What is Software Automation?
Business process automation software is the strategy a business uses to automate processes through software in order to lower costs and improve efficiency. It consists of integrating applications, restructuring labor resources and using software applications throughout the organization.
Benefits of Software Automation
We can all agree on the fact that milking a cow by hand into a bucket is inefficient. The worker will tire easily and can only milk a limited amount of cows. The bucket is liable to spill causing all the work to be for naught. The same is true for a business that is still doing things by hand. Your staff can work far more efficiently if things aren’t being done manually. People work at different paces depending on their mood. According to statistics, this results in working less than a 3rd of the day.
When the milkman milks his cows using his own two hands there is the inevitable danger of cross contamination from lack of hygiene. The introduction of machinery into the milking process has protected us from this issue. In today’s business environment, utilizing human intervention when it’s not necessary poses a lack of security and confidentiality which could be a huge liability to your business – think manual credit card entry or ID/paperwork collation.
Speed & Accuracy
While nothing can compare to the human touch necessary in many interactions, there are innumerable processes that can and should be done by automation. Mathematical computations are done far more accurately and speedily by computer than by their human counterpart. Cross referencing, organization, recall… these are just a small sampling of database functioning that take nanoseconds to complete. Automation software eliminates human error which can be very costly.
Reach New Markets
Today’s world has shrunk. In a good way. The pen on your desk could be designed in Wisconsin, crafted from parts sourced in India and Guatemala, assembled in Vietnam and then shipped to hundreds of facilities across the world. This wouldn’t be possible in a world without business automation. We would still be walking the milk bottle around the corner. Using BPA we have extended our businesses’ reach to the corners of the globe. Business process automation may allow you to reach new markets and geographical locations that were previously not possible.
Lower operating costs
Tasks that needed an hour of human interaction can now take 2 minutes utilizing software automation, which will lower the costs of operating your business.
When employees feel that they are working on mindless tasks that would be better handled by automation their morale will drop. Nobody likes to spin their wheels performing useless tasks or even doing actions that would take a fraction of the time utilizing software and technology. If your team is down, it will bring down the business as well. While automation is essential for a business’ productivity, the team that comprises the business are the driving force behind that automation.
Case Study #1
Let’s take a look at A+ Private School.
Demographics – 250 students from K-8
Current Technology – bookkeeper uses quickbooks to send out tuition statements, receive payment, pay bills and generate paychecks.
Office staff – use excel to list all students by grade. Multiple worksheets in excel workbooks cross reference the student list and track things like:
Transportation, forms, nutrition, emergency information, grades, absences.
Administration reports a constant breakdown of communication across the departments, a lack of Government compliance due to an archaic paper filing system. The registration process is manual and results in increased frustration from prospective parents, not to mention the frustration felt by the staff.
The inefficiency is rampant and unnecessary. A school can be run like a well oiled machine with the correct software solutions in place. Different departments can access the portals that they need to have permissions for. Accounting software can be integrated so that the bookkeeper doesn’t have to re-enter students’ information. By automating the processes involved in running the school, the institution will benefit from increased staff productivity, greater organization, enhanced capacity to grow the institution, stricter compliance and much more.
Case Study #2
Wall to Wall Carpet Store
Demographics – bricks and mortar storefront and showroom located in a busy suburban area. Online website which acts as an e-brochure and social media presence.
Challenge – the business has grown steadily since it opened 5 years ago. The scheduling for measuring and installation is done manually and too often results in errors and breakdown in communications. Inaccurate and inefficient inventory management results in many headaches and lower profits. The staff is too busy to focus on the website and social media which could draw in additional customers.
Solutions – Software solutions that track inventory and applications that deal with scheduling and follow up are a must-have for any business that sells items and then provides a follow up service (like installation). Having customers in a central database that keeps track of the to-do’s that the staff was tracking on their notepads, will result in a smoother experience for the customer and greater efficiency for the employees. The time saved can be utilized to focus on marketing via the online channels currently set up and growing the e-presence of the store.
So you’re convinced. You have had enough with the papers flooding your desk, with irate customers wondering what the delay is, with the constant mistakes that keep cropping up from your employees’ manual intervention. You are ready to jump on the BPA bandwagon. Now you need to decide whether your business can utilize some of the “off the shelf” software available or if you will benefit from custom software created exclusively for your business.
In part 2 we will weigh the pros and cons inherent in these options.