Companies today are doing everything they can to find new operational efficiencies and boost the bottom line. In particular they are looking to reduce the amount of labor needed to carry out basic, routine processes – only without impacting customer service.
As a result, many organizations are adopting business process automation software. In general, this is software that is used to automate certain “people-centric” business processes – such as the on-boarding of employees in a human resources department; the registering of students in a college registration office; or the processing of auto loans through a bank. These are processes that are relatively simple to automate – yet they still require human oversight, and in many cases, human interaction. The goal of most BPA solutions, therefore, is not to take the “human” out of the process, but rather to streamline and speed the process via software and systems.
The challenge for organizations seeking to automate specific processes is determining first whether or not they are worth automating, in terms of both cost and complexity; what the impact of automating them will be on the employees using them, as well as the rest of the organization; and, last but not least, which BPA solution to choose to automate a particular process or set of processes.
To help organizations make these important decisions, Interactive Intelligence (News
) -- which is expected to announce the launch of its new BPA solution, Interaction Process Automation
, any day now -- recently released a white paper “A Practical Guide to Automating Key Business Processes,” outlining five key considerations when planning a BPA initiative. The five considerations include:
1. Defining and aligning clear business objectives
2. Involving the right people
3. Automating the right processes
4. Using the right technology
5. Supporting “quick win” as well as continuous improvement initiatives
As the white paper points out, selecting the right BPA technology should be the last part of the overall process. Otherwise organizations are putting the cart before the horse. Companies must first determine whether or not BPA will truly help them carry out their business objectives effectively and affordably. Then they must determine how implementing a BPA solution might affect the employees who will be using such a solution – and how automating a process might affect employees in other, related departments. They must also carefully decide which processes are cost-effective to automate: There can be a wide range of factors that can change or “shape” how a process is carried out over time. If the process is expected to change in the months or years to come, will it still be feasible to automate it, using software, once those changes take place?