Cloud-based applications, big data, mobile devices, and artificial intelligence are helping businesses succeed in this new era of the ‘digital enterprise’. But it’s not the technology alone that is key to success. Some businesses fail to realize technology is only the first step when it comes to a successful digital transformation.
True digital transformation comes down to improving the broader processes within the business. Business process automation is, therefore, one of the best ways to evolve processes and assist in a business’s digital transformation—particularly if it can occur in areas where automated processes can spread across the breadth of the business. In this post, we’re going to explore how.
Automation on the Line of Business
The cloud’s impact on digital transformation is well-realized—cloud technology connects us to our work and each other to get work done faster and in remote locations. But another key enabler of digital transformation is business process automation (BPA). Also known as business process management and workflow automation, business process automation removes manual, repetitive processes and gives that time back to workers so they can work on tasks of much higher value.
But lasting digital transformation requires the entire business to evolve their processes. That’s why business process automation can see wholesale success if it is done on the line of business (LOB). This allows everyone to take control of automating the flow of work, rather than waiting on IT staff.
So, anyone can create an automated process that improves the flow and/or efficiency of their work, and these can spread across the organization to other departments and workers. This domino effect can lead to the entire business encouraging and facilitating business process automation—helping transform the working culture of the business.
Examples of line of business processes include document review and approval or the management of contracts along the pipeline – processes that span sectors like finance, human resources, sales, customer service, and operations.
Line of business process automation can remove much of the highly manual back-and-forth that occurs in these processes, like workers exchanging an excessive number of emails or having to chases higher-ups for approval. Automation pushes documents through the workflow, notifying and reminding workers when their input is needed.
A pivotal difference from manual process is the ability to capture and track what is happening. With a manual process there is an approximation but with automation, there is objective and actionable data that can be used to identify issues and make impactful improvements. Line of business process automation can therefore significantly improve the productivity of workers, freeing them up to focus on more important, cognitive tasks.
Let’s look at an example of how business process automation may take place in the line of business:
Business Process Automation in Sales
Sales is an obvious example where line of business process automation can create real benefits to productivity. Members of sales teams often operate on the ‘front lines’, working outside the office to network and build relationships with potential customers.
Cloud computing allows technology to go with them out of the office—team members can take down information on new leads from their mobile devices. And an automated workflow logs this information and transfers it back to the CRM or ERP system of record, informing relevant members of the team.
In most companies, there are a lot of slow, highly inefficient manual processes connecting the front office to the back office. Automating this is a powerful improvement that not only helps the company but also improves business relationships as a result.
Automating the sales pipeline in this way improves the speed of information—sales workers can gather, document, access, and collaborate on information much quicker, with information stored in a centralized space (like their Salesforce CRM system, for example). This information flow connects front-of-office events with back-of-office events.
How Does This Enable Digital Transformation?
Cloud computing enables instant communication with one another; it enables around-the-clock access to work; it enables widescale collaboration. Most of all, it increases the flexibility and efficiency of business processes.
Business process automation is a similar revolution. The technology handles repetitive tasks to free up time. It removes an element of risk associated with human error and manual processes. Most importantly, it directly improves the efficiency, accuracy, and reliability of business processes.
A workflow platform like Nintex Workflow Cloud combines the transformative power of cloud computing and business process automation. Nintex Workflow Cloud is a cloud-first platform, removing much of the upfront setup and costs of a standard workflow platform. Cloud-based connectors integrate business process automation into cloud services and applications you use every day—from Dropbox to Salesforce to Slack.
Automate Along the Front Lines with Nintex Workflows
Line of business workers should be encouraged to automate their processes to speed up the flow of work. Enabling a faster more reliable way to get work done is ideal but in some cases workers don’t realize there is a better, more automated way. This offers more insight into what processes are taking up the most of their time, better enabling them to manage (and ultimately, save) their time.
Nintex Workflows allow business users to create simple, visual workflows that require no coding, meaning anyone can make efforts to improve the efficiency of their processes.
Interested in learning more about automating your business processes using the Nintex Workflow Platform? Contact us today!