Automating business processes can have several benefits for businesses including minimising errors and inefficiencies, streamlining communications, increasing accountability and compliance and establishing a clear approval hierarchy.
Andy Neumann, managing director, OBS said: “While automation is a growing trend, many companies still don’t understand how to make the best of their automation opportunities or which areas of the business can best benefit.”
OBS has identified five processes businesses can easily automate to achieve efficiency savings:
1. Document And Records Management
With the introduction of new privacy laws and an increasing focus on data protection, it is vital that businesses have the right processes in place to remain compliant. An automated document and records management system improves governance and accountability around business documentation and reduces the risk of data loss or duplication. IT costs are reduced through consolidating existing platforms. This also means information is more easily accessible, improving productivity and efficiency.
Businesses should also consider a form and workflow system. By replacing paper forms with electronic forms and workflow approvals, organisations can reduce costs and improve productivity as well as increase overall agility.
2. Claims/Booking/Invoice Management
Most companies involve teams of people in capturing, processing and entering invoices. While many companies have automated some of the invoice process, there are few that really have an end-to-end solution. With invoices coming in by email, fax and post it can be difficult to keep track of what should be paid when. Each invoice must be captured, key information extracted, validated, input into the correct system, approved and stored for any future queries.
There are very sophisticated systems available to automate all these systems, from scanning, cleaning and validating incoming invoices to sending the details to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and document systems. These systems automatically extract invoices from emails and send them to the processing engine, automatically recognising key information (such as invoice numbers, supplier codes etc.) and managing the approval and escalation process. At every step there will be a record of the steps taken, ensuring a paper trail should there be any issues.
3. Customer Relationship Management/Data Management
Today’s business and consumer customers have come to expect a high level of personalisation in their dealings with businesses. Managing the vast amount of customer data needed to provide this personalised service can be challenging. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems help businesses manage their relationships and plan, execute and measure their marketing campaigns more effectively.
Standardising and centralising data makes information easily accessible, allowing businesses to identify target audiences and reduce the cost of customer acquisition.
Once a customer is acquired, a CRM system will also let an organisation monitor customer satisfaction levels, reduce response times and better forecast sales. All these benefits go towards improving productivity, reducing cost and increasing revenue.
4. Human Resources Processes
Human Resources (HR) is a major pull on resources for many businesses, especially those with large numbers of staff. Because of its complexity and breadth of responsibility however, HR also provides a fertile ground for reducing cost and improving productivity through automation. Every stage of the employee lifecycle can be automated, including role and vacancy management, employee on-boarding and feedback and performance management. Automation can also provide simpler and more intuitive processes for leave, expenses and travel requests, reducing the amount of time and resources required to complete them. The best HR solutions will allow for integration into a range of other enterprise HR and payroll systems such Microsoft Dynamics AX.
5. IT Processes
Most businesses still have a ‘ring the IT guy’ approach to issues with technology. This kind of approach is fragmented and often results in non-essential tasks being completed first. Automated IT provision can be used for issue tracking, asset management, change requests and access requests.
Automating IT processes can also help improve the safety and validity of your network through automatically controlling access levels and firewall provisioning.
Andy Neumann said: “Improving performance, compliance and productivity are key goals for any business. By automating these five processes, most businesses can achieve significant savings and operational efficiencies. With a range of customer-ready automation solutions available, there is no reason why Australian businesses can’t enjoy the benefits of automation.”