While the stagnating economy has done few favors for most businesses lately, it has been a bit of a blessing in disguise: it has forced companies to improve their processes and operations to boost efficiency and save money. Hiring may be frozen or slowed to a trickle, but many companies are finding they can do more with fewer employees by using business process automation (BPA) solutions to uncover efficiencies.
Business process automation isn’t a new concept of course: it has been used for years in customer-facing functions such as the contact center. Analysts and experts are recommending that companies consider using BPA for less obvious functions, writes Interactive Intelligence’s (News - Alert) Patrick Patton in a recent blog post.
“One example that comes to mind is the human resources (HR) department,” writes Patton (News - Alert). “Most HR departments have defined, repeatable processes, such as employee onboarding, employee separation, and employee moves. These are ideal for automation and can lead to significant improvements of cycle times for employee recruiting and onboarding.”
Another area of opportunity, says Patton is any type of approval process. (And most companies have many of them.) These approvals may waste a lot of time: papers and folders bounce through the office for approvals or signatures (either physically or via e-mail), occasionally getting lost and delaying processes and projects.
“By automating these types of internal processes,” writes Patton, “companies can increase visibility and improve tracking, which in turn can reduce the amount of time needed to receive an approval.”
Other projects that can benefit from business process automation include facilities service requests for office moves, IT/telephony – moves, add/change requests for telephone or IT services, legal documents, collaboration materials for marketing, QA processes, complaints and project management.
While “making more with less” is not a new concept, most companies find there is only so far they can go with manual processes. Recovering time and effort using BPA can help companies take the pressure off overworked employees and save a bit of cash at the same time.
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