Why the C-Level Loves Business Process Automation
By Mike Raia Posted November 28, 2017
Sharing Pain Up the Chain
Often the individuals feeling the most pain from manual, inefficient processes are the front-line employees and managers. They are expected to meet organizational goals and customer needs regardless of the systems in place (or, in many cases, NOT in place.) Not surprisingly, these are often the people that come to us looking for help. Explaining the direct benefits of scrapping manual processes in favor of digital, automated workflows is fairly straightforward for these folks. It's easy to see how much time they'll save, how much accuracy will improve, how much visibility will be gained, etc.
However, despite their passion for the technology and their enthusiasm to start building automated workflows, they still have to sell the idea up the chain of command, often ending up on a C-Level or VP-Level desk for final approval. To that end, we put together a list of C-Level roles and why they tend to approve workflow automation projects.
Chief Financial Officer
For CFOs looking to increase productivity and compliance while weaning finance teams off of Excel spreadsheets for tasks, workflow automation is a revelation. Gone are the days of emailing around spreadsheet "forms" to gather approvals or share information. Instead, finance teams spend less time dealing with email attachments and spreadsheets and more time on analysis. Messy, inconsistent approval processes for things like capital expenditures, travel expenses, and closing processes become well-oiled machines.
Bottom line: More analysis, less non-value work.
Chief Information Officer
Modern CIOs work in concert with the rest of the business to drive profit and improve customer experience. This being the case, the less time they spend building and supporting in-house applications the better. Workflow automation tools give them relief from internal development by allowing the business owners to build and manage their own applications. DevOps teams can focus on higher-level, customer-facing development efforts while workflow applications requiring forms, business rules, document routing, etc. can be built by business analysts or departments themselves.
Bottom line: IT has a stronger focus on value creation.
Chief Information Security Officer
CISO's must protect, monitor, and respond to threats to critical organizational information. When it comes to threat response, it's crucial to have a consistent, predictable process for managing the response. With a workflow management solution, automated processes can be custom built to include alerts, tiered approvals, parallel or sequential routing, delay triggered-escalation, and much more. Also, all activity around a response is captured and available for audit.
Bottom line: Better responses to all security threats.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Making HR forms and procedures easier to distribute, process, and review can drastically cut down on administrative oversight as well as keep HR processes compliant and legally defensible. CHROs can get a bird's eye view of all administrative activity, identify bottlenecks and keep HR teams focused on value adding activities instead of manual, rote work. Also, the employee experience can be significantly improved by providing one-stop shopping for all HR needs along with a consistent, transparent experience for all employees.
Bottom line: HR can focus on employee welfare and reduce administrative costs.
Chief Compliance Officer
CCO's need to ensure that the company's policies and procedures are designed to comply with applicable laws and regulations, and then confirm that those policies and procedures are followed. Automated compliance workflows can be an enormous help to the CCO's efforts whether the need is to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley, ISO Standards, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, HIPAA, SEC, FINRA, OCC or any other regulations. Compliance is enabled through standardized processes that provide due diligence and the necessary checkpoints for any process that might be subject to internal or external regulations. In addition, all activity is captured and auditable.
Bottom line: Compliance is consistent, enforceable and audited.
Chief Marketing Officer
Brand enforcement and budget control are two critical aspects of managing marketing for CMOs. Marketing teams that use request and workflow management tools can enforce brand guidelines through custom approval processes. Enforcement can cover anything from a logo usage request to a campaign request from Sales. Providing a self-service request portal prevents the notorious "one-offs" and unapproved marketing that can tank a brand. Managing other marketing activities like campaign requests or events with a standardized approval process can also prevent wasted marketing spend.
Bottom line: Enforce brand integrity and keep budgets in line.
Chief Executive Officer
When a company embraces workflow management a CEO can be confident that the business is working efficiently and effectively as well as avoiding unnecessary risk. Most business workflow crosses multiple departments and business units, which helps break down silos and provides the high-level transparency that CEOs want. They can also make decisions with the knowledge that all required approvals and gates have been met prior to a request hitting their inbox. Add to that, visibility for the CEO to ‘spot check’ any request and confirm its adherence, along with identifying organizational trends or spends as they’re happening. When errors and regulatory issues decrease as well, the business can move forward with more confidence and more resources can be put toward growth.
Bottom line: More resources for growth and less for operation.