Software algorithms now handle our stock market trading, logistics, electrical power grid management, banking, communications, medical diagnosis, mapping analytics, and much more. The human logic behind such decision-making has been codified into algorithms that greatly increase speed and efficiency.
Automation—both in its cyber and robotics incarnations—is not going away. Nowadays, artificial intelligence handles operational decisions, robots and machinery replace labor forces, and software applications automate manual processes. It is now a permanent fixture of our civilization, and businesses that attempt to resist progress and reject automation advancement will be at a disadvantage against those who successfully use it.
Best and next business practices
Business process automation (BPA) is defined as the strategy a business uses to automate processes in order to contain costs. It consists of integrating applications, restructuring labor resources, and using software applications throughout the organization.
Traditional business process automation solutions such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Chain Management (SCM), or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system focus on the implementation of best practices. Next-generation process automation allows the implementation of best practices at an economically acceptable cost level. This is possible through a flexible combination of business process definition and software application support. The appropriate software support is dynamically configured with the business processes definition as a basis, so that it enables the execution of enterprise-specific processes.
The quest for operational excellence is an absolute necessity if you want to survive and prosper in the challenging commodity markets of today. To achieve constant growth and survive in the long term, enterprises have to innovate continuously. They therefore have to combine best and next business practices. Best practices ensure efficiency; next practices really lead to competitive advantages.
Smarter, faster, better
Today, full operation and control of enterprise-specific processes are done by software-driven automation systems that provide maximum support to the user. The user is now only required to configure and customize the automation system for a particular process.
Process automation technology can pave the way for aligning capabilities to business objectives and in turn deliver increased benefit from it by:
- Enhanced resource management
Process automation helps distribute information seamlessly across the organization. For example, you can automatically create a quote for a new project and invoice it from the same system. This stores all the project data in the same place. Process automation ensures that the information is automatically sent, keeping your data up-to-date and preventing your team from spending a lot of time looking for it. It also greatly reduces processing errors and prevents tasks from being missed or completed incorrectly.
- Enhanced communication
When data is spread across various systems or is not up-to-date, it is hard to find the relevant information you need. This may hamper your brand value or customer experience. When customers call and ask for any information, they may encounter poor customer service if they have to wait for a long period of time. Automation simplifies the communication between different departments of the organization. Process automation provides easy access to data about past client interactions and project status reports to the whole team. With this, anyone on the team can answer the inquiries from clients.
- Enhanced processes
At a process level, automation will take on repetitive business and IT tasks (invoicing, payment processing, server provisioning, etc.) with greater speed and accuracy than their human counterparts. These rules-based processes can be completed 24/7, with no risk of error, freeing up human resource for more creative and fulfilling roles. Process automation enables employees to focus on more critical tasks.