Business Process Automation (BPA) is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to cut costs, save time, streamline workflow and collect valuable data. However, this is only the case when automation is implemented effectively. Automation should be approached with the view of improving business processes rather than merely replacing them with technology. It is just as important to know what not to automate as it is to know what to automate.
As Bill Gates once said:
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
Here are steps to take when automating business processes:
1. Define Goals
Before you automate your current business processes it’s crucial to define the end goal of those processes and evaluate whether or not your current methods are giving you the results you want. In addition to automating your current processes, BPA presents the opportunity to achieve goals that you were unable to with your manual processes. For example, automation gives businesses unique opportunities to capture and analyze massive amounts of data that previously may have proven to be too time consuming to utilize.
2. Evaluate Workflow & Streamline Processes
Once you have established a clear vision for what you would like to achieve with business automation it is time to evaluate how your current business processes can be altered and streamlined. Some processes may even be eliminated altogether.
Before beginning automation development it is important to consult all departments in order to identify bottlenecks, redundancies, and problem areas in organizational workflow. Automation can increase accountability throughout your organization as it is easy to trace files and follow their path. Evaluating workflow can help you further define your end goals and increase the scope of your automation project, ultimately saving more time and money.
4. Automate Processes
By taking the time to execute the aforementioned steps you can decrease the amount of time spent developing custom business automation software. This is because having a clear objectives and a well defined approach to automation will decrease the number of delays and reiterations experienced by your developers.
It is important to maintain the involvement of all departments and/or key team members to ensure that it follows your organizational hierarchy and reflects organizational workflow. By involving your team in the development process you can make changes along the way, while they are simpler and less expensive make.
5. Create An Implementation Strategy
When you introduce automation to your business it results in changes to the workflow, employee roles and responsibilities, and may entail some training. Rather than blindly releasing technology into your organization it is important to have a plan which may include:
- Employees should clearly understand how the new technology will affect their unique position within the organization.
- Management should be prepared to train staff on how to interact with new technologies in order to maximize it’s benefits.
- A system should be in place to collect employee feedback on new technology.
6. Monitor Your BPA Technology
Once your new business process automation software has been implemented your duties shift towards Business Process Management (BPM). The software’s performance should be monitored and undergo an evaluation after a few months. The great thing about custom software solutions is they are malleable, so anything that is found to be redundant, lacking, or problematic can be further adapted to suit your business needs.
After a few months of experience interacting with the new technology you and your staff may have gained insights as to how solutions can be better utilized and extended. Some ideas won’t come to light until your team has spent some time experiencing the power of new technology first hand, so it is important to view your automation software as something that can evolve alongside your business. At Gravit-e, all of our custom software is built with the future in mind so it can easily be changed and expanded upon.