What is Business Process Automation?
It is the software enabled automation of a set of activities to accomplish a specific function or workflow. Automation can be achieved in almost all segments of a business process, right from HR to sales, management, operations and Information Technology.
To illustrate, consider a case when a new employee joins your organization. There is a basic workflow a candidate goes through before she is inducted into the company. It starts with filling in an application with basic details like address, emergency contact and so on, providing access credentials to get an ID card, seat allocation, Payroll inclusions and the list goes on and on. Each of the above process may be a separate workflow with its own set of approvals from people in different departments. Head spinning, right? Is it really possible to manage efficiently with spreadsheets? No would be the answer.
Here comes the role of office automation software which help track the workflows in quick and easy steps. It helps you streamline communication. You might receive hundreds of approval emails per day. You will also have several requests for which you will require approval from people belonging to different departments. How good will that be if you could handle all this just by the click of few links in your automated s/w application? Definitely that is what I would call a boon.
When communication is streamlined, the accountability factor becomes transparent. There will be no question of missing approvals and losing information.
Workflow automation will minimize human errors and improve business process efficiency. Dashboard is an inevitable feature of every automation software which gives you all requests, incoming, outgoing and the different stages that they are in.
Now that the why’s of office automation are clear, the next logical question would be on what can be done with all the data that you have accumulated over a period? You could do a trend analysis, understand the bottlenecks of your business and improve your assignments and efficiency. This is where the role of BIG DATA comes into action.(Give link to our earlier blog – Section “ Using BIG DATA in HR Management)”.
Your HR department could automate their processes, analyse the trends and apply this data-driven approach to the unpredictable business of human interactions.
With all the above said how are you going to implement office automation and what are the essential features that you should look out for when you select your business process automation software?
I have listed here below some of the core features that you must have in your automation software –
- Flexibility of workflow design that suits your office operations should be an important factor considered.
- Access privileges to different users along the workflow operations are a must.
- Switch to cloud should be the motto. You should be able to access and approve workflows on the go, anywhere, anytime.
- Your newly adopted workflow automation software should have the ability to be integrated with your already existing office solutions, so that you have access via one application.
- Re-assigning users/approvers is a feature that you must look out for in your software, else the workflow will be stuck in midway in certain unavoidable situations.
- Reports are a must as the whole purpose of automating is to understand your business performance better. A graphical representation of accumulated data might be an added feature to visually catch both the positives and bottlenecks of your business.
- Look out for a software that has pre-filled forms as workflow is all about time and improving productivity.
Is there any other feature that you would look out for in an automation software? Feel free to share in the comments section below.
You might also want to check our product cflow the simplest workflow software to automate your business.