Due to the down economy, businesses today are desperate to find new ways to “do more with less.” As a result, many businesses are looking at “business process automation” (BPA), which is basically using software to automate certain routine business processes, in real-time, in order to achieve new efficiencies, boost employee productivity and improve accountability.
The on-boarding of employees, the processing of loan applications, or the approval of order invoices are just a few examples of the types of “people-centric” processes that companies are increasingly seeking to automate. Bear in mind that it’s not so much that organizations are looking to do away with their precious knowledge workers – it’s more that they are seeking ways to improve and simplify the processes those workers use, in order to boost productivity, as well to gain increased transparency into those processes.
The challenge lies in the fact that every company has its own method for carrying out specific processes – perhaps more importantly each uses a different mix of software and back office systems to carry out those functions. This makes it challenging for software vendors to create “one-size-fits-all” BPA solutions that can be applied across a broad range of verticals, industries and specific business disciplines. Therefore most vendors have to develop solutions that are industry- or process-specific – and even then they might not be able to address every organization’s needs.
What’s more there has been an influx of new entrants in the BPA software market in the past few years, and new ones are showing up practically every month, making it increasingly difficult for businesses to select the BPA solution that best meets their needs. There are, however, certain questions that should be answered before any business proceeds with a BPA initiative – not the least of which is whether or not a specific process should be automated in the first place.
To help organizations determine whether BPA is right for certain processes, as well as which solutions will best meet their needs for those processes, contact center, corporate telephony and BPA solutions provider Interactive Intelligence recently released a white paper entitled “Top 5 Considerations for Automating Key Business Processes.”
The five considerations, which are explored in detail in the white paper, include:
--Defining and aligning clear business objectives
--Involving the right people
--Automating the right processes
--Using the right technology
--Supporting “quick win” as well as continuous improvement initiatives
“Defining and aligning clear business objectives,” for example, is critically important for ensuring that a BPA technology investment delivers real ROI.
“Involving the right people,” particularly the end users, is important so that an organization gets proper input on the process details – including end-users’ perspectives on a potential solution’s ease-of-use. This is critical in order to facilitate employee adoption of the solution.
“Automating the right processes” is also essential, as finding a “good fit” between a particular process and a particular solution ensures that there are identifiable efficiency gains that can generate quantifiable value.
“Using the right technology” is also of extreme importance: A BPA solution should support all of the above considerations, providing demonstrable ways to meet business objectives; offering ease-of-use for business and IT collaborators and end users participating in the process; and providing an environment that supports the automation of people-centric processes with near-term ROI.
To download a free copy of this informative white paper, click here.
Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert) announced in June that it is developing a new BPA solution, dubbed Interaction Process Automation (IPA), scheduled for release in Q4. The new offering -- a module that plugs into Interactive Intelligence's CIC platform -- facilitates what the company calls “communications-based process automation” (CBPA). Basically it enables companies to use the multimedia routing and presence capabilities of its CIC platform as a framework for carrying out routine, daily business processes. The new offering will include support for documents in a wide range of formats -- in addition to the multimedia contacts (phone, email, IM, conferencing, etc.) the platform supports currently.
Patrick Barnard is a contributing writer for TMCnet. To read more of Patrick’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard