Seeking more efficient ways to carry out activities, many organizations automate processes in order to leverage the performance of their business and achieve better outcomes.

By automating processes, activities that were previously done manually are instead done electronically, allowing employees to dedicate more time to strategic activities that provide greater added value.

In general, this means lower costs and better use of time, leading to greater efficiency and productivity.

Despite those benefits, automating processes requires great care

Automating processes can lead to tremendous gains for the company. However, this isn’t always viable for solving all problems.

This automation requires planning and setting out of objectives and priorities. Ignoring these steps and falling into the temptation of simply automating all processes can lead to some frustration.

Extremely simple processes or those not frequently executed oftentimes are not good candidates for automation. Although it is possible to attain improvements, the effort needed to automate processes that have these characteristics may not be worthwhile. Generally, it is difficult to demonstrate to managers that they will achieve significant results, and this could make similar projects in the future unviable.

There are also situations where automation costs exceed the benefits. It is necessary to properly evaluate the processes, because in some cases the return on investment is very low and automation is unviable.

In some cases, automation creates barriers for clients. Instead of making things easier, it ends up frustrating the client, causing them to have a negative experience. In these cases, you must also evaluate if it’s worth it to automate a process.

In the end, what kind of process can be automated?

Now that you are familiar with some aspects that indicate when automation is unviable, learn which processes are good candidates for automation initiatives.

Repetitive processes

Start with “shorter” processes, with repetitive activities but which must be reliable. Although automation can make complex processes more robust, starting off with simpler processes makes things much easier. Possible problems can be more quickly avoided without causing problems for the company as a whole. The results can also be demonstrated in a short amount of time. With a successful case, it becomes easier to convince managers and obtain approval for other similar initiatives.

Processes with a high incidence of errors

Workflows usually permeate various areas and involve various actors before leading to a final outcome. This scenario, in tandem with manual control mechanisms, can be a major source of delays, mistakes, and redoing of work, leading to unnecessary costs to the company. Automation may avoid these situations, leading to greater quality in the processes.

Processes that by nature are slow

There are some processes that run up against legal issues. To move ahead, they depend on outside actions that are not under the company’s control. Automation avoids the omission of some information that makes this process even slower.

Dispersed processes

Some business processes are “spread out.” Between the start and end the information is entered via various spreadsheets and different systems. These characteristics make it difficult to accompany the process and control deadlines and responsibilities. Oftentimes it is possible to speed up processes with these characteristics, centralizing everything within a single workflow.

Processes with rigid ERP workflow

Finally, there are processes that have been implemented via ERP, but using a very rigid workflow. Generally, these involve requests that, depending on their characteristics, need to be sent to different departments for approval. It is common for ERPs to offer little flexibility when defining these departments, which means that automation through BPMS provides some gains.

Now that you are more familiar with what processes can be automated at your company, learn more about SoftExpert BPM, the most complete and innovative solution for improving, automating and managing the excellence of your processes.

 Learn more about SoftExpert BPM

Marcelo Becher

Author

Marcelo Becher

Specialist in Strategic Management from PUC-PR. Business and market analyst at SoftExpert, a software provider for enterprise-wide business processes automation, improvement, compliance management and corporate governance.

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