TMCnet Feature
March 12, 2020

Business process automation - why is it worth using?

Business process automation is the future of every business. It consists in automating specific processes implemented in the company, which is possible due to using relevant software and mechanisms. On the one hand, they allow automating simple, repetitive activities and on the other hand, leading and managing employees engaged in a given process with the so-called workflow, through paths and steps they should take and providing them with quick and easy access to up-to-date and complete information which they need to use at a given stage. What is business process automation and what advantages are related to its active use in everyday activity of companies?

Business process automation yesterday and today

In spite of appearances, the idea of business process automation is not a creation of contemporary times at all. It was, in fact, used for the first time in 1913 by Henry Ford (News - Alert), who used it to activate the first movable assembly line for mass production of his cars. Currently, the business process automation reminds of the activities conducted by entrepreneurs at the beginning of last century to a small extent; due to the development of modern technologies this device has, in fact, undergone a true transformation as a result of which it meets market requirements and expectations of contemporary companies even better.

The concept of business process automation refers to the regular automation of specific activities in the company, the performance of which is repetitive and basically does not require thinking for proper execution. Entrusting the performance thereof to software releases employees from the necessity to perform them manually and, as a result, diminishes the risk of an error, which is often made during performance of monotonous and repetitive activities and allows improving the functioning of every business.

High-class systems for business process automation allow not only automation of specific activities at the level of a given position and task, but also coordination of whole processes, enforcement of implementation of procedures and best practices, not only within the workstation, but also in broader terms – within cooperation of many employees, departments or branches of the company. The most advanced low-code platforms offer in-built task robotisation and automation tools (e.g. automatic recognition of the contents of documents and transferring recognised information to the form) and allow easy integration with typical RPA (Robotic Process Automation) tools.

What next? – New trends in business process automation

Hyperautomation and related IT democratisation are currently one of the most important technological trends. In search for productivity, nowadays we automate everything and without IT democratisation it will not be possible. Hyperautomation is an equivalent to robotisation of production lines in the area of servicing business processes. It strives to make processes, which can be automated, so that they do not take our time.  Furthermore, repetitiveness, correctness, control and auditability are also important. Therefore, Gartner (News - Alert) connects hyperautomation with the conception of the so-called digital twin – reflecting physical processes in the digital sphere. In practice, it means that we use more and more convenient applications and expect other applications supporting processes in which we participate. Here, organisations often encounter two types of restrictions: IT departments’ resources and availability of specialists, who can create and implement such solutions, and problems with implementing changes in traditional IT solutions, which are necessary, since otherwise, automation quickly becomes restrictive rather than supportive.

The solution to the first problem is IT democratisation. With no-code / low-code platform business processes can be automated by users understanding the workflow process and mechanisms, but not necessarily having the programming skills. These tools allow them to proactively participate in developing business applications and thus, improve communication between IT and business. Without such an innovative approach, it will be difficult for organisations to meet the challenge of hyperautomation.

The problem with effective change management occurs even in the most modern systems for business process automation, thus, while choosing among solutions of this class, it is worth paying special attention to, whether it ensures the possibility of introducing changes with virtually immediate results and accurate documentation.

Business process automation and the most important advantages related to the implementation thereof

Business process automation has a positive impact on the productivity of virtually every contemporary business. It primarily allows systematising particular tasks and state at the beginning which of those must be performed by people, since e.g. they require creativity and critical thinking, and which can be delegated to software without any issues. Many everyday activities performed by companies can, in fact, be successfully performed by software, which allows unburdening employees and direct their strength and activity to other areas, which are more useful from the point of view of the company’s development. As a result, employees can to a greater extent focus on tasks requiring their specialist competences, knowledge and accumulated experience and their work becomes more efficient, has better quality and is more satisfactory.

The invaluable aspect also consists in employees engaged in a given process being properly managed in the scope of steps they have to take; information they have to process, their activities in the so-called workflow are documented and later on it is easier to verify what has been done in a given process and by whom. Furthermore, equal access to information and guarantee that it will always be up-to-date for all process participants constitute a significant advantage for employees.

In many cases such process optimisation can directly translate into the company’s sales results, not mentioning the reduction of activity costs, especially in the current situation in the so-called employee market and deficit of specialists, as well as highly qualified experts in the majority of industries.

By definition, automation is to help companies to better organise their work and provide them with the possibility of focusing on activities which are the most important for them. Thus, it allows to easily save time by devoting it to the activities that have an actual impact on the company’s future. However, the aim of the automation is not to replace employees, but to unburden them from the overload of duties that can be successfully performed by machines. Therefore, business process automation has a positive impact on the overall of the company’s activity allowing elimination of the risk of errors, improvement of the customer service quality, improvement of work processes and decreasing expenses.

» More TMCnet Feature Articles


» More TMCnet Feature Articles