status or the bottleneck in the process. It accelerates approvals and completions with a simple electronic approval or completion checklist. BPA consistently accelerates the pace of moving to the next step with the result of significantly faster turn time. Transparency creates accountability and results in higher efficiency in almost every area where applied.
#2 Facilitating Growth – The right kind of growth is something we all strive for in business. This is growth that can be sustained and serviced. A well-designed BPA solution has some significant impact here. It makes it easier to train new people, because the process is mapped and aided by technology. And yet, it often reduces the need to add more people with increased business because so much is automatic. It also helps attract a younger more technology-savvy workforce. People expect things to be automatic and technology integrated like Amazon or Uber, and BPA delivers this.
#3 Reducing Risk – We are in a high employment economy, and to state the obvious, “it is hard to find good people”. Automation reduces the number of hours required to complete a given task. In addition, it makes work better for those who are employed with us. It often takes the mindless and mundane tasks off our plates. BPA also allows work to proceed with less mistakes. Details are handled by the system, deadlines are met, and reminders are automatic. Finally, risk is reduced because there is transparency. We can see what others are doing. We can see that discount that might be missed, that worker that might be spending half of their time shopping, or that order that is stalled.
#4 Competitive Advantage – What makes us competitive? It is often more than one thing, but faster turnaround times, better response, higher levels of service, and being easier to work with are at the top of the list. Business Process Automation delivers these things in a myriad of ways. Information is power and sending automatic confirmations, updating status on a job, paying on-time, communicating quickly, and being able to see status at the touch of a button all deliver information in a way that is often difficult and time-consuming to do with a manual solution.
#5 Activating Innovation – When you automate the mundane and regular tasks that are part of conducting business, you free up mental energy and time to focus on real innovation. Having the right software in place to facilitate automation opens a whole new vision for what can be. A solid process automation solution creates new ways of moving toward digital transformation that might be as innovative as Uber or Amazon, or might at least move us to a better and more profitable way of doing business this year.
CTaccess builds innovative business process automation solutions that drive business growth and innovation. If you would like to explore this technology, please contact us by phone or email. We would welcome an opportunity to hear your story and discuss the value in terms of your organization.