What is Automated Business Process?

Business process automation (BPA) is the use of technology to automate business operations and end-to-end processes in an organisation. Some examples of business process automation include employee onboarding, sales processes, workflow automation, HR onboarding and accounts payable in an organisation. 

By automating business processes, companies can improve efficiency, reduce errors, save time and resources, and ultimately enhance their overall performance.

Key aspects of automated business process includes:

  1. Workflow automation: Automating the sequence of tasks, information, and documents that need to be processed as part of a business operation.
  2. Data integration: Connecting different systems and applications to enable seamless data exchange and minimize manual data entry.
  3. Rule-based decision making: Implementing predefined rules and conditions to automate decision-making processes, reducing the need for human intervention.
  4. Robotic Process Automation (RPA): Using software robots to automate repetitive, rule-based tasks typically performed by humans, such as data entry, form filling, and file management.
  5. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): Leveraging AI and ML technologies to automate more complex processes, such as fraud detection, customer service, and predictive maintenance.

How is Business Process Automation Related to Business Process Management

automated business process

Business Process Management is an organisation-wide approach used to plan and achieve business processes – The goal is to gain maximum productivity and efficiency in day-to-day activities.

Business automation on the other hand is one of the tools used to achieve business process management. It simply means using technology to automate specific tasks, activities or sub-processes within a larger process.

Related: What is Business Transformation? Tips and Best Practices

Automated Business Process Examples

According to McKinsey & Company, up to 30 percent of activities can be automated in 60 percent of all occupations worldwide and for most enterprises, the process of automation starts with a pilot project, focusing on streamlining and workflow automation. Despite the small start, BPA requires the support of top-level executives and stakeholders as automated business process is highly scalable and is the most beneficial when implemented at scale.

Below, we will look at some processes that can be automated within an organisation.

Examples of business processes that can be automated include:

Employee onboarding and offboarding

Automating employee onboarding and offboarding processes can greatly improve the efficiency and consistency of HR operations. When a new employee is hired, an automated system can generate and send offer letters, contracts, and other necessary documentation, reducing the time spent on manual paperwork. The system can also automatically create employee records in the HR system, eliminating the need for manual data entry and ensuring that all required information is captured.

Customer service and support

Automating customer service and support can help businesses provide faster, more consistent assistance to their customers. One common approach is to implement chatbots and virtual assistants that can handle common customer inquiries, such as order status, product information, or basic troubleshooting.

Sales order processing

When a customer approves a quote or signs a contract, an automated system can create a sales order in the company’s order management system, eliminating the need for manual order entry. Integration with inventory systems allows the automation to check stock availability in real-time, preventing overselling and ensuring accurate order fulfilment. The system can then generate and send order confirmations and shipping notifications to the customer, keeping them informed throughout the process

Inventory management

Automating inventory management can help businesses optimise their stock levels, reduce costs, and improve efficiency. An automated system can track inventory levels across multiple locations in real-time, providing accurate and up-to-date information on stock availability. The system can be set up to automatically generate reorder points based on predefined criteria, such as minimum stock levels or lead times, and create purchase orders when stock falls below these thresholds.

Marketing campaign management

Automating marketing campaign management can help businesses create more targeted, personalised, and efficient marketing efforts. The automation can segment customer data based on predefined criteria, such as demographics, purchase history, or engagement levels, allowing for more precise targeting of marketing messages. Personalised email or SMS campaigns can be scheduled and triggered automatically based on customer actions or milestones, such as cart abandonment or birthday greetings

Also Read: How to start a Business and be Successful

Why Should You Automate a Business Process?

As you can see, the benefits of automated business process is immense to organisations as it reduces errors and improves the overall efficiency leaving time for processes that need human judgement and creativity.

Here are some of the benefits of leveraging these automation systems.

Improving Business Processes – Automated processes follow predefined rules and workflows, ensuring that tasks are performed consistently and accurately every time. This reduces the risk of human error, such as data entry mistakes or missed steps in a process, leading to higher quality output and fewer errors.

Achieving Business Goals Faster – By automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, employees can focus on higher-value activities that require human judgement and creativity. These Automation capabilities reduce the time spent on repetitive tasks and leave more time in achieving your business goals.

