Beginning a business on day 1 with the perfect business process in place is an impossible task. Though best practices approaches can provide a good framework, processes are often defined and redefined by trial and error, the passing of time and the introduction of new business theory and technologies. As you have experienced or can imagine, things can get a little messy in terms of manually constructed processes as a company progresses. Processes become complicated, visibility becomes increasingly critical, inaccuracies have greater impact and efficiencies become more difficult to achieve. Ready for the good news?
Whether you are in day 1 or day 1,000,001 of a business process, you have access to a range of increasingly intelligent, automated solutions that can solve some of your biggest process challenges.
Challenge 1: Scaling your process/processes with business growth and demand
Processes begin with a certain number of steps, a certain number of people and a certain set of related data resources. As businesses grow, processes become more complicated, people move in and out and the data resources used to move a process along inevitably change. Business process automation removes the physical and geographical boundaries manual processes often create. The existence of digital data allows for infinite storage and collaboration space. Additionally, it allows companies to create entire digital ecosystems to support processes that overlap into other business units or other businesses entirely.
Challenge 2: Providing comprehensive, controlled, dynamic transparency
Manual processes often mean that the only way to have insight into how well a process is (or is not) going is by tracking down the people involved in the stage of the process you are interested in. Waiting on a person to respond, finding out too late that something went wrong or finding out a process is stuck or abandoned means lost time, money, patience and business. Automated processes enable designated people or groups of people to be given instant, digital insight into all or parts of a process. These permissions not only can be changed on the fly to improve process efficiencies, but also protect privacy, ensure process integrity and assign direct ownership for each part of the process so information can be understood, clarified and acted upon quickly and without interruption.
Challenge 3: Ensuring accuracy
Because automated processes rely on the use of digital data, many accuracy issues involved in manual processes can be avoided. Information like a name or address only has to exist in a data repository once and can be dynamically extracted to complete any data field requiring it. Additionally, when an update to a single piece of data needs to be made (like a figure, phone number or legal verbiage), it can be made across all related documents at once. Reports and audits can also be run quickly (even in real-time) and more efficiently than manual processes allow. This not only is a more effective use of time and resources, but enables companies to “catch” discrepancies before they become real problems.
Challenge 4: Creating the most efficient workflow
Before the availability of automated solutions, business processes could only be mapped and remapped using physical processes like moving paper from one pile to another or working off of whiteboards, flowcharts and bulleted lists. Automated processes allow workflows to be created and recreated dynamically. Is the person who needs to approve the next step out on vacation? Sick today? Running late? Rules within automated processes can be preset or changed on the fly—subbing one signer for another, for example. Additionally, automated processes enable process participants to handle tasks from any geography—another office, on the road, or anywhere else they can access the business system. Workflow efficiency within automated processes can also be mathematically gauged and adjusted. For example, history of how much time it took a certain person to complete a task or how long a request sat in queue becomes extractable information that can be used to pinpoint and improve gaps in efficiency.
Today’s businesses rely heavily on the efficiency of their business processes to save time and money, improve the customer experience and ready themselves for what’s coming around the corner. More and more companies are recognizing that by leveraging the automated solutions available to them, they can do just that.
Find out how iDatix can help you solve your biggest process challenges through automation.