Types of Business Automation
Basic Automation – Basic automation takes up the automation of simple, rudimentary tasks that are time-consuming and labor-intensive. This type of automation used very little or no coding and basic automation tools to digitize repetitive tasks. These tools help eliminate errors and accelerate the pace of transactional work. Examples of basic automation are business process management (BPM) and robotic process automation (RPA).
Process automation – This type of business automation brings uniformity and transparency into business processes. Process automation requires dedicated software for automating steps in the process workflow. The use of process automation software increases productivity and efficiency and delivers useful business insights. Examples of process automation include process mining and workflow automation.
Advanced automation – Advanced automation combines human effort with the machine working into an integrated system. Multiple integrated systems are used across organizations to automate key processes. Advanced automation systems for complex processes require unstructured data coupled with machine learning, natural language processing, and analysis. This type of automation promotes knowledge management and decision support for specialized processes.
Intelligent automation – Intelligent automation is an automation system that is driven by artificial intelligence. Using AI enables machines to learn and make decisions based on situations that they have encountered and analyzed. An example of intelligent automation is the use of virtual assistants in customer service. These assistants enable smarter and quicker interactions between customers and human agents. Such interactions help in improving customer engagement and experience.
Enterprise-wide intelligent automation – Refers to the pervasive use of intelligent automation across the enterprise. This capability extends beyond the technologies in use to the breadth of their applications, which extends to the use of intelligent automation in transforming the way work is executed in the workplace.
BPA versus RPA versus BPM
We have discussed what business automation is all about, and the different types of business automation. To choose the one right for your business, you need to understand the difference between the types of automation. Business process automation or BPA is the automation umbrella that covers all types of business automation systems.
Robotic process automation (RPA) uses software to automate specific repetitive tasks. RPS is exclusively for mimicking repetitive steps that humans take, like copying and pasting data into a field. BPA tends to handle more complex tasks than RPA. Typically, the end user can train and deploy RPA bots without the need for development skills.
Most of the RPA solutions are easily installed pre-built software tools that run on top of existing systems without the need to connect to databases or access application programming interfaces (APIs). BPA solutions on the other hand are customized for a specific organization and integrated into data systems or connected to APIs. Both BPA and RPA can use AI and ML technologies to interpret unstructured data like images, emails, and audio files to provide a personalized user experience.
Business process management (BPM) is a collaboration between business and IT teams for modeling, analyzing, and optimizing end-to-end business processes, which helps businesses meet strategic goals. BPM is a continuous process that leads to improvement over time. The end goal of BPM and BPA is to improve tasks and processes that are repetitive, ongoing, and predictable. Both of them aim to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Although the end goal is the same for BPA and BPM, the methods to achieve the goals vary. BPM takes a wise view of the organization, while BPA aims at improving specific processes. When we apply BPA within a BPM practice, it can continuously track and improve process efficiencies. It is not always necessary that BPM and BPA should work together, both these systems can work as stand-alone initiatives that impact business productivity and efficiency positively.
Need for Business Automation
Automation of business processes has grown into a necessity from a good have. Automating business processes may be intimidating at first, but a well-planned and implemented process can increase your business efficiency and save time. Using business automation software like Cflow simplifies and streamlines the automation process. Irrespective of the BPA software you choose, the following advantages are provided for your business:
Saves time –
Automating repetitive, labor-intensive tasks frees up time for the employees so that they can focus on more important tasks.
Improve productivity –
Automated tasks run on their own set schedule, this means that employees need not worry about follow-ups or missed tasks.
Increases consistency –
Automation ensures that tasks are streamlined and run smoothly without any hiccups or missteps.
Minimizes human error –
A high level of human error causes many missed opportunities and errors in data updates. Automating data-based activities and labor-intensive, mundane tasks brings down the error margin and improves accuracy. The transactional errors committed by humans can be reduced via automation.
Empowers the workforce –
When mundane admin tasks are taken care of by business automation software, employees get time to focus on more strategic activities. Employees feel more valued when they work on meaningful tasks. Employee engagement and productivity improve considerably by automation.
Improves customer experience –
Automation streamlines business processes by removing redundant steps and ensuring optimal use of resources. Streamlined and standardized processes improve process outcomes, eventually the customer experience.
Understand customer behavior –
The right business automation software can provide an accurate read on the behavior of customers. Knowing customer behavior also helps predict which products might become in demand in the future. Businesses can ensure that they have enough inventory on-hand to meet customers’ demands.
Gathering business data –
The information collected from automated workflows helps refine customer interactions. Better customer interactions translate to more sales, improved customer satisfaction, and optimal usage of resources.
Components of Business Automation Software
The main focus of business automation software is to streamline and standardize business processes. The main components of business automation software are described below:
Intelligent rules engine – A workflow engine or a rules engine is the central component of the automation software. This is an application that runs with a business automation system that makes automated decisions based on preset rules. Rule-based decisions involve transitioning to a specific path, task, or action in a workflow decision. There are certain triggers that enable these automated decisions. For example, companies can establish workflows that execute functions like assigning a task to someone or saving a document to a specific folder.
Real-time analytics – Automation software measures and stores business metrics in a relational database. Reports and information can be displayed in real-time and scheduled for distribution when users need them. Visual reports and dashboards paint a complete picture of the process that users can easily access and share across the organization. The reports and dashboard can be used to follow team progress against Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and use business scoreboards to track the overall efficiency of business processes to drive improvements.
People – Even most automated business processes require human involvement and collaboration at various stages of the process workflow. While smart rules, bots, and intelligent tools can help make business workflows more efficient, people working on the process need tools that allow them to collaborate and find answers to critical questions.
Choosing the right Business Automation Software
Choosing the best business automation software requires careful consideration and evaluation of the features provided by the software. Over the past decade, automation platforms have seen explosive growth. While it is an established fact that automation helps improve business outcomes, the next question is to choose the right automation software. What are the key features that one should look for in business automation tools?
Some of the must-have features of automated business software are:
Easy to Use –
The software must have an easy-to-use interface that makes it easy for users to operate the automation tool. Complex user interfaces are an out of for users.
Cloud and on-prem support –
The automated business software must support both cloud and on-premise operations.
Cost-effective pricing –
The business automation software must provide complete value for the money invested in them.
The automation software must integrate seamlessly with other business systems for hassle-free data exchange.
The workflow automation software must be customizable for various business functions.
The software must be mobile-friendly so businesses can stay updated from anywhere at any time.