Time the machines took over? Let’s talk Business Process Automation

Many tasks are being taken over by machines, but for the business and its workforce, that's really not a bad thing.
23 March 2020

A person shakes hand with a robot at the booth of IBG Automation during the Hanover Fair. Source: AFP

Pop culture is rife with striking imagery of robots becoming imbued with artificial intelligence, learning from humanity’s past mistakes, and eventually taking over the world in a grim apocalypse.

As AI and machine learning experts continue to research and improve on automated processes, is this scenario actually at play? Conspiracy theorists might think so, but the automation of business operations can actually go a long way in helping human workers too.

Automating various manual and mundane operations will allow workers to get more done and, eventually, prepare them mentally to do more high-level tasks, as their time becomes increasingly freed from menial, mind-numbing work.

Automating business processes can help to standardize company procedures, carry the load of reporting duties, even help enhance customer experience by offering quick automated responses and feedback to their queries.

But what are some of the benefits for the human workforce itself?

Streamlines project management, work tasks, & info flow

One of the core functionalities of business process automation (BPA) is the aligning of appropriate tasks and data sets to the automated system software.

Many industries feature their own specialized software, or will use third-party solutions that can be used across multiple industries. Business accounting and reporting software are good examples of this.

Once those parameters are set within the system, a handy user’s guide would be sufficient to educate a new user of the same system, without having to train them from the ground up. Reporting and decision making from higher up the chain will likewise be streamlined according to the appropriate task and the available insights to make the best decision.

This could also lead to a clearer understanding of the entire workflow, the responsibilities of various departments, and will ideally lead to faster turnaround times moving forward.

Saves time & reduces errors

Menial tasks take up much more of an employee’s time than one would traditionally think. These tasks might be necessary, but if they are repetitive and ponderous, automating them might be the way to enable your employee to focus on higher-level jobs, such as research and self-improvement.

Menial tasks will take time for a person to complete, but is more than likely instantaneous for a machine to execute. In addition, when people are hurrying to complete tasks, the chance for human error increases exponentially. BPA can remove this headache altogether, and the process can be streamlined further as now extra employees are not needed to vet the first worker’s mistakes.

Always forgetting to execute that small, but critical function? Automation tools can help send reminders hourly, daily, weekly, or as often as the need may arise.

Ensures compliance requirements

Many industries might have to answer to regulatory bodies, or oversight committees which would have their own compliance guides and procedures. BPA tools can make sure that once the compliance requirements are entered into the system, you do not have to worry about not adhering to the mandated requirements anymore, at least until the next compliance update.

Happier customers, happier employees

Streamlining processes will lead to faster response times, as well as more accurate responses to customer tickets. Being on top of their needs should lead to happier customers, and will help the company maintain a consistently high standard of quality service.

Happier customers in tandem with the removal of tiresome grunt work should in turn result in a happier, more empowered workforce.