What is Process Automation? A guide for 'Dummies'

Have you been searching digital transformation but not fully sure how to go about it? 

You've probably read reports that process automation can help drive digital transformation throughout a business, but what is process automation?

Not to worry, let's strip it all back and start from scratch.

I've taken the liberty to answer some of the most common questions around process automation, to give you a basic understanding of what it is and why you need it!

What is Process Automation and What Are The Challenges That Process Automation Can Solve?

Process automation is the controlled execution of tasks by human resources, supported by systems that carry out actions automatically, that together achieve business goals.

Automated actions reduce the labor effort required to achieve goals and ease the frustration experienced by employees and customers associated with inefficient manual processes.

Achieving goals consistently faster, reduces costs, manages riskaccelerates business growth and improves customer experience.

Who Will Benefit From Process Automation?

Benefits can be gained by organizations and individuals. At an organizational level, process automation improves efficiency and customer experience while reducing business risk. Automation increases accuracy at every process step, ensuring business goals are achieved efficiently with minimal overruns and re-work.

At a personal level, process automation improves resource productivity by assisting employees to achieve their objectives and increases employee and customer satisfaction.

Where Is Process Automation Most Valuable In My Organization?

Automation can be applied to any process, but the most beneficial areas in any business are those that:

  • Require vigor - for example, CAPEX requests that must have a certain set of accurate information collected before purchase orders are raised. Automation can ensure that all the data is present and correct before submitting for approval.

  • Require consensus - for example, project changes must be documented, and risk assessed before being approved and scheduled for completion. An automated system can push change information to authorized individuals and seek their comment and approval.

  • Require compliance - for example, providing a true audit record of a regulatory authority of both the process definition and every process execution. This can be very difficult to achieve without an electronic process automation solution that records an audit record of all process activity.

  • Require collaboration - where teams are dispersed over large geographic areas, or collaborating between different organizations, automation can speed up communications and provide the necessary information for each resource to complete their task.

When Can I (Users) Start To See The Impact of Process Automation?

What is Process Automation? Why do I need process automation?

This depends on the process automation solution, and the complexity of the process. The best solution is one where you can prototype automated processes to quickly validate them in the real working environment. This helps you to overcome one of the biggest automation challenges, management of change.

Introducing process automation provides many benefits, but those benefits are only realized when the automation solution is adopted. So the best way is to work quickly with flexibility, to ensure that the time to value for your automation efforts is kept to a minimum. Simple processes, or those based on pre-built templates, can be deployed in weeks using the best process automation solutions.

Why Do I (Companies/Organizations) Need Process Automation?

To match or exceed the performance of your competitors as process automation is being widely adopted, to a greater or lesser extent.

The cost and time frame of deployment of automated processes in your environment is critical to giving your organization that competitive edge that wins more business through better customer service and generates more profit that can be re-invested to strengthen your offering to the market.

How Can Process Automation Benefit Me (Company/Organization) and How Long Does It Take To Implement?

Process automation provides benefits in efficiency and service improvement as soon as it is deployed and adopted in an organization. ‘Time to deployment’ is critical to the overall success of any automation solution.

It is always advisable to start with a strategy for deploying processes and look to deploy your first automated processes within the first month after acquiring an automation platform. Select the areas or the business that will see the most benefit, implement quickly and generate momentum.

Process automation solutions provide metrics on how well the processes are performing so that you can easily see the impact of automation to the business.

Learn More

To learn more about process automation as a driver for digital transformation, why not download the recent tip sheets wrote by AIIM’s highly respected Business Writer and Technology Analyst, Kevin Craine.

In these tip sheets you will learn how organizations such as Vestergaard have digitally transformed by automating their business processes! Additionally, Kevin discusses how he see's 'Process Automation is the Catalyst for Digital Transformation' and how businesses can drive 'Process Improvement Through Automation'.

Download AIIM Catalyst for DT Tip Sheet Download AIIM Process Improvement Tip Sheet

Paul Stone, Product Evangelist

With almost 30 years’ experience in the IT industry Paul is a highly accomplished digital leader who is the go-to product expert from both a business and technical perspective. Paul works closely with FlowForma’s global clients supporting them in the delivery of FlowForma’s Process Automation tool.

Paul Stone, Product Evangelist

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