Business Process Automation (BPA)–or any software that automates your business workflow– has been one of the dominating tech trends over the last couple of years (airSlate, 2023). If BPA software is integrated into a business to affect, owners can optimise their workflow by reducing overhead and team workloads. As a result, BPA can help owners grow their businesses, boost employee engagement, and improve innovation prospects. Before you hit the BPA download, we explore instances where it might be better to pump the brakes on BPA (for now…).
Too many business owners jump into BPA too quickly to salvage disorganisation or overly complicated processes. Many spend thousands of dollars (and entire salaries) on BPA software and new hires (e.g., an Operations Manager). OMs might be highly capable, but they won’t understand the inner workings, if you don’t. By asking your OMs to integrate BPA into a disorganised business model and train a whole new team, you’re creating more challenges for your business. Remember, if you don’t understand your business processes, you can’t expect your employees, clients, or investors to understand them either.
Our tips: Ensure you set up and review your current processes until they feel somewhat ‘fail-proof’. Buzzwords aside, your business processes should be well-organised, straightforward, time-managed, budgeted, and align with your overarching business plan. Most importantly, all of your routine business processes should be easily replicable. Once you feel ready to introduce BPA, be honest about your capacity and your tech capabilities. Besides hiring an OM (at the right time), you may need additional technical support to help you integrate BPA into your business.
When it comes to running a well-oiled business machine, you still (and probably always will) need human intervention to get your work done. After all, who wants a business solely reliant on bots! In business, we call it the 3 vs: volume, variance, and value (ZDNet, 2023). Tasks that are ideal for automation are those that are high in volume (e.g., your routine processes), low in variance (e.g., require minimal changes between transactions), and come at a high resource cost to perform (e.g., have the potential to cut resource costs). These tasks are still at risk of breaking and will need a level of human supervision to maintain them, particularly if you need to tidy up your BPA at the backend.
As a general rule, any project work that requires critical thinking, complex problem solving, personalised delivery (yes, by humans), considerable time and effort from your employees (e.g., frequent trial and error), or is likely to change in the short-term, should not be automated.
Remember, agility is your best business asset. If you calculate the time it takes to set up BPA every time you alter a business project, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time (and money) revising digitised processes. Plus, you don’t want your vendors or suppliers to be restricted by lock-in technology if you aren’t across the tech yourself.
Our tips: Start by automating any predictable, repeat processes within your business and any smaller segments that surround your complex tasks. By giving your team the support they need to get their work done efficiently, they’ll feel more confident in you, their work, and your business.
The global Business Process Automation market has grown from an impressive 12.4 billion to 14.02 billion in 2023 (The Business Research Company, 2023). Automating human capabilities can increase your cost savings, and AI can reinforce your sales and marketing activities and can boost revenue (airSlate, 2023). Large enterprises can generate triple-digit percentages (we’re talking millions of dollars of savings) by increasing business productivity, orchestrating network services, and leveraging open-source operating systems (airSlate, 2023). For SMBs, ditching analog processes for automation can deliver streamlined workflows, increased accuracy, and improved data management and processing (airSlate, 2023).
While BPA can undoubtedly bring immense value to your business, don’t forget to assess the ROI you plan on delivering with BPA. Business owners should take time to evaluate their business priorities and ascertain whether they are in a financially viable position to invest in BPA.
Our tips: Define your automation goals and desired ROI by estimating your direct labour savings. These savings include any upfront costs related to researching and downloading software, new hires, and long-term labour costs such as BPA testing, training, and maintenance. Advanced analytics can help you assess hyper-automation efficiency based on the number of optimised processes and the costs saved. Finally, weigh up whether your total costs are worth investing in BPA. You might find that these funds are best-placed in another area of your business.
If you want to learn more about how we can help ensure your processes are well-organised, replicable, and budgeted before jumping into BPA – get in touch!