Removing redundant steps in workflows – Streamlining workflows is a crucial part of improving the bottom line for any business and BPA plays a significant role in removing redundant steps from business operations. For example, PNC Financial Services Group found that by automating business processes and rules, it saw an 80% reduction in their workload of manually reviewing bank loan applications.

Best Business Process Automation Tools

Business process automation software are the tools through which your business processes can be automated. Here, we will have a look at some of the best automated business process tools for startups that will help you automate your tasks and streamline your processes.

Zapier

Zapier is a user-friendly automation platform that allows startups to connect and automate workflows between various web applications without requiring extensive technical knowledge. It offers a wide range of pre-built integrations with popular tools like Gmail, Slack, Trello, and Salesforce, making it easy to automate tasks such as lead management, data synchronization, and social media posting. Zapier’s pricing model is based on the number of tasks automated per month, making it affordable for startups with varying automation needs.

ProcessStreet

Process Street is a process management and automation platform that helps startups create, track, and optimize their standard operating procedures (SOPs). It offers a user-friendly interface for documenting and automating processes, as well as features for collaboration, approval workflows, and integration with other tools. Process Street’s template library and conditional logic capabilities make it easy for startups to quickly set up and automate their processes.

Kissflow

Kissflow is a cloud-based process automation platform that enables startups to automate and manage workflows across departments without requiring coding skills. It offers a visual interface for designing processes, as well as features for collaboration, reporting, and integration with other systems. Kissflow’s pricing model is based on the number of users and processes, making it scalable for startups as they grow.

Airtable

Airtable is a flexible, low-code platform that combines the functionality of a spreadsheet with the power of a database, allowing startups to automate workflows and manage data in a user-friendly interface. It offers pre-built templates for various use cases, such as project management, customer relationship management, and inventory tracking, as well as features for automation, collaboration, and integration with other tools. Airtable’s pricing model includes a free plan and affordable paid plans based on the number of records and automation actions.

Tray.io

Tray.io is a powerful, low-code automation platform that enables startups to integrate and automate processes across multiple applications without requiring extensive technical skills. It offers a visual, drag-and-drop interface for building automation workflows, as well as features for data mapping, error handling, and real-time monitoring. Tray.io supports a wide range of integrations and provides a flexible pricing model based on the number of tasks automated per month.

When selecting a BPA tool for your startup, consider factors such as ease of use, integration capabilities, scalability, and pricing. It’s also essential to evaluate the specific needs of your startup and choose a tool that aligns with your business processes and goals.

Also Read: 10 Proven Ways on How to Expand Business Online 

How to Automate Business Processes

Identify Which Processes You Need to Automate

The first step in your business automation strategy is to identify which processes you need to optimize and automate to achieve process excellence. 

Start by listing all the processes within your organization, focusing on those that are repetitive, time-consuming, or prone to errors. These processes may include data entry, invoice processing, customer onboarding, or report generation. Once you have a complete list, you need to prioritize the processes based on their impact on efficiency, cost savings, and customer satisfaction.

Processes that involve multiple systems, departments, or stakeholders often benefit the most from automation, as they tend to be complex and require significant manual effort.

 Analyse the Current Process and Redesign the Automation

Before automating a process, you need to have a deep understanding of how it currently works. Document the process in detail, including all the steps, inputs, outputs, and decision points. Based on the analysis of the current process, the next step is to redesign it for automation. This involves streamlining the process, eliminating unnecessary steps, and simplifying complex tasks.

Select the appropriate Intelligent automation tools

There are numerous options available in the market, each with its own strengths and capabilities. Evaluate the tools based on your organization’s specific needs, technical capabilities, and budget.

Develop and Configure the automated process

Once you have selected the appropriate automation tool, the next step is to develop and configure the automated process. This involves using the tool to create the workflow based on the redesigned process, incorporating the defined rules, conditions, and exceptions. Configure the tool to handle specific scenarios, such as routing tasks based on certain criteria or triggering actions based on predefined events. 

Train and communicate with stakeholders

Automating a business process often involves a significant change in how work is done, and it’s essential to ensure that all stakeholders are prepared for this change. Provide comprehensive training to the employees who will be using the automated process, ensuring they understand how it works, their roles within it, and the benefits it brings.

Thus, Business Process Automation (BPA) is a powerful approach to streamlining and optimising various manual tasks, onboarding processes, and operations within an organisation. By leveraging technology and automation tools, your company can standardise processes, reduce errors, and streamline your business operations

Related:

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