Every business process has a sequence of discrete steps necessary to successfully produce the desired results. Nevertheless, many business processes are packed with manual tasks that are inefficient and wasteful of valuable staff, time and resources. These inefficiencies are compounded by the introduction of human error which leads to rework and more waste. It’s like a clog in your pipes preventing information, material, and revenue from flowing. Business Process Automation removes the clogs to maximize flow and outputs.
What is Business Process Automation?
Business Process automation is the replacement of manual error-prone steps from your processes with programmatic steps to be performed largely with a computer. It is not always feasible to eliminate human interaction. In those cases the computer program is used to aid the human and reduce the chances for errors, while speeding up the task.
So What, How Can Business Process Automation Help Me?
When Insured Title saw an increase in the number of closings and could not hire quickly enough to address the demand, they needed to find ways to do more with the same staff.
They tried adopting electronic signatures and using more email for their transactions. However, that just shifted the manual work from paper to digital. Instead of pushing paper they were now pushing emails around. What they really needed was a way to automate steps and in the process.
The Operations Manager at Insured Title Agency decided to partner with a local consulting company which introduced her to a cloud-based process automation platform. The platform was an excellent match and allowed them to automate the creating, routing, review and approval of documents and forms associated with their daily work. Processing time was reduced from days down to hours. You too can achieve these results in your business.
Business process automation is effective in all departments of your organization. It can liberate all staff from burdensome manual work so that they can focus on quality and productivity. Let’s have a look at how each department in your organization can benefit from automation software:
Drastically reduce the time for collecting signatures and approvals
Streamline document management
Leverage automated payments for recurring expenses
Integrated with accounting software
Leverage automation to perform labor intensive and repetitive tasks
Collaborate across teams via automated communications
Establish a consistent experience for customers
Produce data from marketing efforts to improve results
Produce higher quality leads by standardizing processes and communications
Onboard clients more efficiently and get to cash faster
Eliminate dropped leads
Get data necessary to increase conversions
Solve technology problems quickly
Keep track of assets
Learn about issues before they become a huge problem
Get new staff up to speed quickly with fast onboarding processes
Ensure compliance with legal requirements across all processes
Increase visibility of daily operations
Reduce paperwork and ensure correct record keeping
How To Automate Your Business Process?
A business process automation process begins with a clear objective and ends at process evaluation. Here are 5 steps involved in carrying out a business process automation plan:
Map Your Process and Identify Repetitive Tasks – Start by making a simple bulleted list of all steps in your process. Sometimes it helps to start from the end. Identify the final result or work product from the process. Then you systematically work backwards from there identifying each step. Review the steps for your process looking for those that require manual and repetitive effort. Those become good candidates for automation.
Identify and Eliminate Waste – Review the steps of your process and identify where defects are being introduced. Find steps that result in waiting for excessive time. Are there steps that require overprocessing or manually moving an item from place A to B? All of these are opportunities for improvement and automation.
Training for The Team – The success of business process automation depends on the willingness of the team and leaders. Make sure everyone understands the benefits and is a willing participant. Make sure individuals understand their jobs are not threatened by the effort to automate. Communicate the vision of less stress, more productivity, and overall better quality.
Build the Automation – Pick the best tool for the job, but don’t get bogged down with technology. If needed, work with a consultant that can get you up to speed quickly. Remember, the goal is to improve the process, not to become experts in the tools.
Measure Results and ROI – Unless you accurately measure the results, improvement may go unnoticed. You may also miss opportunities for additional improvements. Measuring the change is critical to successful adoption. You should also celebrate the smallest wins as you make progress.
Choose The Right Tool for The Job
You’ll find many options in the software market. Some are generally applicable in any organization while others serve niche applications.
Regardless of your situation, you want business process automation software that is easy to learn, flexible, and meets your needs. Here are some tools that you should consider.
Many business processes involve paper documents and forms. This is where OnTask shines. OnTask is a SaaS platform designed to solve common problems that require the creation, routing, review & approval of documents and forms. OnTask is perfect for businesses committed to minimizing manual processes that rely on paper. Let’s see how it measures up in key attributes.
Simplicity (score 9) – OnTask has an excellent quick start wizard that allows new users to get up to speed quickly. It makes it simple to import your document and automatically builds your first workflow.
Cloud hosted (score 10) – OnTask is 100% cloud hosted and creating an account is quick and easy. It also supports Organizations and Groups. This feature allows you to manage who has access to your workflows and sensitive information.
Integrations (score 8) – OnTask has excellent integration with Zapier. Using Zapier it is easy to connect OnTask with other tools and build more complex automations. The OnTask API and webhooks also allow integration with CRMs and databases.
Mobile support (score 10) – OnTask’s interface looks great on both desktop and mobile. All OnTask forms are fully responsive and easy to use on mobile devices of all sizes and operating systems.
