Business process automation (BPA) has been around for much longer than you think. Any system that facilitates everyday tasks and removes or reduces the need for human agency is a form of automation.
However, the twenty-first century has brought digital process automation with a new set of tools and technologies that streamline various business processes.
Furthermore, recently, we have witnessed the unfolding of a new era in BPA, which is intelligent automation. This type of BPA offers many benefits to countless organizations. It is based on some groundbreaking technologies and principles, including AI, machine learning, robotic process automation, etc.
Challenges That Have Triggered BPA Innovations
Many business operations depend on processes that are repetitive, overly clunky, and convoluted. That doesn’t only make them extremely exhausting and boring, but it creates many problems for the organization.
Such tasks tend to take a lot of time. Employees have to waste this time doing the same thing over and over again, instead of focusing their attention on something more creative and innovative. Doing these tasks manually is extremely inefficient.
What’s more, when you have to do a labor-intensive, repetitive task many times, there’s a high chance you’ll make plenty of errors along the way. Human error is a common thing in business, and it’s often unavoidable. No matter how hard we try, we’ll make mistakes, but in business, these mistakes can cost us a fortune (or worse — a client).
Finally, these tasks require an extensive and costly workforce. As the scope of work increases, the number of staff working on it has to increase as well.
Instead of letting various business processes eat up their time and resources, businesses are turning to various tools of automation. However, these tools are becoming more advanced by the day, and they can handle extremely complex tasks without human intervention.
Thanks to BPA, businesses are much more efficient with a lot less resources than they needed before. It’s also easier for them to grow because automation software can manage an increase in workload with ease.
These technologies also eliminate human error. Unlike people, machines can’t make mistakes in repetitive tasks they are programmed to do well.
Implementing New BPA Technologies
So automation in business has existed for a while now, but systems used to depend on people and their manual input a lot. However, there are now technologies that can do things governed by logic, think like us, and interact with us in our own language.
Essentially, the two major technologies that have caused a revolution in BPA are artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA). These technologies can make for a powerful combo, which can take any business to the next level.
RPA makes it possible to automate specific tasks with structured input. RPA-based software is great for repetitive tasks, such as data manipulation, auto-responses, interaction with other systems, etc. By employing RPA bots, companies can automate a bunch of processes, both simple and complex.
AI takes it all even further, and it can work with unstructured data. It has given us machine learning (ML), i.e., the ability of software to learn on its own, find new patterns, and make decisions. There’s also natural language processing (NLP), i.e., the ability to understand, successfully interpret, and produce human language.
AI brings a certain autonomy to the software and allows it to operate and improve on its own. AI also facilitates predictive analytics, which allows accurate predictions about future events from historic data.
These incredible technologies allow businesses to automate even the most complex processes, such as entire customer journeys, from onboarding to upselling.
How You Can Automate Your Business Processes
If you’re wondering what exactly you can automate, thanks to the technologies mentioned above, the answer is — almost anything! From lead generation to recruitment, sales funnel, and customer services, you can leave it all to bots.
When considering which processes to automate, take a look at your business operations and find the tasks that are repetitive, time-consuming, vulnerable to errors, and have a high impact on other processes.
Then, start looking for the right tools for you. You want them to be easy to understand and use. You can read online reviews to see other people’s experiences with them. Be sure to check if they integrate with your other systems.
Before you implement the tool, consider your employees and their current responsibilities. You may have to rearrange the team structure and give people different tasks. Automation will free them up for more meaningful tasks.
Finally, identify your goals and the ways you will measure your success. After a time of consistent use, you’ll probably notice huge leaps in productivity and satisfaction in your team.
BPA will help you cut costs, use your workforce more wisely, and grow your business much faster than before.