Re: Business Process Automation Special Report

    By: R. Jeffrey Moore  

Business Process Automation, What exactly is it? How does it work? Can it be applied to my business? These are some of the questions you might be asking yourself. The truth is, automating processes is fairly simple in most cases and can be done quickly for little cost compared to the cost savings and benefits. The ROI (Return on Investment) gains are almost instant. Most business processes and functions can be automated using software. This streamlines the flow of the business, reduces workloads, lowers expenses, improves information, improves management of supplies or services and adds to the bottom line profits of companies. All the executives we have spoken with who have deployed automation software in their businesses wondered why they waited so long and wish they had done it sooner. This special report examines some of the real business benefits that can be realized through process automation.

The Business Case for Automated Processes. Today’s economic reality is that of increased competition, better informed and demanding customers, more government compliance and relentless pressure to cut costs. Companies are being asked to do more with less. Improving processes has become a top priority for all types of businesses. A recent survey of over a 1,000 COO’s by Gartner Executive Programs revealed that the top business priority of their companies was business process improvement. Of course, there are many ways to improve process, but implementing process automation technology offers significant opportunities for gains in efficiency, compliance, and numerous other benefits. With pressure to keep costs down, improve performance and service delivery, companies are looking for solutions that automate processes, standardize best practices, and improve efficiency. Businesses over the past decade have devoted increasing attention to business processes, their improvement, and their automation. This interest grows out of the need to streamline operations, consolidate organizations, and reduce costs. The design and automation of business processes has created its own field of study, known as business process management (BPM) or (BPA) Business Process Automation. BPM/BPA has emerged as a critical cross-discipline control and process enabler, and is responsible for ensuring consistency in planning and performance while reducing costs across the entire organization.

Why Automate Processes? Better processes produce lower costs, motivated employees, and create happier customers. This starts with examining how work is accomplished, documenting current processes, and then improving those processes. However, simply documenting your processes and relying on manual process implementation does not give your business managers real control over the process. Gartner indicates that automating processes without process redesign, but by simply “making the current-state handoffs, timing, and responsibilities explicit, productivity improvements of more than 12 % are normally realized.” Of course, this is just the beginning, as a basic tenant of process automation is its ability to facilitate process improvement. Continuous improvement is at the heart of process automation. The ability to have the information with which to continuously improve processes and gain incremental Return on Investment (ROI) on a consistent basis is a major benefit of automation. The real benefit of process automation to management is the visibility and control of the business processes that are achieved. Process automation can activate the process; orchestrate the people, data, and documents involved in the process; and give managers visibility into how the process is operating, where the bottlenecks might be, and highlight possible improvements. Process automation systems can capture and collect critical key performance indicators and make that data available to facilitate optimization of the process. The captured data allows business managers to optimize the process and feed improvements back into the system automation, thus driving maximum performance and efficiency across the organization.

The Benefits of Process Automation. There are many benefits to process automation. Some processes span systems, departments, or even external business partners. Manual effort, poor hand-offs between departments or partners, and the general inability to monitor overall progress results is a significant waste for most processes. Process automation eliminates or significantly reduces these problems along with a reduction in labor hours, time span, and increased throughput and Increased Productivity. By automating processes that are currently being implemented manually, individuals can work more efficiently and can take on new or additional workloads. Process automation allows us to do more with less. You also create Shorter Cycle Times. Time is money. By automating processes, they are kept moving, hand-offs are seamless, consistency is assured, and cycle times to complete the process are shortened. Getting the product or service to the end user or to market quicker with less cost will result in significant financial benefits. In addition Consistent Process Implementation is assured. Consistency comes from having a documented process that is understood and followed every time. Process automation makes the process easy to understand and enforces adherence to the process steps and time lines. This eliminates missed steps and mistakes often found in manual processes, resulting in consistent, reliable measures that assist in making decisions and implementing process improvements.

One of the main benefits of automation is Corporate Governance and Compliance. Process compliance, regulatory compliance, and corporate governance are ever increasing in importance. Organizations must demonstrate consistency and show that effective controls and business monitors are in place to ensure processes are sound and will provide financial accountability, visibility, and reduce risk and fraud. Process automation can help your company with compliance issues
surrounding regulations like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Combined Code for Corporate Governance, Bilanz Reform, HIPAA, ISO and more. Noncompliance or lack of adequate controls can cost your company big-time. Process automation ensures your processes are followed as they are laid out. Also having the Ability to Quickly Implement Change is a another benefit of automated process that the reliable, consistent information provided can enable management to recognize the need for change or improvement quickly and implement changes into effect in a faster and more controlled manner than you could with a manual process. The ability to change quickly provides an important business advantage and Improved Customer Service and Satisfaction. Customers are much more satisfied when they receive timely, top quality products and services. Process automation enables you to build consistency into your products and services, facilitate continuous improvement, and get the product or service to your market faster and for less cost creating Happy Clients who are Repeat Clients.

Summary Conclusion. In today’s competitive business environment where we are asked to cut costs and do more with less, process improvement and automation is essential to staying alive and meeting our strategic objectives. Process automation can facilitate process implementation and improvement, provide consistency in execution, ensure compliance, and allow us to change in response to rapidly changing conditions and demands. A good automation system will provide an easy way to automate processes, coordinate tasks, and move data between process-players. It will also provide the flexibility and agility to support an ever changing environment. Are you ready to get and stay ahead of the competition, move your company to the next level of performance, you owe it to yourself to “investigate process automation “.

To contact the author:   R.
Jeffrey Moore
Executive Partner
Avery Partners, LLC

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