Metrics (score 7) – OnTask has an excellent feature that allows monitoring of workflows to ensure that tasks never get stuck. This is a feature that most other workflow engines are lacking. However, OnTask depends on integrations via API, webhooks, or Zapier for the collection of more detailed metrics.
Price (score 10) – OnTask is by far one of the most value packed tools for the price. Start at $49.00 per month with a generous package that includes unlimited users. Then once your transaction usage needs grow, upgrade to $99.00 per month for unlimited transactions. This includes unlimited e-signatures, forms and documents. OnTask’s electronic signatures are legally-binding like other platforms and don’t require any special hardware or software when signing documents.
If your business depends on paper or manual processes today, and you are ready to automate you have to take a look at OnTask.
Zapier allows users to easily connect and automate the apps they use on a regular basis. For example with Zapier you can connect OnTask to your CRM. Some of the apps supported by Zapier include Salesforce, Intuit, Google, OnTask and Dropbox. Overall Zapier offers their customers integrations with 1,000+ apps.
Simplicity (score 8) – Zapier is a no-code platform for integration and has a neat user interface. However, it can be like learning a new language, afterall what is a Zap? Once you get over the initial learning curve it gets easier to build Zaps and connect applications with Zaps.
Cloud hosted (score 9) – Zapier is 100% cloud hosted and creating an account is quick and easy. However, it is not easy to share your Zaps with others. If you want to collaborate with your team you need to upgrade to the teams feature.
Integrations (score 10) – Well this is what Zapir is designed to do. Hands down Zapier is one of the best SaaS platforms for integrations.
Mobile support (score 5) – This is a problem for Zapier. They don’t have a mobile application.
Metrics (score 7) – Zapier gives you metrics to track the history and execution of your Zaps.
Price (score 8) – This is an area Zapier could do better. In comparison to other similar platforms Zapier is expensive. Make sure you shop around and try a few different tools before committing to Zapier.
When you are ready to start integration your applications definitely take a look at Zapier.
If you run a sales team that relies on proposals PandaDoc may be the tool for you. PandaDoc includes unlimited electronic signatures in every subscription, plus a host of other powerful document features, such as a drag-and-drop document builder, out-of-the-box CRM integrations, and advanced document analytics. PandaDocs electronic signatures are legally-binding and don’t require any special hardware or software when signing documents. Let’s see how it measures up in key attributes.
Simplicity (score 7) – Pandadoc is complicated, because it does a lot of things. It’s template features are excellent and let you get started quickly. You can also track the progress of your document, however, the workflow management features are not as strong as other tools such as OnTask.
Cloud hosted (score 10) – PandaDoc is cloud hosted and has good support for teams and collaboration.
Integrations (score 8) – PandaDoc does include some integrations, but they are built-in and have limitations. If you want to get the most from your other apps you may need a tool with an open API like OnTask.
Mobile support (score 8) – PandaDoc works on mobile.
Metrics (score 7) – PandaDoc has excellent metrics, however, you have to upgrade to gain access to them.
Price (score 10) – PandaDoc has a very low entry price at $9 per user. However, this ads up as your team grows. Other tools such as OnTask provide for unlimited team sizes, giving your organization room to grow.
OnTask is by far one of the most value packed tools for the price. Start at $49.00 per month with a generous package that includes unlimited users. Then once your transaction usage needs grow, upgrade to $99.00 per month for unlimited transactions.
If your business writes a lot of proposals PandaDoc may be the tool for you, but you should definitely check out the alternatives before making your final decision.
Integromat is like Zapier on steroids. Integromat makes it easy to integrate all of your work apps. Using the integration builder you can drag and drop your apps together to create powerful integrations, all without any coding. You can also see in real-time how your apps are connecting and working together. Integromat is the missing piece to connect your apps, the glue of the internet.Let’s see how it measures up in key attributes.
Simplicity (score 8) – Integormat has a nice visual user interface that feels very gamified. However, it is complicated and has a learning curve. If you are a Zapier user or programmer it should be easy to adopt Integromat.
Cloud hosted (score 10) – Integromat is cloud hosted and works well on any browser.
Integrations (score 10) – Integromat gets a 10! It is by far one of the most powerful no-code integration tools on the market.
Mobile support (score 8) – Integromat works well on mobile, but the interface is not great to work with unless you have at least a tablet size screen.
Metrics (score 7) – Integromat has excellent metrics,
Price (score 10) – Integromat has a reasonable pricing compared to Zapier. In fact many users are switching from Zapier to Integromat due to the better price to value.
If you are looking for more advanced capabilities than Zapier offers Integromat may be the tool for you.
The hardest step to automating your business process is taking the first step. So break out the notepad and start writing. Keep it simple at first just jot down a few bullets for each process. Then incrementally engage your team with the steps outline in this post.
When the time comes that you need help reachout to Phiquest, we’ll be your partner on your journey to higher levels of productivity.