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What is business process automation?

What is business process automation (BPA)?

Business process automation (BPA) is the use of technology to automate business workflows that would otherwise require manual processing. As organisations work toward becoming digitally mature, BPA has an increasingly important role to play.

BPA and robotic process automation (RPA): What’s the difference?

The main difference between BPA and RPA is that BPA handles complex tasks, while RPA handles specific repeatable tasks, such as copying and pasting data from one system to another.

RPA bots run on top of existing systems imitating the clicks and keystrokes of users. So, while it’s significantly quicker and more reliable for a bot to perform this work than a person, it’s not as efficient as real-time data exchange using application programming interfaces (APIs) or other integration methods. 

In essence, RPA bots speed up old ways of working, whereas with BPA businesses can re-design and optimise processes and then use integrated technology to achieve the best results. There are many use cases for BPA across all business workflows – accounting and tax, finance, employees, customers, projects and suppliers.

Is your business ready for automation?

In 2020 the World Economic Forum noted 80% of businesses are adopting business process automation tools. In recent years this trend has only accelerated. Nearly every organisation can benefit from BPA if they have established, routine processes that they can attribute “if this, then that” rules to. However, a business’ digital readiness has a lot to do with its people being open to new ways of working and not seeing automation as a threat to their roles.  

How BPA can help your business

Here are some of the key ways that automating business processes can generate better business outcomes:

Increase accuracy and throughput

Organisations using a business process automation solution see a significant increase in accuracy and throughput by removing human error and accelerating processing times. 

Reduce costs

With more than half of small business operators reporting they expect a recession by the end of 2023,  doing more with less will be a top concern for many small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Running more efficiently helps to reduce costs, freeing up money for revenue-generating activities. 

Save time

Automating complex tasks like order tracking and fulfilment frees up time for employees to work on tasks that require more critical thinking or creativity. 

Improve productivity and resiliency

Automation provides resilience by helping companies remain productive, even when turnover is high or staffing levels are inconsistent. For example, manufacturers can use automated artificial intelligence (AI) to augment quality control processes.

Scale rapidly

The ability to scale rapidly, often without notice, is crucial for many industries. During the pandemic’s early days, when online shopping spiked rapidly, the ecommerce platforms that automated most of their business processes could better handle the increased volume.

Improve compliance

Business process automation can also simplify many facets of regulatory compliance, such as by storing data safely electronically, generating regulatory reports as required, and logging an audit trail of system and user actions to provide real visibility of business activities. 

4 ways to maximise your business process automation

1. Choose a business automation solution that fits your needs.

A business management platform enables you to integrate and automate your workflows, tasks and processes and scale your software as your business grows and your needs change. 

2. Standardise your processes.

BPA is all about optimising efficiency, so you need to have standardised business processes in place before beginning an automation project. While business management solutions are configurable to your needs, in some circumstances you may want to change your processes to fit the best practice that’s built into the system. 

3. Create clear goals for automation.

Identify your most critical workflows so you can prioritise the areas where automation will have the biggest impact. For example, most businesses may want to automate processes in the following workflows – finance, accounting and tax, customers, suppliers, projects and employees.

4. Identify areas for improvement and establish metrics.

Once you have identified goals, you can establish performance metrics for improvement. 

Then you can analyse these metrics to improve processes continuously. For example, you can monitor leading and lagging metrics to assess the impact of automation and identify additional workflows where automation could help. 

Automate your business processes with MYOB

MYOB is a business management platform that allows you to digitise and automate your business processes across all your key workflows – your customers, employees, projects, supply chain, finance, accounting and tax.

With MYOB you can leverage the power of technology to become more efficient and productive, while gaining visibility and insights into all areas of your business’ operations and performance. Only pay for what you need today and scale your platform as your needs change tomorrow. Be future-ready with MYOB.

Try FREE for 30 days.

Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is of a general nature and does not consider your personal situation. It does not constitute legal, financial, or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as a statement of law, policy or advice. You should consider whether this information is appropriate to your needs and, if necessary, seek independent advice. This information is only accurate at the time of publication. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information contained on this webpage, MYOB disclaims, to the extent permitted by law, all liability for the information contained on this webpage or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

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