Every business has processes that could be made more efficient by process automation. While there’s no one-size-fits-all model (different businesses will use different processes) incorporating automation into the fabric of a business will deliver a clear ROI of between 40 to 75 percent. Why? Because digital process automation reduces manual intervention, which fast-tracks processes and minimizes human error.
Across business operations, such as employee onboarding, customer service, and invoice requests, process automation increases a business’ ability to scale without actually scaling (i.e. recruiting additional employees). The technology is there to streamline operations, reducing human input and freeing up valuable time for employees. Here we look at how to accomplish your business goals with an early-stage automation strategy.
What types of digital process automation are there?
The potential of automation spans industries, departments, and even multiple processes within the same department. Here are just a few use cases:
- Process automation for HR:
- Employee onboarding
- Payroll automation
- Leave requests
- Offer letter administration
- Automating customer service:
- Call-center and ticketing processes
- Customer surveys
- Process automation in marketing:
- Brand asset management
- Product launches
- Case study generation
- Process automation in finance:
- Payroll workflows
- Accounts receivable
- Invoice processing
Automation also covers processes in sales, procurement, and operations as well as across industries like hospitality, education, and manufacturing. The opportunities for automation are far-reaching, which leaves business leaders asking: which type of digital process automation should I use?
Which type of digital process automation should I use?
In short, the answer is as many as those which fit your business. Process automation is a time-saving and cost-cutting tool, so will produce a more dramatic ROI if used expansively across an organization. What is clear, and something we’ve seen across industries is that those organizations which adopt automation sooner will have a competitive edge over those that don’t.
It’s important, then, for businesses to start building an automation strategy, even if it means starting small. A little research is involved here. We advise creating a list of processes in your business which you think can be automated. At Nintex, we provide a library of automation use cases, which can be helpful for organizations starting their automation journey.
Building an automation strategy
Once you’ve identified the processes eligible for automation, think about which should be adapted as a priority. As a starting point, consider:
- Digitizing paper-based processes
If your business still uses paper-based processes, look at digitizing these first. Paper-based processes are slow to execute, costly for a business, take up storage space, and have become redundant in a remote work setting.
A common example of a process involving a lot of paperwork is employee onboarding, with multiple contracts and forms which all involve signature capture. Moving processes like this online fast-tracks new hires through the various steps and allows documents to be signed and stored in a seamless way.
- Implementing workflow templates
Any process which can be simplified with a workflow template is also a good starting point. Workflow templates provide a structure for workflows, breaking down complex processes into achievable steps. Workflows in which there are bottlenecks, input from stakeholders or multiple departments, or a large number of steps can be streamlined with a workflow template.
Vendor onboarding is a good example of this, with a high number of approval stages and documents passed between departments like finance, legal, and the executive suite. With a workflow template, the steps can be easily managed, and risks for error, delay or negligence minimized.
- Using process maps
Process maps improve visibility across a process. They use a diagrammatic form (a map) to capture the steps and decisions in any workflow. Process maps are great for processes that require a high level of transparency and accountability on tasks.
Purchase requests, for example, can be improved and streamlined with a process map. Purchase requests typically fall foul to problems like over-ordering, overpriced vendors, and delayed approval stages. With a mapping template, requests are routed through to the right assessor, minimizing delays in the process. The map also provides visibility across all order requests, flagging overspending on items and overpriced vendors.
Building an automation strategy is the first step
Refining processes by way of digital process automation is necessary for organizations to remain competitive. Building a successful automation strategy can be simple if you know where to start. An automation journey can begin with eliminating paper processes, implementing templates for complex workflows, and using process maps for improved visibility and accountability across tasks. Process automation empowers teams to do their best work; it’s all about taking that first step.
Need help building an automation strategy for your business? Simply want to chat? Contact the team at Nintex today.