Let’s talk about business processes. Everyone has them, but not all digital transformation agendas realise the potential of focusing on automating processes.
Think about it. All the thousands of manual and menial processes that your staff complete day in, day out. What if they could be taken away, empowering your employees to focus on higher value areas of the business?
Here are the key arguments for pushing business process automation higher up your digital agenda, why Robotic Process Automation (RPA) might be right to help you do the job and how you can get started (plus some perfect examples).
The Bottom Line: Time is Money
We’re not fans of cringe quotes, but this one resonates. The more time your employees spend completing menial tasks and processes, the less time they are spending serving customers and the business mission. It’s estimated you can save in monetary terms between 40% and 75% by automating business processes.
Of course, we know these business processes are vital, they need to be done, but automation takes them away from your human workforce. Not only saving their time spent doing these tasks (that would be better spent somewhere else), but saving your business money. Automating processes saves you money further by cutting out the need to hire extra employees and eliminating human error, adding value to the bottom line.
In the long-run, the ROI of automating processes is far greater than the short-term cost to implement the solutions.
Create Better Customer Experiences
Menial processes are not a good use of employees’ time. They clog up true productivity. By automating them, your employees are empowered to focus on deepening the relationship with your customers. In the future, jobs that were once low skill will become higher in skill.
Humans are great, but they also have the tendency to slow things down when it comes to processes. With automated processes, your business can operate at an improved efficiency, helping to reduce the productivity gap.
No one wants to tackle boring areas of their job, so the temptation to ‘get it over and done with’ as quickly as possible is common. Machines don’t care which job they do, they will happily tackle the same, menial processes day in day out, forever. This means your business can maintain the same level of quality and consistency across your automated processes. The results are replicable every single time and your customers will always receive the same fantastic level of service.
Your customer experience will become more personalised, reduce its turnaround times and optimise processes in all departments; from finance, through to marketing.
Streamline your Business
Part of modernising the workplace is ensuring everything is seamlessly integrated. With business process automation, you can create experiences that are end-to-end perfect. Technology that integrates and works alongside your humans. It’s called the blended workforce where people and technology work together in harmony.
It’s about finding a solutions provider that will work with you to identify bottlenecks in processes and where your business could work better and faster with automation.
Make your Employees Lives Easier
Let’s face it, no one likes administrative tasks. We know to an extent this is part of every job, but there are so many that could easily be automated. Document reviews, budget approvals, report generation and distribution are all examples of tasks that employees do on a regular basis that could be automated.
Your employees will be free to focus on the stuff that really matters. Whilst everything else gets taken care of. Automation leads to better prioritisation of tasks, increased efficiency and bolsters employee motivation and engagement.
Workplace Modernisation is the Bigger Picture
The fact is, IDC research commissioned by Avaya in 2018 shows only 28% of organisations have integrated the customer experience with delivery and fulfilment functions well. Focusing on shiny, new customer facing technologies is all well and good, but let’s not forget the business processes that need to happen behind the scenes. If you don’t, you won’t end up with any better customer (or employee!) experience than you started with.
Workplace Modernisation is a business movement that looks at the bigger picture. You might have digital transformation projects going on that are about introducing self-serve technologies like Conversational AI, so it’s vital to focus on how you can get the most from this technology by teaming it up with automation.
Introducing, Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
It’s sometimes hard to know where to start with automation technologies. There are increasing amounts available. Start with the area your business would like to automate and then work out the technology details depending on what you’re trying to achieve. The trick is to pick a discreet business process that can be easily identified and results measured. Small is good, and a pilot could be set up in as little as 15 days. Use this pilot to extol the virtues of automation and get buy-in.
RPA is gaining in popularity for business automation, and for good reason. It’s got the power to automate the simplest processes, to the most complex. RPA refers to software programs that can eliminate or streamline tedious, repetitive or manual labour tasks.
According to a study conducted by Gartner in July 2019, “RPA is the fastest-growing software segment officially tracked by Gartner, with year-over-year growth of more than 63% in 2018”.
You could introduce RPA by starting with something very small and mundane, like automated meeting reminders. Then as you start to modernise further, turn your attention to something much bigger, like the automation of entire procurement processes, as one of the world’s largest construction companies did recently. Think about the impact of automating 20k+ transactions every month!
There’s products like Aizzi, that help you automate any business process with the help of ‘if this, then that’ rules with patterns and filters. Helping you to automate full on processes like order management and fulfilment and customer and supplier ticketing.
That’s Great, but Where Should I Start?
The problem with automation is, a lot of businesses don’t know where they should start, they get too caught up in the technology that should be used and deflect away from the business process. It’s important to first think about where you could automate and think about the technology you use second.
We’ve mustered up some examples below for specific business processes, but each example is completely relative to the processes you use within your business.
Example #1: Office Microservices
As we said, with automation, you could start with the really mundane. Booking meetings, ordering taxis for your clients, or more coffee to that Monday meeting, there’s no need for human intervention.
Using voice-first technology like Alexa, you simply express what you would like and the back-end automation will take care of all the rest.
This way of automation is transferrable to so many office processes and the first-touchpoint technology can easily be changed. Utilising a bot on a computer for example, instead of Amazon’s Alexa, or other voice-activated devices.
Example #2: Automated Pothole Reporting for Councils
Contact centres are often inundated with the same enquiry over and over again. Think about how much time your staff spend on dealing with these enquiries when they could be dealing with something that’s more important.
We work with a lot of councils, and pothole reporting is a common issue that comes into the contact centre, when it could be completely automated.
This method of automation is translatable to many other businesses in different industries. For Housing Associations for example for the logging of maintenance requests, or for concierge services in hotels, such as 'I need another towel', or a restaurant booking and automating requests to all the correct teams to action. The possibilities are endless!
Example #3: Order Management and Fulfilment
Some automation tools (like Aizzi) use a combination of AI, RPA and ‘if this, then that’ rules so that work can be prioritised easily, without the need for human intervention of course.
Key business transactions like order management and fulfilment can be completely taken away from humans, and given to a bot like Aizzi.
Using Aizzi, the order is processed with the rules to ensure that the customer receives their items all together. Aizzi coordinates the different suppliers perfectly!