As we enter 2023, the business landscape is becoming increasingly competitive. With ChatGPT and other AI tools poised to revolutionise the market, businesses are turning to Business Process Automation (BPA) to streamline processes and achieve more in less time.
In this article, we’ll examine BPA’s current trends and benefits that organisations may find out when implementing it. Furthermore, we’ll explore how automation can help propel companies into success in 2023 and beyond.
If you want to increase your organisation’s productivity and stay ahead of the competition, read on to discover the power of business process automation.
Business process automation (BPA) is using technology to automate business processes. It involves creating digital workflows triggered by certain events or conditions, allowing organisations to complete tasks more quickly and efficiently. BPA helps reduce costs, eliminate manual errors, increase customer satisfaction and improve overall productivity.
Many businesses have already implemented some form of BPA to streamline their operations and gain a competitive edge over their competitors. Statista said the global BPA market size was $12.7 billion in 2021. KBV Research, an independent market research firm, has forecasted the BPA market to reach $19.4 billion by 2026 with a 15.4% CAGR.
As we enter 2023, this trend is only expected to grow as more companies jump on board with the implementation of AI in business and automated solutions. Now, look at some of the processes you can automate and how they transform businesses.
Business process automation provides various benefits that could help businesses improve operations, increase efficiency and reduce costs.
- Improved efficiency: Automation eliminates manual processes and associated errors, resulting in faster task processing times.
- Reduced costs: Automation can help reduce labour costs by replacing manual processes with automated ones. It also removes the need for additional staff, software or hardware to complete specific tasks manually.
- Increased accuracy: As machines do not make mistakes, automating business processes eliminates human errors and ensures the accuracy of data entry and other operations. As a result, businesses find it easier to maintain compliance with different regulations and laws more quickly than if they had done it manually.
- Better customer experience: Automated systems can respond faster to customers’ queries, allowing businesses to provide better customer service.
- Continuous monitoring: Once you automate your processes, you can monitor them more closely and make adjustments in real-time to ensure they are running as smoothly as possible.
- Data-driven decision: Automating your processes also helps collect and analyse data more efficiently. This enables businesses to make better decisions based on accurate data rather than relying on manual methods and assumptions.
Business process automation can be applied to various processes, from marketing and customer service to finance and IT. Here are just some of the common tasks that you can automate in your business:
Invoicing is one of the most time-consuming tasks. Automating your invoices means you no longer have to create, send and track invoices manually. With automated invoice management, you can quickly generate an invoice in a few clicks and send it out immediately. You can also set up recurring payments for customers with regular orders or services.
Invoice automation also helps streamline your payroll management. HR managers spend hours manually entering employee salary details into the system every month. This can be a tedious and error-prone process. Automating your payroll allows you to set up recurring payments, easily manage employee shifts and attendance records, and quickly generate invoices for each pay period.
Many tasks are associated with the hiring process, from sourcing and screening candidates to onboarding new employees. Such tasks include
- Creating job postings
- Conducting background checks
- Sending out offers and contracts
- Setting up training sessions
BPA can help you automate these processes, making it easier to manage the hiring process. You can use automated tools to post job openings on different platforms, quickly screen candidates and set up onboarding programs for new hires. Automating your hiring process saves time and reduces paperwork. It also ensures compliance with legal requirements such as anti-discrimination laws.
Also, hiring process automation makes it easy for your business to ensure good employment practices like equal employment opportunities. It will send a strong message to potential candidates that your business is committed to diversity and inclusion.
Customer service is the lifeblood of any business. Automating your customer support process means you can provide faster and more efficient customer service. Customer support includes several tasks, such as:
- Answering customer queries and complaints
- Providing product or service information
- Updating customer records in the system
- Managing customer accounts
You can automate these tasks using a chatbot integrated with your website. Chatbots are AI-based systems that use natural language processing (NLP) to understand customers’ questions and provide them with accurate answers. Especially with the emergence of conversational AI platforms like ChatGPT and Google Bard, deploying and managing chatbots has become easier than ever.
You can now use your customer database to train AI models and generate automated responses. This helps you provide 24/7 customer service without hiring extra staff or investing in expensive software.
One of the business operations that AI can revolutionise, is sales and customer relationship management (CRM). AI-powered marketing solutions can automate several sales processes, such as lead generation, forecasting, customer segmentation and tracking.
AI-enabled predictive analytics can help you identify new opportunities in the market and tailor your products to meet customers’ needs. For example, using AI-based natural language processing (NLP), you can analyse customer reviews on your website or third-party websites to gain insights into their preferences.
You can also use AI tools to automate the lead-scoring process. By tracking customer interactions with your company, you can identify and prioritise leads that are more likely to convert. This helps you focus on high-value customers and save time on manual data entry tasks.
There are a few solid examples of AI-powered CRM automation in the market. Salesforce’s Einstein, for instance, is a powerful AI assistant that helps sales teams automate lead generation and customer segmentation tasks.
