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Avoid These Mistakes in Business Process Automation

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September 02, 2021
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More organizations are turning to business process automation now than two years ago. According to McKinsey, 31% of businesses have already automated at least one function.

While many companies want to implement BPA, certain missteps can lead to challenges. We'll cover how to avoid these.

Introduction

Business process automation is a term used for technology that manages repetitive processes. This helps to increase efficiency and provide valuable insights. An example would be technology for supply chain management.

Some advances in technology solutions, such as Software as a Service (SAAS) solutions, have contributed to the growth of business process automation in recent years.

Automation tools are designed to use machine labor as opposed to human labor, so that the human labor can focus on other parts of a business.

However, process automation requires consideration, monitoring and the best practices across workflows. Not every solution will have the capacity to automate end-to-end operations, which can lead to higher costs and issues with scaling.

So, what are the tasks that companies tend to automate first? These are typically routine processes involving repetition, such as generating reports, routing customer queries, and steps in accounts payable.

Common Mistakes in Business Process Automation

If you want to learn how to automate your business properly, it is important to know the challenges you might face.

Tasks and processes that tend to be easy to automate are simple and limited to a single business unit, such as sales, human resources, or customer service.

This is because these tasks usually include documenting compliance, sending files, copy-pasting information, and triggering alarms.

However, with cross-enterprise processes that involve many human elements and data sets, automation becomes more difficult.

We'll be addressing challenges that could arise from mistakes in the BPA process, and how to avoid or fix them.

1. Designing the Automation Process Based on a Tool

If you design your business process automation based on a tool, you risk not meeting your goals and wasting time.

Instead, design your process based on the people who will be using it. Business automation should work for people, not vice versa. For this reason, you should also involve everyone who will be using the automation solution right from the start so that everyone is kept in the loop.

2. Choosing the Wrong Software

Make sure the business automation software you choose caters to your specific business goals. For example, if you're trying to automate invoicing for physical goods but the software is geared towards invoicing for services, you may find yourself losing money.

We suggest starting by zeroing in on high volume, low risk items and pinpointing what exactly you want automated. If you're still unsure, you can take the advice of BPA professionals.

3. Having a Narrow Focus

If you do not plan beyond the silo challenge at hand, you may not be able to anticipate how the changes in process will affect other departments. We advise against strict compartmentalization, as in this instance, fixing one challenge could actually lead to others.

Make sure your teams cooperate and work together towards business objectives.

4. Inadequate Documentation of Processes

Your knowledge transfer should be complete, accurate, and unbiased. Instead of getting employees to design the process, consider getting the data from process intelligence.

This will help capture accurate, real-time data from current systems that will help you assess challenges, build workflows, and decide which parts of your business are best suited for automation.

5. Lack of Agility

If you're like most businesses, you were unprepared for the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your accomplishments via business process automation will be limited if you do not account for unexpected disruptions.

Do not develop rigid, inflexible plans. Instead, focus on adaptability and adjustment, and create resilience to buffer shocks from challenges such as a pandemic or natural disaster.

We do recommend utilizing technology developed to help you accomplish this. For example, you may use automation that is specifically designed to detect alterations in your business process and sends alerts.

6. Not Managing Your Hybrid Workforce

No, we're not talking about the work from home model that has grown in popularity thanks to the pandemic.

Implementing business process automation means having two functional workforces: your human staff and your automation bots.

Your human team will be tasked with taking advantage of the bots for maximum productivity. (And you should assure them that they are not going to lose their jobs.) This means they will need to be provided training on how to execute and manage automation.

Synchronizing your employees and your bots will result in far better success than focusing entirely on the latter.

7. Limiting the Scope of "Added Value"

Business process management automation isn't just about receiving direct financial returns. While "traditional" metrics such as time, costs, and revenue might be positively impacted, it is important to note that others will be too.

For example, some results of BPM automation might include improved customer experience or employee job satisfaction.

Knowing how business automation might affect your business is a key factor in implementing it correctly.

Conclusion

One should always approach automation with a thought-out plan, and while bearing in mind that much of its success depends on human labor in the form of monitoring and managing.

BPA will not happen overnight, and you can avoid increasing time and costs by preparing your employees, doing your research, and clarifying your goals.

If you require professional business process automation solutions, BluEnt is just a click away. We've been operating since 2003 and offer a host of services such as supply chain management, customer relationship management, time management systems, and enterprise resource planning. We cater to Fortune companies, SMEs, and funded startups.

Ready to drive growth and streamline your business with business process automation services? Contact us now!

Maximum Value. Achieved.

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