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The latest decade has brought in the Industrial Revolution. Cloud computing, AI, AR & VR, Data Analytics and Digital Transformations are all occurring simultaneously. With so little time to play catch up and so much innovation left to incorporate, who’s got time for old-timey manual computations? The cut-throat competition is sure to leach out your resources if you don’t make better use of your employees. Set higher goals for humans and let the computers do what they do best – automate. Business Process Automation is about building key client relationships, by sending your best workers into the market.
So how would you define Business Process Automation in 2020?
BPA uses a strategy that allows businesses to incorporate technology to streamline systems and workflow processes. Today, BPA goes beyond data management and records. BPA has advanced its way into the customer relationships, planning, marketing and sales segment through standardization and development. In 2020, Business Process Automation is all about service deliverability and customer satisfaction with a core that relies on real human-to-human connections – personalisation. In essence, companies today use BPA to build a P2P connect on a B2B / B2C platform using technology.
How did we reach such an advanced stage in BPA?
Often, the origin of BPA is attributed to IBM as it first introduced OS 360. But it is not too far fetched to say that, 1913 production line of Model T cars is the real origin story as it essentially aims for the same thing – better customer service by improving deliverables through automation of certain workloads. Today, IoT has taken over the digital world, and BPA has become part of the normal cycle of any organisation. The need for BPA is well recognised in organisational models like Lean, Six Sigma, Agile and Scrum as they are all big proponents of continuous improvement and process excellence.
What are the benefits of Business Process Automation?
- Productivity: If routine tasks can be done at the click of a button, there is no doubt that improved productivity is the result. But apart from the direct benefit, there is also the indirect benefit of better-utilizing employee time for innovations in practices.
- Communication: An automated workflow ensures that every on board process has a complete overview of the progress of different sects of the product development process. A unified dashboard is a key in addressing pain points and streamlining communication.
- Operational stability: To have legalities and documentation integrated into the automation software eliminates human errors. Moreover, this also vastly reduces paperwork.
- Reduced costs: As an extension of the previous point, having a second or third line of the check to ensure that human errors are minimized makes processes long and arduous. Avoidable errors that are ignored prove to be very costly in the long run.
- Customer service: The ultimate goal of Business Process Automation is to improve customer service. Faster deliverables, improved transparency and better communication all lead to the same road – customer satisfaction.
Where does Business Process Automation lie in the Line-Of-Business?
In reality, Business Process Automation software can be integrated at any and all levels in the LOB. When it comes to comprehensive, enterprise-level platforms like Salesforce, the framework is designed in such a way that any application is easily scalable – both up and down. They can help you manage your Six Sigma, Agile and Scrum practices well at all levels.
However, the most important question is not about where you use it, but how you implement it.
4 Steps involved in every automation software to get the most out of it:
Every automation software goes through these 4 steps to ensure maximum usability:
- Analysis: Set up a review to answer vital questions like, “why do we need this?”, “who will it affect the most?”, “Is it worth the time and effort” and most importantly “Do customers want this?”
- Implementation: Once the process you’ve chosen to automate passes through the analysis phase, pick up the necessary documentation you need and create a flowchart to determine the logic.
- Integration: Use APIs to enable platforms to start using this tool. Try and make tweaks wherever necessary to suit the requirement across platforms.
- Maintenance and Support: While having a flawless system is the ideal situation, it should be noted that you need to account for outliers and bottlenecks so that your system does not clash or crash other processes.
when you choose an automation software, ensure that it works across platforms and can easily be integrated into existing processes. Using a common tool like Salesforce to handle your entire CRM and SaaS can help you get there quicker.
What business processes can you automate?
If you get deep into the BPA cycle, you will realise that there’s so much you can do with automation tools that can help with both Customer Experience and Employee Experience. But here are some obvious examples that can help you get started:
- Shipping, tracking and alerts
- Handling customer complaints
- Quote generation
- Back office processes
- Calendar management
- Follow up notification
How is Salesforce acing automation?
Creating a seamless automated customer experience isn’t as easy as it may seem. Code-heavy, time-consuming software platforms were the norm a few years ago, and many companies strayed away from experimenting because the manual intervention required for automated tasks exceeded the value-proposition. This was due to several reasons like:
- Not available on all devices like desktop, mobile, internal and external portals
- Platform dependent
- Non-unified UX
However, with the introduction of Salesforce’s Lightning Flow, every single one Salesforce app, experience and portal could get automated. Lightning Flow allows both Process Building and Flow Building so that you can choose what is ideal for which type of task.
How to choose the right automation tool?
As mentioned before, having the option to build processes or flows can be confusing. But here is a general guideline of how Salesforce Lightning Flow is designed to make the choice easy for you:
- Use the Flow Builder if you are designing guided visual experiences that require inputs from users. For example, contact forms, surveys, interactive courses and research etc.
- You can use Process Builder, Flow Builder, Apex or even a combination of the automation is solely back-office work that requires no input from users and uses already collected data from your Salesforce org.
- Integrate the approvals tool for tasks that require approvals from managers and/or stakeholders.
With hardly any code involved, Salesforce gets you the privilege of reducing the time needed for automation by using a simple point and click builder’s. You can embed visual workflows and improve business agility. Of course, you can use any of these tools on web, cloud, desktop or mobile.
Examples of Automation Success in Salesforce
- Automate “Thank You” Emails
The anxiety that comes after purchase until the product is received is quite real, and cashing in on this anxiety to improve customer engagement has worked wonders for many organisations. An automated email that makes the loyal customer feel appreciated and going so far as to personalise it is key. Process Builder allows you to use several handy email templates. You can even add logic to the flow by including criteria based selections.
- Inventory tracking
Good customer service starts with having a transparent system for finding the location of deliverables. Nobody likes to read “Your shipment will arrive in 15-20 days. Thank You”. You can automate shipment tracking by using barcodes as the input in the Flow Builder.
- Wish Lists
The bane of every office copy room is running out of supplies at a crucial time. A Salesforce Developer or Consultant can help you automate orders by checking inventory and automatically creating posts.
- Grant Proposal Reminders and Reviews
Say you have a system set up in your organisation that allows staff to put in proposals to the management, and they require review before the final pitch. A grant coordinator does this job. You can set up an Approvals process to have this process automated.
- Provide suggestions
Say you own a blog and you want to suggest more reading materials to the reader. You can use Salesforce’s Einstein Next Best Action to create and display offers that are unique to the customer.
When it comes to automation, you can start small and simple. Get the simplest routine tasks out of the way. While building complex systems like handling disputes the way Republic Bank did use Salesforce, it is very important that all your documentation is cut-throat so that there is no room for error. Always have pointed to check for necessitating manual intervention using the Approvals tool. This way you know that you have secured your process end-to-end.
Whether you are a small firm that just wants better interactions with customers, or you are a large firm who is looking into building better learning and education modules for your employees, Salesforce has you covered. With the 2020 agenda being personalisation, you can be completely assured that your customer experiences won’t take a mundane turn – just slightly chirpier when they actually meet you in person.
For any detailed discussion on process automation or BPA queries, have a word with our experts at Cyntexa.