Building a Better Business Process – The Struggle is Real

Organizations are under tremendous pressure to do more with less, streamline costs, and transform their business to take advantage of cheaper, faster digital strategies. That’s a pretty tall order for any organization, and the challenge spans all industries. For example:

  • A recent survey shows 99.6% of insurance executives surveyed say they are struggling to deliver digital innovation.

  • In the healthcare field, 85% of respondents cited digital innovation as key to a long term competitive strategy, but 70% said their IT department does not have the necessary staff or resources.

  • Forbes recently published an article saying 84% of companies fail at digital transformation mainly because they are not prepared to change employee behavior.

As the Forbes article notes, one of the most challenging parts of automating business processes is studying the process, mapping the bottlenecks, and designing a solution that maximizes the value of your people, processes, and data. Many companies have disparate systems that include legacy systems, silos of data, and mismatched solutions. This is also why many companies that try out-of-the-box solutions are often frustrated when they find they have to change their business to suit the software. Organizations frequently find gaps in what should have been streamlined process and system integrations, which often end up requiring manual workarounds. All too often, the amount of configuration needed to make these products work counteracts many of the advantages of process automation. In order for an automation solution to have a positive ROI and company impact, it must be streamlined, scalable, and adaptable to the company’s changing needs.

These two Venn diagrams from techcrunch.com emphasize that out-of-the-box solutions can be a quick fix for a company’s need, but often do not work out well as long term solutions.

Fortunately, that is exactly what a good business process automation (BPA) company can deliver. They build customized digital workflows, which can be designed to connect separate legacy systems and eliminate manual data entry, as well as the errors that can come along with it. BPA consultants take the time to learn about your company, identify the bottlenecks and failure points in your workflow, and create automated digital processes to streamline your business and lower expenses. But it’s about more than the process; it’s about a shift in how your employees see the business and how they interact with co-workers. A critical part of ensuring a successful BPA implementation requires engaging employees in the BPA process and ensuring that the workflow makes their jobs easier.

How can business process automation help your organization?

There are many different use cases within an organization that can benefit from BPA, but the most successful often involve overly repetitive manual paperwork or approval chains. If the process remains the same, creating an automation workflow ensures best practices are followed every time.

Custom business process automation can range from automating full workflows from start to finish, to helping organizations design multiple processes that can link different programs and solutions together. Either way, the ultimate goal of automation is to reduce the amount of time spent on manual intervention in order to reap the following benefits:

  • Saves money: Labor costs account for 62% of total AP costs, and an estimated 60% of overall corporate expenses. Reducing manual intervention can save organizations 20 – 30%.

  • Saves time: Manual tasks such as batching jobs, performing back-ups, matching POs with invoices, and numerous repetitive tasks can be automated and completed significantly faster (sometimes changing the time scale from hours to minutes).

  • Reduces errors: People get tired, sick, hungry, and distracted. This causes them to make mistakes. With process automation, the machine continues the same set pattern and eliminates human errors.

  • Improve internal and external service: By automating mundane IT and customer service processes, or any process that serves internal or external customers, organizations increase efficiency, speed to resolution, and customer/employee satisfaction, all while decreasing costs.

  • Seamless integration: Custom process automation design provides seamless integration between various systems (unlike pre-packaged solutions) and eliminates the manual intervention and error points between systems.

  • Customized reports: Most organizations struggle with the canned reports that come with most pre-packaged software systems. These reports only cover the most common functions and customizing the reports is usually difficult and time-consuming. With custom reporting, businesses can be assured that they will have concise reports tailored to meet their needs.

Which processes are best suited for BPA?

There is no question that digitizing and automating manual processes is a crucial business trend. The benefits and cost savings are compelling. Recent data show that finance and accounting departments can average an ROI of only a few months and an estimated $100,000 in annual savings!

Here are some examples of industries and departments that benefit from BPA:

This diagram from laserfische.com shows just a few of the departments that can benefit from BPA.
  • Sales & Operations: BPA can streamline the process of receiving, processing,and confirming new purchase orders. You can design a custom integration bridge between CRMs and ERPs to eliminate manual entry when moving prospects to clients. You can automatically enter POs, archive customer communications, send electronic requests for PO approval, and streamline supply chain management issues.

  • Insurance: From rating/quoting to underwriting to policy/claims administration, all of these processes can be automated. Customer communication can be stored within the application along with important documents such as health exam reports, and multiple different approval steps can be seen at a glance, all in one central file.

  • IT and Technical Support: From ticket management to user name/password resets, system backups, and more, you can automate many of the processes for this already busy department.

  • Human Resources: From applications to new hire paperwork, the HR department receives excessive amounts of paperwork. BPA can automate various functions, such as candidate tracking, enrollment packages, and management reviews.

  • Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivable: Manually processing invoices and approval requests is time consuming. Automation can reduce that burden by generating automated approval request emails when an invoice is scanned into the system, automatically comparing invoice and PO numbers, automating travel expense management, streamlining journal entries, simplifying month-end book closings, and automatically scheduling approved invoices for payment.

Questions to ask when considering process automation

Automation can provide many benefits, from reducing errors to cost savings. However, there are a number of critical questions to ask when considering process automation:

  1. Which of my organization’s processes would most greatly benefit from automation? It’s important to discover where the bottlenecks are in your business and invest in processes that will add the most value.
  2. What are the ROI and potential cost savings for my organization? Get a quote for process automation and compare it to your manual process costs, including labor.
  3. How do delays impact the efficiency and engagement of my staff and department? Consider how many manual errors and lost or delayed paper approval errors you experience. Learn from your teams where they feel most frustrated and held up during their own work days.

Still unsure if automation is right for you? Ready but don’t know where to start?

Deep Core Data designs custom business process automation solutions that take into account the unique needs of your business. We customize solutions that fit your business and process rather than forcing you to adapt your business to a one-size-fits-all solution. This results in a business automation process that is designed to maximize the value of your people, process, and data.

For a limited time, we are offering a free process review consultation – we will examine your workflows to identify bottlenecks and recommend a solution that fits your unique needs. There is no obligation and you will have a better idea of the needs, benefits, and cost of a process automation solution for your business. Please contact us if you have any questions.

2017-09-29T10:35:07+00:00

About the Author:

Andrew is a technical writer for Deep Core Data. He has been writing creatively for 10 years, and has a strong background in graphic design. He enjoys reading blogs about the quirks and foibles of technology, gadgetry, and writing tips.

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