Business Process Automation Software
Automation Is About More Than Just Efficiency
Business Process Automation software uses business rules and automated tasks to perform processes that accomplish a specific business goal. The goal could be as simple as allowing an employee to request vacation time or as complex as developing a new product. All activities around these processes are tracked and analyzed for efficiency.
Why is this important? To put it simply, humans make mistakes and yet are also the key drivers of innovation in any business because the software can’t think for itself. This means that when your employees spend time on repetitive processes instead of thinking of ways to grow your business, you’re risking manual error (that must be corrected with additional time spent) for not much benefit. Hence, process automation reduces errors and frees up your employees’ time and energy.
By automating business processes, especially those that are traditionally handled manually, significant benefits can be realized:
Automation is often part of a business process management suite that includes other tools to help define, model, test, and manage a portfolio of business processes.
There are several process automation applications available in the automation ecosystem today, and which you use will heavily depend on your business, your industry, and the various challenges you’re experiencing. However, the benefits of process automation through software, applications, and other tools are universal. They should be a goal of any company looking to grow and cut costs without sacrificing the quality of work.
On this page, we’ll walk through the value of automation software and how your business can ultimately put these various automation applications and tools to great use.
Using a drag and drop user interface, automated processes are designed to follow existing processes or improve them. In most cases, the process is documented using a process modeling tool and then reviewed by all stakeholders for accuracy. Once the static design is approved, work begins by designing the actual process, including forms, tasks, recipients, alerts/notifications, etc. This is done using business process solutions that include pre-built tasks (complete form, submit approval, hand-off to another person, etc.) that can be arranged sequentially or parallel.
Between tasks, process builders can insert business rules that make decisions about the path to take. For instance, you may set up a business rule that automatically routes a capital budget request to the CFO if it's more than $50,000. Or you might route a form back to the submitter if the reviewer needs more information. These rules are critical to managing the flow of tasks in a non-linear workflow. Whatever your organization’s choice of BPA applications, you should be able to set up workflows that follow this simple path-based architecture.
Once processes are built and tested, it's time to roll them out to the users. In some cases, this could be the entire employee population; in other cases, it could be a single department, outside vendors, or customers. In most automation applications, access to processes is provided through a Web portal where users can submit requests, check statuses, or complete tasks depending on their role. This self-service portal houses all procedures and forms, but many employees will also interact through email alerts.
For instance, a manager may receive an email alert indicating approval is needed for a new hire. The manager clicks "Approve" in the email, and the BPA system updates the task and moves forward with the next step.
Meanwhile, the employee who submitted the request for approval can track the request's status throughout its journey. When an organization has multiple approval levels and gatekeepers in the process, this becomes extremely valuable for the requester. It also reduces the need for phone calls, status updates, and emails looking for an answer.
Broadly, BPA is used for Task Management, Employee/Customer Service, Operations Management, and process compliance. This means that any department in your business, from sales and marketing to IT, can benefit greatly from adopting the right software and using the proper tools.
Here are some specific examples of processes that can benefit from automation solutions:
Security Access Requests
New Project Requests
IS Service Requests
There are many reasons why automated processing is superior to manual methods. While an automated system can never replace employees' intelligence and non-linear thinking, it CAN reduce the number of time employees spend performing tedious and unrewarding tasks that steal time from more important work.
Here are just a few of the advantages of automated processing:
While IT or the business applications team may own the software solution being used for automating your processes, as with any digital transformation, there are many owners. To achieve actual operational efficiency the members of any strategy should be considered its owners.
Through "citizen development" and collective process improvement, departments and organizations truly streamline processes and provide reduced operational costs. This means anyone associated with the process can provide ideas and feedback to help reduce friction, avoid bottlenecks, and avoid re-work.
It also means that some employees who lack development skills but are technically inclined and understand the full scope of the process can edit the automation by adding tasks, changing assignments, and routing information.
Solutions like Integrify can be integrated with RPA software to manage workflow and simulate human-centric tasks like entering data, moving between applications, analyzing documents, etc. See our Robotic Process Automation overview to learn more about how Integrify can integrate with RPA.
RPA integration can be a powerful boost to any process application suite because it further reduces the necessary work you need to rely on your human team members for. This not only reduces the chances of human error it also frees up your employees and managers to do other work rather than spending time on processes.
We've produced several materials that show the return on investment you'll gain when switching from manual to automated workflow across the enterprise. We hope that you’ll be convinced of the need for automation in general and the need to use reliable, powerful software and tools to make the process streamlined and effective.
Check out our ROI Calculator and download our Workflow ROI Guide. Please request a demonstration if you'd like to see Integrify's automation platform in action. We’ll be happy to show you what Integrify’s software can do for you and your business.
We have various resources to help you on your journey to an automated workflow. For further information on how to automate your business and streamline your processes, check out the Integrify blog, where we write about productivity, automation, and the various tips and tricks you need to combine the two.
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