Business growth is quite different from business scaling. Growth refers to simply increasing the number of customers. Without proper efficiency, revenues resulting from business growth can easily be consumed corresponding incremental costs. Business scaling refers to positing or enabling the business to handle many more customers without significant increases in costs. Process automation is a great part of business scaling.
The technologies available today, including robotics, have made it possible to automate processes on a large scale. There is research to indicate the availability of large-scale automation opportunities without risking the jobs of most people. 95% of jobs cannot be totally automated. However, 30% of what 60% of employees do is repetitive and can be automated.
Any young business looking to scale must find and implement process automation opportunities across their business. Below, allow us to make the case.
Process Automation results in Lower Costs
Businesses cannot scale without attempting to lower their operational costs. Failure to implement proper measures to maintain costs at a reasonable level results in the company bleeding cash faster than revenue is coming in.
Technologies available today enable organizations to reduce labor-intensive costs such as call centers. Automating a good portion of customer-assistance through AI chat-bots reduces the number of calls coming into the call-center. In the long-run, it can free up significant amounts of cash for reinvestment into the business.
Process Automation Results in Faster Business Processes
Whenever a business is attempting to scale, it must consider how its processes stack up against the competition in terms of efficiency. In the case of an insurance company, how fast do they process claims? How quickly are queries answered?
Automating important part of business operations leads to faster and more accurate business processes. For instance, having claim forms available for clients to download, fill, and upload means that a claim is lodged without the client interacting physically with company employees. Similarly, when investigations are completed and outcome arrived at, they can be easily notified by an automated service.
The most important thing is to automate just enough to serve the client better without losing authentic empathy which is crucial in the service industry.
Process Automation brings Increased Flexibility
Scaling requires the business to be agile enough to respond to changes, opportunities, and challenges in a dynamic business environment. The business should be able to comfortably handle large new order requests, handle clients in different time zones, open and run operations in new markets simultaneously. All this becomes possible through automation and standardization of business processes.
Standardization and Quality Control
Process automation eliminates the risk of inconsistencies that arise from human error. Consistency, especially in services helps to carve out a brand image for a company, which is crucial when attempting to scale the business. Scaling businesses that are less reliant on manual repetitive tasks is also easier because less money goes to training. There is also less risk of producing poor quality products.
Process Automation enables Getting Insights from Data
The Internet of Things today means that businesses can collect useful data from virtually all electronic devices used in their operations. As such, more automation means more data being available. Businesses can get useful insight on how to train employees better, reduce costs, increase quality, and so forth.
For instance, taking certain client services online provides the opportunity to study how well the clients interact with your website. The data collected can help create a better user-interface to help them find services faster and more intuitively.
Document Management and Transparency
As a business grows as it scales, it needs to ensure the security and integrity of its documents. Improper checks in the documentation processes of the firm create opportunities for impropriety. Automation ensures that the organization stores documents in a secure manner. There is a clear chain of custody of records. It is possible the transaction that originated a document as well as any alterations made. Such transparency is important in building confidence in stakeholders.
Further, a good automation software provides a dashboard that helps to track all the company’s processes in one screen. A manager can se what orders have been made, how they are being executed, any delays, and so on. It serves for greater accountability among the staff members.
Picking the Right Business Process Automation (BPA) Software
While the benefits of process automation are quite clear, picking the right software can present a challenge. With so many vendors making business productivity software, business managers may be unsure about which one to pick. The right vendor will be the one who is willing to customize the product to suit your exact business needs. They should also have a proven track record of helping clients automate business processes successfully.
Additionally, the BPA software may be made of different bots, each meant to fulfill a certain purpose. All these require different cyber security protocols, maintenance, and frequent updates. The vendor ought to be willing to disclose how they will help you through all this your business scales.
Business Process Automation Technologies
Robotic process automation or the use of bots can help automate routine tasks without altering an organizations core IT technology. Bots can perform simple tasks such as data collection from customers or extracting information from files.
Besides bots, process automation is also possible through natural language processing. This technology unlocks the interaction between human language (written or spoken) with computers. NLP has been changed customer service greatly because it is possible to serve customers in call centers using bots. Only when the bot cannot address the issue at hand that the call goes through to a human assistant. The same goes for chat-bots on business websites. The bot attempts to resolve or answer questions before lodging them to the help center.
In addition, businesses should be looking for opportunities to leverage machine learning and analytics throughout their workflow. Machine learning enables the automation of menial tasks while making it possible to collect data to draw useful insights. Further, it can be used to create predictive models to make important managerial decisions. Predictive analytics can help manage costs better and react to business changes more effectively.