Some of the best CRM software that can help you automate sales and CRM tasks include:
- Zoho CRM
- Salesforce Customer 360
Social media and digital marketing are two of the most popular processes to automate. Automation can help you create, schedule and post content to your social media accounts quickly and efficiently. You can also set up automated campaigns on multiple platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
You can also use automation tools to track customer behaviour online and tailor your messages accordingly. This will help you provide a more personalised experience for each customer while increasing engagement with potential leads.
Expense management is an essential business process; BPA can help streamline it. By automating the expense reporting system, you can save time and money by eliminating manual data entry. This helps ensure expense tracking accuracy, reducing the risk of errors or fraud.
In addition, automated expense reports also give you more insight into your finances, allowing you to make better decisions regarding budgeting and cost-cutting measures. With computerised systems, you don’t have to worry about missing receipts or miscalculations as all the information is stored securely in one place.
Since the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, the supply chain has been one of the most impacted business areas globally. As a solution, more organisations rely on automated supply chain management processes.
Automating purchase and supply chain processes helps businesses reduce costs, streamline operations and ensure timely deliveries. You can continuously monitor inventory levels and order new stock when needed. This will help you forecast demand more accurately, improve customer satisfaction and reduce storage costs.
You can also automate vendor selection and evaluation processes, tracking supplier performance and creating purchase orders for goods. This ensures you get the best quality products at the lowest price from reliable vendors.
With the rapid rise of remote working and the availability of the global workforce, more and more businesses are now moving their data to the cloud. Automating the data storage and backup process helps organisations securely store their digital records, eliminating manual errors and duplication of tasks.
Data stored in the cloud is secure and accessible from any device with an internet connection. This allows employees to access data anytime, streamlining team collaboration and improving productivity. The automated process also ensures that all files are up-to-date without manual updates or backups.
It’s easy to get carried away with the idea of replacing human roles with artificial intelligence, but the reality is that automation is not about replacing employees altogether. Human intervention is still necessary, and robots won’t replace people anytime soon.
Once you decide to automate your business processes, you must identify the areas needing automation. A systematic step-by-step approach is essential to ensure the correct implementation of BPA. Here’s how you can get started.
To implement business process automation effectively, the first step is to identify functional areas within your organisation that could benefit from efficiency improvements.
This could involve various aspects of your business operations, such as sales teams, accounts payable, customer service, and inventory management. By analysing these areas, you can identify processes that are time-consuming or prone to errors, making them ideal candidates for automation.
You can use business mapping tools like Microsoft Visio to create a diagram illustrating how each department is connected. This helps provide an overall view of the organisation’s structure and also helps pinpoint areas where you could automate manual processes.
Once you have identified the areas of your business that could benefit from automation, prepare a standard operating procedure (SOP) for each process. This involves documenting all functions and tasks in detail so that you can automate them accurately.
The SOP should include everything from the initial task to when it is completed, including any manual steps or exceptions. It should also provide clear instructions on performing each step and explain why it needs to be done this way. The goal is to create an efficient workflow that eliminates errors and ensures tasks are completed on time with minimal effort.
Repetitive tasks are ideal candidates for automation. These processes take up a lot of time and require manual input. Examples include data entry, customer service inquiries, invoicing and marketing campaigns. Automating such processes can free employees to focus on more value-added activities and help them become more productive overall.
Once you identify each function within your business process, it’s time to filter the repetitive tasks from the non-repetitive ones. This will help you decide which operations must be automated and how they can be most effective.
Although it is technically possible to automate your entire business process altogether, focusing on the most critical areas is more practical and cost-effective. For instance, if you are running an eCommerce store, automating your product delivery process can help improve customer satisfaction and reduce costs.
On the other hand, automating your accounting processes may not be as impactful, but still beneficial enough to consider. You should rank each task based on its importance in cost savings and business efficiency before deciding which ones to automate first.
Finally, once you have identified the tasks and processes to automate, it’s time to choose the right tools and software. Many different automation solutions in the market can help you automate your business process quickly and efficiently.
For example, robotic process automation (RPA) is popular for automating repetitive manual tasks like data entry or customer service queries. AI-based conversational chatbots can provide automated customer support 24/7. Cloud computing solutions enable businesses to store data securely in the cloud, reducing costs associated with physical servers and other IT infrastructure.
As we look ahead to 2023 and beyond, we expect to see even more sophisticated solutions, such as machine learning and natural language processing, becoming commonplace in business processes. Integrating automation with emerging technologies like blockchain and IoT will create more efficient, interconnected workflows.
Despite these possibilities, organisations must plan strategically when deploying BPA solutions to ensure they meet their goals while managing potential challenges related to change management and maintenance.
If you’re a business owner in Dubai or the UAE, now is the time to take advantage of the many benefits of business process automation. Virtuzone can help you streamline your operations and achieve your business goals by identifying areas for automation and implementing tailored solutions. Contact Virtuzone today to learn more about how we can help you stay ahead of the competition with automation in business.