What is business process automation?
Business process automation (or BPA) describes a strategy of managing information, data and automated processes in order to reduce business costs in resources, investment and expenditure.
Routine processes and tasks – from initiation through execution and completion – are typically automated through use of computing technology and specialised software. This not only provides a means of continually refining those business processes, but also of achieving company-wide workflows that deliver greater efficiencies.
Three principles guide the implementation of a BPA strategy. They are:
- Orchestration – allowing organisations to build bespoke systems that achieve centralised management of their computing architecture
- Integration – ensuring the BPA system joins business functions by covering all process-centric boundaries of the organisation
- Automated execution – reducing the labour requirement of tasks to the minimal possible levels of human interaction
Properly implemented, BPA helps organisations to maintain and improve upon the stability, productivity and efficiency of their operations. This is accomplished via thorough analysis of critical and non-critical business processes, as well as their dependency upon other processes and external business partners. With sufficient information, software applications can be developed or sourced to be used in business critical functions.
Implementation of a BPA strategy is usually achieved with one, or a combination, of three techniques:
Extending existing IT systems
Enhance existing functionality by specifying custom links between disparate systems and applications. The upside is the potential for an entirely tailored approach. The potential downside is the difficulty of finding the necessary skills to implement the desired solution.
Buying a specialist tool
There are many BPA toolsets available, several of which are designed for specific industry sectors. The upside is the speed and ease of their deployment. The downside is potentially oversimplified products providing less tailored solutions, in addition to the expected cost of acquiring yet another IT supplier.
Extending a Business Process Management (BPM) solution with BPA
BPM asserts that all business processes should be defined before automation can take place. By seeking a BPM solution, a framework for all business critical processes is provided, on top of which the necessary BPA tools can be built or sourced. The upside is the solid foundation provided from which to refine and redefine processes alongside their future automation requirements.
Business process automation software
Through use of automation software, organisations are able to determine automatic triggers and actions between multiple disparate systems to enact complete end-to-end business processes. By speeding up task completion and reducing the need for human operation, both time and money can be saved in various common business processes.
As previously explained, there are multiple different packages available on the market, some of which are specifically tailored to well-understood functions within specific sectors. In general, though, BPA software could provide any of the following modular components once built and installed:
- Data collection and analysis
- Document creation and management
- Workflow design and enforcement
- Integration of multiple systems
- Reporting and communications
- Access and permissions management
- Multimedia management (e.g. via mobile phone)
Business process automation examples
Business process automation is utilised by many organisations in practically every sector. A few examples of ways to apply automation are provided here.
Take, for example, small businesses in the service sector. These can benefit from automation processes that monitor and report on product quality or variable customer experiences. Administrative interfaces that allow for real-time monitoring, and a broad view of business functions, can increase management capacity and control while reducing the need for e-mails and other long-winded communications.
A company in the logistics sector has to manage a range of interconnected and complex processes over hundreds of customers, sometimes over the span of continents. Through automation, routines and internal controls can be standardised and optimised while various key departments – financial, quality, production and HR for instance – can be integrated to communicate with each other more effectively.
In a third example, the service desk of an organisation needs to be effective at managing customer requests. Through process automation, real-time workflow can be monitored and refined, reliable sales or performance indicators can be specified, and priorities can be defined more strictly.
These are the sorts of benefits that can only be achieved through a BPA solution.
How can automation benefit your business?
If it isn’t clear yet, automation solutions can be tailored to benefit practically any business. Using appropriate technologies makes processes more efficient and effective, allows for integration of information and systems while additionally creating opportunities for workflow management, real-time monitoring, communication and reporting. With a bespoke solution, the benefits to your particular business in your industry could exceed even these.
How to automate business processes using LEAP
The FLOvate solution to business process automation is LEAP, a Low-code/no code business automation software which is powerful, easy to operate and affordable.
The tailoring process is simple. First we perform a Requirements Analysis, working with you to understand your project. You’ll receive a Proof of Concept application which demonstrates the possibilities of the solution. Then we’ll gather feedback to quickly iterate and implement any required changes.
Once your payment scale and monthly arrangement is confirmed – customised to the size of your organisation and expected user activity — our Quality Assurance Team will test your solution. Through this process we will eliminate any bugs or issues before deployment. After this point we will begin a tailored training program, remotely or by classroom, to bring your staff up to speed.
LEAP can then be easily deployed on the Microsoft Azure network, your own Cloud or server (so long as you are able to meet the requirements explained here). Once deployed, your bespoke platform can be customised at will, by you and your staff, without a single line of code needed. Our support teams will remain available by phone or e-mail, or you can receive your very own tailored support package.
Due to its modular nature and ease of use, LEAP can provide the automation solution that will make all the difference needed in your organisation.