For many years, companies thought having a website and social media presence is what digital transformation of a business means. But true digital transformation is when you achieve process excellence and workflow automation with the use of digital technology. According to a research publication by Forester called, "The sorry state of digital transformation", 22% of companies are still thinking about digital transformation, whilst 56% of the companies are transforming, but not at an alarming rate. This article will focus on different approaches to achieve process excellence and the benefits of achieving it.
Any business is a collection of processes and processes are made of
Any attempt to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a process is a step towards making it excellent. There are different approaches that a company can use to optimise its processes.
BPR focuses on changing an entire business process expecting a different and a better outcome. BPR is a radical change that impacts the organisational culture, hierarchy and process objectives to achieve fundamental business outcomes such as cost reduction.
BPI is an ongoing attempt to improve an existing process to be more effective and efficient. It focuses on optimising the process with minor tweaks rather than trying to change the entire process.
BPM is the management approach to make sure that processes are functioning at their peak efficiency. It uses management techniques like Lean, Kaizen, 6 Sigma to ensure that processes run smoothly and deliver the expected results.
BPA is the use of technology to execute manual, recurring tasks of a process. Process automation can improve productivity, ensure accuracy and allow employees to focus more on business-critical activities. Process automation is useful in any of the above approaches to optimise a process. When considering the ROI of process automation, it can be a great stepping stone to start the digital transformation.
A well-planned cloud base automation solution can eliminate data silos within the organisation and connect it's supply chain and value chain together. The following are a few advantages of process automation.
When automating a process, the first step will be to understand the existing process and mapping it. Process mapping can provide a clear picture of the “AS-IS process” and the gaps in it. It will show how the process flows, allowing you to visually identify and eliminate gaps, enhancing the process efficiency.
i.e. Once a company automates its inventory and supply chain, it helps the production process run without any downtime due to raw materials procurement and manufacturing output being aligned.
Once a manual process is automated it will have a faster turnaround time. As it can free employees from error-prone, recurring, mundane tasks. Employees can utilise more of their time to be involved in tasks that require human-like (critical) thinking and judgement.
i.e. Imagine a manual account payable process. It involves a lot of paperwork and approvals. Once you automate such a process, you would be able to replace the paperwork with a single digital document that can be shared across departments. Authority can be assigned to managers to access and authorise transactions with digital signatures. Popup notifications, in-app messaging or emails can streamline communication and notify employees about pending tasks and fast track the payable process.
Once a process is automated, you can expect a standard outcome consistently. Results won't be subjective to who runs the process and it will be free of human errors. This accuracy helps when analysing data, bringing clarity to the process. Once a process is fully automated, it becomes predictive. And as one can hardly manipulate a predictive model, it improves transparency.
i.e. Automation of financial reporting can ensure accuracy in forecasting, revenue recognition and auditing. Rule-based automation frameworks can assure that your reporting complies with relevant accounting standards.
When employees are free of mundane tasks, they can focus more on business decisions and customer satisfaction. Management can make decisions faster when data can be easily accessible through the cloud in real-time. Since automation enhances the quality of data, forecasting and optimum utilisation of resources become a luxury.
i.e. An automated system provides you with a holistic view about production lead time and management can make real-time decisions to match market demand.
The first thing to keep in mind is that BPA is not a special technology or a one-time investment that solves all your problems. It's an ongoing process that utilises off the shelf software, bespoke modules, SaaS applications, IoT, AI, Machine learning or any other technology that serves the purpose.
You can start your automation journey with time-consuming processes that have a high volume of tasks that involves multiple employees. Start automating core processes that impact other processes first. Processes that require compliance and auditing is also a good place to start.
If you are a small to midsize business that cannot afford a company-wide bespoke solution, think about starting by automating functions such as;
Once you are comfortable with the concept and start seeing benefits, you can invest in a cloud-based agile architecture that can scale as your business grows.
If you are searching for a software vendor to support your digital transformation, or you already have stand-alone digital systems that require harmony, Maytech is a Melbourne based software solution provider with 16 years of experience in process reengineering and automation.
We are an Australian based software development company that specialises in bespoke web and mobile application development, eCommerce solutions, process automation and staff augmentation. If you find this content relevant, we are sure that we can help you improve the way you do business. Contact us to find out how our technical expertise and 16 years of industry experience can deliver results for your business.