Although it can be defined in various ways, business process automation (BPA) is generally thought of as the strategy used by an organization to eliminate or reduce the need for manual, human labor on certain business activities or services. The BPA movement continues to gain popularity because of its potential to save on resources such as time and money, providing cost savings and a return on investment.
It can be difficult to determine which aspects of a business are best suited for automation and how to begin the transition. There might be a possibility for automation in your organization you have yet to discover. Here are some real examples of how BPA can be applied to your organization:
1. Electronic Timecards
Rather than writing and processing daily worktime information by hand, a construction firm we worked with eliminated this time-consuming bottleneck by creating a mobile timecard application. Each worker now checks in or out of a job using their mobile device, regardless of data availability. This allows managers to track and approve timesheets for individual workers automatically, eliminating the use of paper timesheets. The accounting personnel department is now able to quickly process payroll on a regular basis. Many organizations can use electronic timecards to reduce time spent checking in and/or tracking hours.
2. Marketing Automation
You can improve your marketing efforts in several ways with automation. Reminders can be sent to notify you of time-sensitive marketing campaigns (emails or newsletters). Automatically schedule and analyze social media posts using websites like Buffer.com. Plan your posts, enter them into the time slots, and there is no need to worry about posting on social media each day. Automated software programs can also categorize customers based on relevant characteristics to create marketing segmentation and a tailored customer experience.
3. Client/Customer Communication
Staying on top of communication with your customers is crucial. Don’t miss out on key opportunities for reaching out to clients – use automated alerts when it’s time to contact certain individuals. Track sales activity directly into your CRM system. Emails and other contact points between people in your organization and customers can then be accessed by others if necessary, and additional data can be drawn from the stored information.
4. Application Integration
When the applications used by your organization are automatically connected with each other, it allows for smoother overall processes. Our client, a commercial facility maintenance company, uses “set workflows” to activate one event after the occurrence of a trigger event within the company. Prior to automating, this company had to produce unnecessary amounts of work orders each day. After implementation of automated software, a work order is now only automatically generated when appropriate, saving mass amounts of time. Similarly, the real-time feature of their application allows for automatic alerts and updates from contractors to appropriate personnel, so they can respond more quickly. Automation can also be applied to other areas of integration such as tracking web submissions to your CRM and more!
5. Appointment Scheduling
Paper planners and calendars are not ideal for scheduling within growing company. Automated appointment scheduling software can allow members of an organization to share their calendars between one another and with customers to better schedule meetings. It would also allow invitees to accept or deny meeting invites online or instantly based on availability. These events are then automatically added to your calendar, and alerts appear prior to the appointment.
Business Process Automation comes in many shapes and sizes, but the overall end goal is to save resources and make tedious processes easier – an outcome all businesses can benefit from. These are only a few examples of how automation could apply to your organization. Think creatively about operational areas your business could improve upon.