During the launch of a startup, the creation of the product or a service takes up all company resources and when it reaches the growth stage, management teams start to pay more attention to automating internal process or workflow automation. By automating repetitive, time-consuming tasks, companies can significantly increase productivity, reduce costs, and enhance the working experience of the staff.
However, according to a report by Forrester, up to 22% of businesses still don’t use business process and workflow automation, leading to weak process excellence. According to a CMO Council study, poorly handled processes and workflows cause firms to lose up to a staggering $1 trillion annually.
Business process automation (BPA) plays a critical role in powering up companies, especially growth-stage startups. It helps increase customer satisfaction, grow revenue and sketch a way towards organizational growth and excellence. Let’s see how BPA is an easy, efficient approach to go down that road.
What is Business Process Automation (BPA)?
The term “business process automation” refers to the use of cutting-edge technology to complete business processes with the least amount of human involvement. A business process is an action—or a series of actions—used to carry out a particular organisational objective, such as creating a product, integrating new hires, or attracting new clients.
BPA uses several advanced technologies, such as automation tools, cloud platforms, and process intelligence capabilities. Furthermore, BPA capabilities are frequently employed behind the scenes of well-known enterprise applications like ERP software, human resource management systems, and other tools that uphold industry best practices.
Why is BPA critical for Startups?
Startups rely on its processes and the best way to handle all the processes is through business process management. All of your company’s actions take place as processes, which have an impact on numerous teams and people. Process management becomes a tool that can assist you in achieving your business objectives when you begin to take processes seriously.
Fewer mistakes are likely to be made when a company is small. However, when you consider scaling, it is always wise to move away from manual processing and shift gears towards automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Now, before you think about deploying business process automation, it is important to consider the following two factors:
- Which process should be automated first?
- Strategic ways to automate business processes
Which process should be automated first?
Though some procedures can be fully automated, some still require human intervention when making decisions. However, here are three business processes that companies, irrespective of their size, should automate first.
Automation of Sales/CRM
Every organisation requires a solid lead generation process. You take care of them, engage with them, learn about their preferences, identify issues, and then offer a solution that converts them into clients. Since this process calls for multiple players from your sales team and a number of hand-offs, it makes more sense when you automate this entire workflow.
Automation allows you to map the route and help your sales team guide prospects from one point to the next, ensuring no one is lost during this journey. The upshot, it empowers both the sales and marketing teams to generate more income.
Automating Ticketing Process
Support is critical to any business, especially for SMBs, because they have much to gain from their existing clientele, given their limited marketing budget and resources. It is crucial to set up an effective, pro-active and automated support system to deal with client questions, problems, and change requests.
Customers and employees are happier when the support process is smartly automated, the appropriate team is assigned to the case, gain regular status updates, and timely resolution is achieved.
Make your social media presence felt
If you’re using social media for your marketing efforts (you should be for all the good reasons!), automation helps you to increase your followers. Whether tweeting daily, creating weekly Facebook events or regularly pining your new products/services on Pinterest, automating social media activities is an easy and sensible way to stay in front of clients without bombarding them with emails.
Automating onboarding and HR practices
Did you know that onboarding is one of the hottest topics in automation, along with other HR practices? With startups, the onboarding is even more of a frenzy! The automation tools employed for HR are largely created to simplify the workflow and reduce unnecessary barriers to effective participation. All the essential paperwork, handbooks, and compliance checks that must be finished for each function can be loaded into automated software systems, which will be taken care of.
Automation solutions can automatically send e-learning training courses and engagement surveys to new hires throughout their first few months of employment. Though some human intervention is required, this business process automation definitely removes heavy lifting and makes your life much easier.
Strategic ways to automate business processes
While now you have some ideas about which processes you should automate first, here are some strategic ways to automate business processes.
- Identify functional areas of business operations
It is natural to get tempted to automate all the tasks and save enormous amounts of cost. The idea is not to replace humans entirely. You need to weigh the advantages of both artificial and human intelligence and strike a balance. Identify functional areas in your business that can be efficiently improved with automation. It could include your sales process, payables, customer support, inventory management, or any other business processes.
- Create SOPs
Any automation requires a clearly defined process with steps and actions to be taken in order to be completed. This is where Standard operating procedures (SOPs) come into the picture. SOPs outline the precise actions required to carry out and finish the duties associated with a function.
Try and prioritise SOPs as a quarterly objective across your organisation and establish a common “SOP time” for all your staff to take time to define how it goes with their jobs.
- Target repetitive tasks
Since you’ve already identified the functional areas of your company, you can now begin to identify repetitive and highly repetitive tasks in each department. At this juncture, you can consult the SOPs your employees have created and try to complete tasks according to SOPs. Then, interview your employees about their SOPs to validate the procedure and any potential repetitive duties.
You don’t need to invest millions in custom-coded AI software to automate business operations. Various workflow and BPA software are available to assist businesses in designing and automating business processes. However, BPA yields the best result when deployed by a professional who can look into finer things you might overlook.
If you are looking to deploy business process automation to your organisation, we at Blue Helion can help you strategise, implement, and guide you throughout the digital transformation journey. Our flexible and fit-for-purpose engagement models combined with strong expertise can help you drive business improvements across functions and industry segments.