Business process automation is exactly what it says: the automation of processes used in business. They may be simple or complex, self-contained or interdependent. Regardless, business process automation distills processes to their essential elements, automates steps that can be automated, and eliminates a lot of paper, errors, and wasted time.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that business process automation is only for large enterprises. Smaller businesses can benefit disproportionately from business process automation, because they tend to have greater constraints on staffing and resource budgets. Here are 6 benefits of business process automation and how it can help your business – whatever its size or industry.
1. By Reducing Costs
Manual tasks are performed one at a time and are by nature slower than automated tasks. Sure, some tasks cannot be automated, but a surprising number of them can be. Automated tasks eliminate time-intensive steps like manually delivering papers that need to be signed, and they reduce paper and ink usage as well, because they’re done electronically. Savings in terms of time and resources add up significantly over the course of a year.
2. By Ensuring Quality and Consistency
Business process automation ensures processes are carried out with consistency, because users are stepped through it in a prescribed way every time. That means no steps are inadvertently omitted, nobody can cut corners, and you can expect results of a process to meet standards every time. This can be especially valuable in heavily regulated industries where processes must be tracked and audit trails are required, since business process automation software can automatically generate audit trails.
3. By Making Processes Faster
It only makes sense that automated processes are faster than manual processes. Think about a process like business travel reporting. When done manually, the result is a blizzard of paperwork and receipts, and time spent writing down expenses and per diem amounts. With business process automation, however, expenses, per diems, and even receipts can be submitted electronically (so none of them will get lost), and employees can be reimbursed faster. You can even make the process mobile-friendly so travelers can submit expenses on the go.
4. By Reducing Errors
Consider all the risks of errors with manual processes. Someone could start with the wrong form altogether and have to redo it. If it’s not clear what goes in a blank, guesswork could lead to further errors. Paper forms can be lost, torn, or stained, and every time a paper is handed off, potential for more errors is added. Business process automation eliminates paper forms, and can make it so blanks must be completed with the right type of information before a form is submitted. Fewer errors mean less time spent tracking down and correcting them.
5. By Making Metrics Easier to Track
With business process automation, data can be collected every time a process happens. That data can be made into reports that track the metrics that are important to your organization. How many employees completed safety training? What percentage of fleet vehicles was reserved on a given day? How many customer service calls come in on Mondays compared to Thursdays? The right business process automation software lets you track the metrics that matter for continual business improvement.
6. By Facilitating Collaboration
Suppose you use business process automation to standardize and streamline production of technical reports. Unlike with a manual, paper-based process, an automated process lets all stakeholders see the status of the report at any time. And when drafts are shared electronically, edits and changes can be done significantly faster than if it was all done on paper. Any approval cycle can be automated so that approving authorities sign off electronically, again resulting in time savings. Better, faster collaboration is the end result.
Business process automation is for organizations of all types and sizes. It doesn’t require custom programming or a big IT investment. In fact, you can create and build online forms and workflows even if you know nothing about programming. PerfectApps makes it easy, with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Your electronic forms can look exactly like your paper forms for a quick learning curve. And forms can easily be connected into workflows that are efficient, less error-prone, and easier to track. Have a look at our demo and see for yourself how PerfectApps puts the power of business process automation in your hands.