Published on November 28th, 2017 | by Guest0
Business Process Automation: The Importance of Streamlining Your Workflow
In business today, there are a lot of moving parts to contend with. Technology has streamlined your ability to compete with corporations much larger than your business. It has also added a lot of information to the mix. As much as new technology has eliminated older, manual tasks, it has also added processes and documentation to be tracked. What business process automation (BPA) offers is a way to simplify protocols for your company.
The main goal of business process automation is to simplify workflows, usually by taking routine tasks away from people and handing them off to an automated process. There are many processes handled throughout a company. Often, the difficulty can be in determining which tasks need to be handled by an individual and which are better automated.
On the outside, it would appear that simplifying duties, especially tedious ones, would make every shareholder happy. But often the idea of automating anything is greeted with apprehension. People generally do not like change. Learning new protocols can be intimidating. Many employees also worry software won’t be able to adequately handle responsibilities once only carried out manually.
The reality is business process automation, when handled expertly, will increase productivity. It has been shown to decrease errors, improve communications, and actually lead to more greater employee satisfaction. When processes are streamlined, employees can use their time to contribute in more important, substantive ways—increasing their confidence as well as benefiting the company.
The subject of BPA offers a wide conversation. Automation occurs in every industry. With technology, the evolution of data and the importance of being able to best utilize information are more important than ever. You don’t only need to gather the necessary information to complete your projects, but you need to store and use that data effectively and efficiently. This is where business process automation can be crucial in not only simplifying processes but also in eliminating costly mistakes.
Workflows for Accountability and Authority
One major issue with the old, manual way of doing business was in verifying accountability. Often, in larger companies, it might be next to impossible to pinpoint which employee last handled a file or completed a task. This could work two ways—the wrong person might take credit for a job well done or the wrong person might get blamed for a mistake. Worse still, when a mistake is made but there’s no way to find the originator of the error, it becomes more difficult to correct the problem so it doesn’t reoccur.
Business process automation can create workflows in which each employee takes accountability for their own contributions. When tasks are completed, they’re attributed to the employee who completes them. Workflows can also be set such that only certain shareholders have access or authority over certain responsibilities. For example, only HR professionals would have access to records pertaining to HIPAA or employee files. Marketing might be the only department with access to workflows pertaining to mailing lists.
The ability to streamline these processes so there’s accountability for each action means it’s easier to pinpoint errors to correct them. It also offers plenty of opportunities to identify stand-out employees you may want to recognize.
Communication That Counts
Communication, internal and external, is the lifeblood of most businesses. While technology has granted us the ability to maintain contact with customers and coworkers through dozens of different methods, that’s not always in the best interest of organizational flow.
For instance, if one employee exchanged emails with a client that included integral changes to their current service, that information needs to make it into the company file. Otherwise, the changes might not be made or noted by other shareholders dealing with the account. This can obviously cause mistakes in efficiency and even translate into a loss of revenue.
With certain business process management solutions, communications can be streamlined so email, scanned documents, faxes, and information gleaned from web forms all make it into the universal file so each shareholder has access to current information at all times.
Business Process Automation Impacts Employee Errors
Manual errors can prove costly. Even with excellent training and performance, they’re not always avoidable. While most errors can be corrected, they invariably lead to a loss of time. Employees need to take time to correct the error itself once it’s noted. If the errors are made regarding regulatory issues, it can mean fines or possibly even a halt to processes until the error is resolved.
With some document management systems, errors can be detected and alerts issued so the information is manually checked. You can also set schedules so deadlines are adhered to in a proactive fashion.
A Clear Map to Your Process
One great advantage to many business process automation solutions is they give you robust analytics to better understand the whole of your workflow. Think of this as an intricate map to the way your company does business. Each department is represented. You might look at a set client and be able to determine where exactly their account is in the process. This gives you a more comprehensive ability to answer customer questions and assist with any issues.
On a larger scale, this information can be used to assess your overall processes. You can tell where efficiency can be improved. You can also see where your employees are successful. It also allows you a more reliable method for setting timelines and schedules for delivery with your clients.
Compliance and Regulatory Issues
For many industries, regulatory compliance is of great importance. It’s also one of the most intricate and time-consuming responsibilities. Local and federal bodies don’t usually make forms exceptionally easy to complete. One error or missing piece of information can cause a denial, which can stop the business entirely. And each entity has their own protocol. If your company deals with multiple regulatory issues, it’s imperative each compliance issue be handled efficiently and accurately.
BPA allows you to set workflows so no piece of information is ever missed. You can also verify information, using fillable forms that transfer information rather than relying on employees to key the information into each application.
BPA: Increasing Efficiency and Improving Your Bottom Line
In essence, business process automation offers your company a number of ways to increase productivity while decreasing errors. It saves man-hours on tasks better handled by automation. It also gives employees more time to concentrate on tasks that are more constructive to creating new business and revenue. When determining which tasks need to be automated, remember you can always leave room for manual checks to the system.
Square 9 Softworks’ complete suite of document management solutions enables you to capture, extract and classify data, transforming it into usable intelligence that lets you work more efficiently.