According to Wikipedia, Business Process Automation (BPA) is “the strategy a business uses to automate processes in order to contain costs. It consists of integrating applications, restructuring labor resources and using software applications throughout the organization.”
BPA, as you can see, is a broad definition and sounds like a massive undertaking. Yet companies successfully complete “BPA projects” – knowingly or unknowingly – all the time.
Examples of simple BPA projects include:
- Accepting orders via online form (replacing the use of a fax machine or order clerk answering the phone)
- Replacing monthly sales reports created manually in Excel with automated reports and dashboards created by CRM software like Salesforce
- Using Mail Merge to deliver customized marketing materials to customers and prospects
On the other extreme are highly sophisticated BPA tools that have completely automated an entire industry – Netflix being a prime case study. Netflix was a game changer that radically altered the movie distribution landscape and generated billions in revenues for the company.
Not every BPA tool or process in your business will have results like Netflix. But you can expect well designed ones to have an ROI of 100% or more within a year.
Here are three other examples of processes that typically have a very high ROI:
- Accounts Payable Process – Converting a paper and labor intensive process with a digital workflow. This process typically involves scanning of the invoices at the moment of receipt, capturing enough information from the invoice to ensure proper routing to the responsible party. The end result of this process is that invoices are in the system faster and discounts can be taken, invoices don’t get lost or incur late payments, invoices are now digital and easily searchable.
- Contract management – Many companies use a contract management system to manage the critical dates and compliance issues for each customer contract. These systems can be a simple database of the critical dates all the way to a full workflow from initial contact creation with the prospect all the way to final execution of the contract. Many contract management systems will now incorporate digital signature capabilities, templates for new agreements and even clause libraries for very sophisticated contract creation and delivery.
- Vendor Onboarding – Every company has vendors and many larger companies have thousands if not tens of thousands of vendors. With so many new financial regulations and industry regulations it is now almost impossible for a large company to not have an onboarding process in place. These systems ensure that all required documents are collected, government mandates for minority or special class hiring are met and optimally the most qualified vendor is hired. Achieving compliance in this global business world is almost impossible with a paper based process.
Talk to Millennia. Tell us about your most cumbersome, paper-intensive, human capital consuming processes. We’ll bring our best ideas and technologies to help you turn those high risk, high cost situations into productivity and cash.