Many people are wondering just how much business process automation (BPA) can help to reduce the strain on organisations that need to continue operations, with limited staff as a result of government enforced lockdowns. One way that BPA is already enabling change is that it’s making working from home possible, and removing many repetitive human-to-human tasks.
“We no longer strictly need to be at the office but can work online at any time" says Denis Bensch, Chief Information Officer for FlowCentric Technologies.
“BPA is about the automation of day-to-day processes and through centrally automated systems we can send, receive and allocate tasks. Each task can be tracked across the different departments it applies to and any drops in the chain can be rapidly addressed. It reduces so much strain on systems while enhancing the ability of employees to be more efficient and effective in their jobs.”
Bensch says that good BPA product offerings work on role-based allocation, not person-based, so in the event that critical staff are hospitalised or unavailable, the process does not grind to a halt because someone else can pick up on what is needed and action accordingly. This gives the business a major advantage in terms of customer service ethic. This streamlining also reduces dependency on any individual.
He sees the trend of working from home as growing. He says that many more hybrid implementations will evolve to enable working from either the office or from home.
“We have moved away from the old-fashioned environment of micro-managing staff, to outcomes-based employee evaluations. Realistically, it’s impossible to monitor staff eight hours a day. They need to be paid for work done and not paid for being at work.”
He says it can be difficult to quantify ROI post implementing BPA because companies often don’t really know what the costs were pre-implementation. However, the benefits become evident in efficiency improvement.
He cites the examples of a social investment company reducing its payment release process from 14 days to same-day payment, and an employee management fund administrator reducing a loans application and approval process from 20 days to 40 minutes, excluding the cool-off period.
“Automation of supplier interaction can bring millions in returns, simply by acting on early settlement discounts and improvements in the purchase order cycle and accuracy.
“ROI will differ by industry. What people forget is that as a company grows, its processes evolve and without controls in place become cumbersome and ineffective. A business process typically flows through multiple departments. When implementing BPA, the reality of just how many processes have been bogged down by inefficiency become apparent.”
Any sector can benefit from using BPA, now and well into the future. Bensch sees BPA becoming an increasingly exciting tool as it integrates with technologies such as AI, smart devices, and biometrics.
“This will provide extraordinary leverage, elevating information gathering and taking us deeper into how we do business in the digital age.
“If we look at the effect on supply chain management, for example, the opportunities are remarkable. Some 70% of industry professionals predict that the supply chain will be a key driver of better customer service before the end of 2020.
“Marrying BPA with emerging digital technologies will redefine the way customer attention, service and retention will evolve into the future,” concludes Bensch.
One of the biggest challenges many of us are currently facing is the management of task lifecycles. If your company is facing this challenge, then you may be be interested in our remote task management solution, TasqIT.