Important Questions To Ask When Selecting Business Process Automation Software
As businesses evolve, more work needs to be done — this typically involves either increasing the workload for the staff or hiring new employees. In many cases, Business Process Automation (BPA) software is a better solution than hiring or trying to deal with a burgeoning workload yourself. BPA software drastically reduces the amount of time and money spent on repetitive tasks and grants you insights with metrics that we humans simply can’t provide. However, automating the wrong processes or choosing the wrong software can lead to frustration among those using the software and, in some cases, create even more redundancy (for example, manually entering data into multiple software systems). Before you implement any BPA software, it is prudent to answer the following questions:
Why do you need BPA software?
What problems are you hoping to solve? If your current tools or staff are unable to meet your needs, it is important to outline what those needs are and how you expect to meet them with your ideal software. Any flaws in workflow or the process itself should be addressed before automating the task to ensure the same issues don’t carry over to an automated solution.
Who will be using the software?
It is important to include staff who will be interacting with the software in the decision-making process, as they will likely have input and will be the ones most frustrated if they have difficulties using it. Make sure the end-user will be able to use the software properly and determine whether employees will need to be trained on the new procedures.
What features would you like your BPA software to have?
One of the best things about BPA software is its ability to do what your staff can’t do or provide you with metrics you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Will you need to customize? Does the commercial software you have selected meet some or all of your business needs?
You may find that one or two of the features you’d like to have either don’t exist in the commercial version or need to be modified to suit your business’s particular needs. In many cases, features can be configured or built and integrated with commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS). In other cases, you may find you’re better off building a custom solution entirely from scratch.
What are the hidden expenses?
The cost of implementing BPA software can extend beyond a monthly or annual fee. These extra costs include items such as staff training, consulting, and configuration and customization. Evaluating these expenses can help you decide whether the benefits of the software outweigh the cost and budget in the preparation of any additional expenses.
How will you measure the impact of its implementation?
Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) you currently use to measure the activities you are looking to automate. If there are none, consult with your team or determine how they may be quantified. What metrics/analytics does the software you are considering provide? How can these metrics be used to assess impact? Here are some tips on measuring ROI of BPA software.
Is the software scalable?
As business increases, any software you’re using needs to be able to handle the volume. Failure of the software to do so may burden your staff and have a negative effect on the service level you are able to provide. This question can be particularly important for start-ups and new business ventures, where the growth patterns are not as predictable as larger, more mature businesses..
Ultimately, the initial questions you should be asking when evaluating BPA software have to do with your business processes themselves rather than the software in question. It is important to have a fundamental understanding of how work flows through your organization before you can determine which technological tools, if any, are needed.