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The stats are in: the average knowledge worker makes $67,000 a year but spends 41% of their time doing repetitive digital work. That translates to $27,470 dollars — per employee, per year — of wasted money. Depressing, right? But it perfectly illustrates the incredible need for business process automation!
In this article, we'll teach you what business process automation is, why it's important, and how to embrace it via business process outsourcing methodologies. That way you can stop wasting money and start supercharging your company.
Sound like a plan? Then let's dive it!
Business process automation, also known as BPA, is the act of streamlining recurring business tasks through the clever use of technology, in order to reduce manual labor.
For example, when onboarding a new employee, BPA can be used to input data automatically. That way neither you nor your new hire has to waste time filling in information like his or her home address multiple times when completing your company's onboarding procedure.
BPA should not be confused with business process management. Business process management is a larger discipline and involves multiple methodologies that span across every organizational department within a company.
Business process automation is the future. Companies that don't begin investing in it now will get left behind and struggle to compete in the coming years. This is because business process automation has many benefits which we'll discuss now.
A few of the chief benefits when it comes to business process automation include increased productivity, better accuracy, and a boost in customer satisfaction. Let's take a look at each of these benefits individually.
The most obvious benefit of business automation is the boost in productivity it will afford your business. Think about it: if technology can take care of mundane tasks such as data entry, your team will be free to focus on more important, business building initiatives. In short, they'll be able to use their unique skills to propel your company forward in a more productive way.
Process automation also leads to greater accuracy because machines aren't prone to the same mistakes humans are. Going back to our previous example, it's very easy and entirely possible for a flesh and blood worker to accidentally type "100" instead of "1.00". Depending on what that figure represents, the results could be disastrous. But automation removes this issue completely because technology doesn't make those kinds of mistakes.
Lastly, business process automation generally leads to increased customer satisfaction. If your team can process requests faster and more accurately, your customers will be happier and much more likely to continue purchasing your company's products. Why wouldn't they be? They're getting everything they need, exactly when they need it.
As with all things, there are a few potential drawbacks related to business process automation that you need to be aware of. These potential disadvantages are:
Business process automation allows you to setup systems that can be carried out by machines while human workers focus on other tasks, eat lunch, sleep, or whatever else your team needs to do. But what if a process needs to change? Your automated system won't be able to recognize when something isn't working anymore and adjust on the fly. This could lead to issues of flexibility and cause problems for your organization if they aren't dealt with efficiently.
This disadvantage completely depends on the processes being automated and the company attempting to automate them, but BPA can also be costly, at least in the short term. For some companies, in fact, BPA can cost millions of dollars to implement! But for smaller operations who simply want to minimize the amount of data entry tasks that their human operators must complete, cost likely won't be a factor.
Business process automation can be achieved in two different ways: through the use of technology and via business process outsourcing (BPO).
Automation through technology is easy to understand. Here is a simple business process automation framework for you to follow:
1. Determine Your End Goal: What do you want to achieve by automating your business processes? Are you hoping to get things done quicker or more affordably? These objectives are definitely achievable. You just need to understand what you're going for.
2. Collect All Relevant Information: Next, you need to know how the process you're attempting to automate actually works. To get this understanding, study the process and communicate with every person involved in it. Then document what you discover.
3. Identify Any Bottlenecks: When the entire process is documented in detail, analyze it for bottlenecks, i.e. any sections of the workflow that could be improved, made more productive, require too much manual labor, etc.
4. Select the Appropriate Software Tools: You're now ready to invest in the automation tools you need. The software you use will vary depending on the industry you're in, the processes you're trying to automate and more. Do your research.
5. Optimize Your System: Lastly, you need to analyze and optimize your business process automation efforts. Are they succeeding the way you hoped? If not, why? Adopt a mindset of constant learning and always seek to improve.
Business process outsourcing (BPO), on the other hand, may be a foreign term and concept to you, though it too is easy enough to understand.
BPO is when a company contracts an outside vendor to perform specific business tasks. These tasks can include anything from sales prospecting and social media marketing to payroll and accounting to vetting job candidates and more.
Generally, only secondary business functions are outsourced via BPO. For example, a sales team might outsource sales prospecting to an external contractor but would still employ its own sales folks to actually handle sales calls and close deals. A system like this would remove the menial, time-consuming task of lead generation from each salesperson's plate and allow them to completely focus on revenue generating activities.
BPaaS, short for "business process as a service", is the most convenient way to implement business process outsourcing at your company. In a nutshell, BPaaS is business outsourcing delivered via a cloud services model, which has a couple of distinct benefits:
Most BPaaS platforms give users access to an intuitive dashboard where they can easily see their outsourced tasks and the progress being made on them. They can also easily adjust their plans/packages and other settings from this screen.
It's incredibly easy to scale your outsourcing load with BPaaS. You just choose a larger package and the system will outsource more work for you. The opposite is also true. Should you need to scale back the amount of tasks you outsource, you'd simply need to visit your platform's dashboard and make the necessary adjustments.
