5 Tips for Successful Business Process Automation
Companies that are able to successfully employ business process automation (BPA) have an easier time controlling costs, and can raise productivity substantially. But BPA shouldn’t be implemented in a vacuum. Rather, it should be part of an overall strategy for increasing business efficiency.
Exactly how you implement BPA depends on what your company does and what your particular workflows consist of. One common type of BPA that works across industries is automating core administrative processes like on-boarding new employees or requesting IT services. But however your company’s BPA takes shape, there are several points you should keep in mind to ensure success. Here are 5 of them.
1. Define What You Want “Success” to Mean
What do you want a process to be like once it’s automated? Do you want to cut administrative processing time down from three days to one day? Do you want to eliminate the use of paper forms for a particular workflow or department? Do you want to be able to process a certain increased number of forms per day? By defining what you want BPA success to look like, you make a stronger business case, because both the people involved in the process and those in management are able to understand the benefits of automation.
2. Automate Current Processes That Work Efficiently
Automating workflows doesn’t necessarily mean overhauling them completely. If you have a workflow that is highly efficient and makes sense, but that you’d like to speed up, start with that exact workflow and determine which parts can be automated. If you have a highly efficient team manually processing paper-based travel reimbursement requests, how can you make things faster and easier? Perhaps using electronic forms, having all form “hand-offs” occur electronically, and disbursing funds via direct deposit would further streamline an already good process.
3. Executive Support and “Ownership” Are Essential
Executive and managerial buy-in is essential to the success of any BPA initiative. Furthermore, having a designated project leader for each initiative helps ensure success. When the people in HR know the name of the person in charge of automating the employee on-boarding process, they know who to contact with questions, and everyone has a “point person” for submitting feedback as the process unfolds. A BPA initiative without clear leadership or executive support cannot be as successful as it would be otherwise.
4. So Is Interdepartmental Cooperation
Some business processes cross departments, and therefore cooperation and collaboration amongst those departments is critical. Whoever is in charge of a particular automation project should work closely with stakeholders in each department that is involved and keep lines of communication open. Otherwise, one department is liable to feel as if another department is “taking over” and that they’re being squeezed out of the automation process. All affected departments should have a say in how automation takes place.
5. Measure and Adjust As Necessary
Don’t be surprised if once you automate a process you find flaws that you hadn’t considered before. Once workflow automation is in place, you need to measure the results of the automated process, see what’s working well, and what could stand improvement. The specific key performance indicators you use will vary depending on what process you’re automating, but it’s important to define and measure them before and after automation to learn how big a benefit automation confers. With a flexible automation solution, making modifications as necessary should be fairly straightforward.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that BPA is only for companies with deep pockets and large internal IT departments. Businesses in industries like education, insurance, and healthcare have successfully used PerfectForms as their engine for automating processes, without having to write any programing code.
With PerfectForms’ business process automation, you can make electronic duplicates of the paper forms you use now, so the people who use the paper forms will know how to use them electronically. What’s more, you can link electronic forms into workflows that can significantly accelerate processes like employee on-boarding, travel reimbursement requests, maintenance requests, and a nearly unlimited number of other business processes. Why not try PerfectForms for free and see for yourself how you hold the power of business process automation in your hands today?