The BPA Revolution: What Does It Mean for Your Business?
In the next few weeks, we will be hosting a live event to discuss the current revolution in Business Process Automation (BPA). The costs and complexity of BPA tooling and implementation are coming down. It’s becoming simpler and more cost effective than ever to model and automate business processes. Advances in process intelligence give you the insights to keep improving your BPA over the long term. At the same time, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to revolutionize BPA with Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
What does this mean for your business? The answer will be as unique as your business. However, we can share a number of insights and recommended practices gleaned from years of working with clients who wanted to make their businesses run better by means of BPA.
Thinking about your overall automation agenda
Process automation should (ideally) not exist as an isolated project. The best practice is to develop an overall automation agenda. This might mean, at the outset, automating very few processes. It’s better to automate selected processes well rather than to spread the process out too widely and miss opportunities for true business improvement.
BPA needs to align with business strategy. For example, if your strategy is to build customer loyalty through outstanding customer service, it’s essential to map out how BPA will further this goal. There might be places where automated processes speed up customer service and contribute to long-term loyalty. Alternatively, you may have processes that must remain high-touch and in-person. However, in that case, there might still be underlying processes—those that support the live customer support—where automation can make things go faster and smoother.
You could also look at BPA as a means to cut costs in operations, if that is part of your business strategy. Of course, cutting costs is part of everyone’s business strategy. Yet, indiscriminate cost cutting can reduce revenue growth if it leads to products and services that displease customers. The best practice is to map business processes that support strategies and use that knowledge to make decisions about automation.
Getting to meaningful BPA
Once you understand how BPA fits into your unique business strategy, what’s the best way to realize process automation in your company? We’ve found that it pays to focus on what we call the “process journey.” This involves modeling your processes using standard notations, a practice that keeps all stakeholders engaged and informed. We then work on collaborative development while keeping an eye on process governance.
Throughout, it’s helpful to differentiate between the system-first design of most software solutions and user-first approach to technology found in BPA. They are not the same, but they’re easy to confuse. BPA is all about the user experience. The architecture of the underlying software is of secondary importance. This insight leads to optimal processes.
Your BPA metrics will play a role in determining how well the automation is working. We recommend a method known as “process intelligence” to help you stay on top of BPA metrics. Process intelligence comprises Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), dashboards and analysis of advanced BPA metrics.
Looking ahead – AI and the promise of RPA
While we advise our clients to stay focused on the here and now when it comes to BPA, it is wise to keep an eye on what’s coming in the near future. AI is on the verge of changing BPA and its role in businesses. It’s not quite here yet, except perhaps in very large organizations, but RPA has the potential to be a game changer in BPA. By enabling machines to perform traditionally human “thinking” tasks like reading an email and extracting relevant, subjective information, RPA could have a major impact on the way we automate business processes. It pays to be prepared.
BPA is getting easier and less expensive to implement. Yet, the challenges of automation design and process analysis still require investments of time and brainpower. We can help you navigate the evolving BPA landscape.
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In the next few weeks, we will be hosting a live event to discuss the current revolution in Business Process Automation (BPA). The costs and complexity of BPA tooling and implementation are coming down.
What makes for effective collaboration? This is one of the most common—and important—questions we get asked by clients who are considering a collaboration solution.