Since 2010, process automation has been a top concept on the yearly list of tech trends that are likely to transform the business space. Thanks to recent advancements in advanced operational automation tools, organizations worldwide are starting to see the importance of making a move towards automation.
According to a recent report by McKinsey & Co., up to 66% of business leaders adopted automated solutions for at least one business process in their organization in the year 2020. This is a significant increase from 57% observed in 2018.
Undoubtedly, process automation is gearing up to be valuable for businesses and can be pivotal in their quest to stand out amidst the competition.
What exactly does this mean for you, and how can process automation give your company an edge over the competition in your industry?
Why Process Automation?Various tasks and processes within an organization could use automation. As long as a process involves clearly defined and repeatable steps, it can be automated. This means automation can be applied to most paper-based processes that do not require any complex logical reasoning in your organization.
Why is this necessary, you might wonder?
Process automation involves using technology to replace human intervention in doing repetitive and time-consuming tasks carried out in an organization. The main goal of automation is to shift the responsibility of completing these high-volume tasks from humans to software tools.
Process automation minimizes manual efforts, reduces errors, is cost-efficient, and saves time and resources to focus on more valuable tasks.
Benefits of Process AutomationOne common misconception about process automation is that it aims to remove humans from the picture entirely. However, machines won't take your jobs like the famous quip seems to suggest. Automation could be your ace-card to edge out your competition by increasing your team's productivity. Here are some of the benefits of adopting process automation for your organization:
- Automation saves time Perhaps the most crucial benefit of automating processes is to save time. According to one study, office workers spend more than 2 hours daily on repetitive admin tasks such as document processing, approvals, and information searches. Such valuable time can be invested in other productive duties if only they can be freed up with automation. Automated software will help them complete these tasks faster and increase work-time more effectiveness.
- Automation saves resources Automation helps businesses conserve resources, and we're not just talking about the cost of paper here. More than anything, automation frees up your organization's most valuable asset- that is, people. With repetitive and redundant tasks set on auto-mode, your staff can focus more on result-yielding tasks and drive actual productivity.
- Automation makes processes more efficient With automated processes, you'll get the best outcome with minimal effort. It allows you to set a predetermined set of steps for every process, leaving less room for error that may affect the outcome. Teams can communicate effectively, are better managed, and their quality of work is increased.
- Automation standardize processes Most processes within an organization often involve employees across various teams and departments. Consequently, manual processes are often chaotic and messy. Even in instances where there are clearly defined rules of engagement, the margin for error is still quite wide.
Something as simple as automating calls, notes, and emails as a means of passing information with software tools can help your team do more in less time. Providing a dashboard where everyone can track task progress in real-time will make collaboration easier, boost accountability and help teams meet deadlines.
Operations are more effective when they're standardized with automated tools. You can create a consistent workflow with each step being implemented systematically to achieve the desired outcome. Even though there may be slight variations in process implementation, with automation, no document is lost in transit and no step is missed.
ROI (Cost Impact of Process Automation)Redundancy, inaccuracies, and complacency are a few of the ills that plague workplaces that are still stuck in their old ways. There are strong reasons to believe that process automation positively impacts cost and guarantees better returns on investment.
Aside from the most apparent impact on the cost of labor (which can be reduced significantly by eliminating redundancy), businesses that automate processes will also see a reduction in operational inefficiency. This has been known to cost organizations up to 20 to 30% of their yearly revenue.
Adopting process automation will minimize errors, saving time and money in the long run. When mistakes occur, money is wasted on finding and fixing them. In some cases, the impact of the error may have a long-term effect on the business. Failing to respond to a customer refund request, for instance (because the ticket slipped through the cracks), can have a considerable impact in the long run. One tweet from the dissatisfied customer will cost the business more than just the refund cost. That's a loss in both present and future revenue.
Avoiding errors like this through automation is better than trying to correct them after they have occurred - after all, "prevention is more cost-effective than finding a cure". In summary, automating processes will drive operating costs down and potentially increase overall profit.
A Real-life Case Study - How Automating Employee Onboarding Can Give You a Competitive EdgeIn most organizations, the onboarding process for new employees comprises monotonous steps that make the entire process overly complicated and ineffective. New employees often find it challenging to get up to speed quickly, which can affect performance.
When the HR team at Gnomy (a Software as a Service company in the gardening industry) discovered this, they set out on a quest to automate their onboarding process. They wanted to eliminate the tons of inconsistent and disjointed paperwork that makes it difficult for new employees to get up to speed with their daily tasks.
By ditching the manual process for a dedicated HR onboarding automated software, the team could collect employee information faster, deliver onboarding material automatically, authenticate employee ID and complete the other HR processes as quickly as possible. Employee contracts can be sent automatically and signed digitally without delay.
By implementing these changes, the Gnomy HR team reduced onboarding time by 76% while saving up to 30% in costs. Now they're looking at implementing HR automation for other HR processes across the organization as well.