As we've just seen, business process outsourcing is a fantastic way to automate various business tasks for your company. And BPaaS makes process outsourcing as convenient as possible. With that in mind, we'd like to introduce you to Invisible Technologies, the best BPaaS platform currently on the market. Here's how it works:
1. First, new users meet with an Invisible agent to explain the business process they want to outsource and teach them how Invisible should go about completing tasks.
2. The Invisible agent then takes the information that he or she gleans back to the rest of Invisible team and a completely customized business process is constructed, taking into account the user's unique preferences and specifications.
3. Once the business process is built, users can begin delegating tasks, which will be completed using advanced technology and a collection of highly-trained, low-wage workers from developing countries. This ensures that work is completed both quickly and affordably for Invisible users.
4. As users begin to outsource tasks, they can keep track of them via the Client Dashboard. From this screen, users can see each task they've delegated to Invisible, the progress being made on them, and how long each task is taking Invisible to complete.
5. Finally, users receive their deliverables, created to their exact specifications, and enjoy the bump in productivity that Invisible affords them!
Invisible makes business process automation simple by combining top-notch technology with a team of qualified, low-wage human workers. This combination allows users to experience the efficiency of machines and the heart of real people who actually care about the work they do and try their absolute best to make sure success is reached.
Telling you that Invisible works is one thing. Showing you a real-world example is quite another. Fortunately, we could share story after story of how Invisible has helped clients in all different industries and locations. One of our favorites is the story from Olympus Insurance.
Olympus Insurance is a Florida-based insurance company that employs 100 people, serves 100,000 clients, and generates about $200 million in revenue on an annual basis. The organization operates out of a beautiful office space in West Palm Beach and has been an Invisible customer for some time now.
Invisible's relationship with Olympus Insurance began with the simple, albeit monotonous (at least for them!), task of processing 4,000 insurance applications. The company's team just didn't have the bandwidth to process them themselves so they turned to us for help.
The Invisible team quickly built a business process automation framework for Olympus and became the company's second-best claims processor in a matter of months. The best part? These claims were processed at the rock-bottom price of $9 an hour!
Invisible's relationship with Olympus has grown substantially since then and our team now regularly works 100 - 300 hours a month for them on a wide variety of tasks.
We've covered a lot so far. But maybe you're still wondering, "How can I use automation in my industry?" That's what we'll try to answer for you in this section. Keep reading to learn three different use cases for business process automation via BPaaS.
Those who work in sales are perfect candidates for business process automation via BPaaS — especially when it comes to sourcing leads. Imagine being able to completely hand over prospecting duties and spending all of your time closing deals instead? That's what platforms like Invisible can do for you!
You choose the kind of prospects you want to engage with and how they should be found. You then relay that information to Invisible and we create an optimized system that follows your instructions and delivers quality leads to you at the frequency of your choosing.
All you have to do is follow up. How does that sound?
Human resources can also benefit from business process automation. If you work in HR, you understand that while recruiting is incredibly important, it can also be a tedious task. Wading through hundreds of applications — most of which probably come from unqualified candidates — is seriously draining.
So why not take advantage of process automation via BPaaS and streamline the entire job? With Invisible, it's easy!
You tell our team what the "perfect candidate" looks like. We'll then go through every application for you and only green-light the folks that meet your specific criteria. By the end of the process, you'll have a list of qualified candidates that you can begin scheduling interviews with.
Those in the insurance industry can take advantage of business process automation too. For example, it can be used to process applications in the same way that Olympus Insurance (mentioned above) uses it. It can also be used in claims, adjustments, and other departments.
If we're being honest, the insurance industry, while incredibly valuable, is full of menial tasks. By outsourcing these activities to a platform like Invisible, you'll be able to focus on more important company initiatives without damaging company budgets.
Finally, business process automation can be used to accomplish a wide variety of general business tasks. How much time do you spend on menial activities like scheduling meetings, filing expenses, updating inventory, booking flights and hotel rooms, and updating to-do lists? If you're like most people, the answer is "too much."
That's why you need to automate these tasks! Because Invisible uses advanced technology and a team of trained individuals, our platform is the perfect solution for every activity listed above.
Business process automation is your ticket to digital transformation. Whether you accomplish it the traditional way via software applications and other forms of technology, or you embrace business process outsourcing and invest in a BPaaS platform like Invisible, automation will make you and your team more productive, boost accuracy, and increase customer satisfaction.
Do you work in sales, HR, or the insurance industry? Maybe you just have a mountain of general business tasks that need to be completed. It doesn't matter if you're looking to outsource lead generation duties, your company's new candidate vetting process, or your application approvals process, Invisible can help you get it done quicker and more affordably than ever before. Contact our team for a free demo.
If Invisible sounds like something you might be interested in, we encourage you to get in touch with our team. We'll show you how our platform can be used to reduce the amount of menial tasks you're responsible for and focus more of your time on your core business initiatives.