Most companies, regardless of the industry they operate in, have become increasingly reliant on information. From basic information like contracts and invoices to strategy documents and marketing materials, most people in the business are engaged at some point in working with information.
Information overload and manual processes can slow businesses down, making it hard to respond quickly to customer demands and compete effectively. When people are bogged down in paperwork, they can’t spend time adding value.
The solution lies in business process automation.
Forrester recently predicted that automation could cut operating costs up to 90 per cent, touting it as one of the most profound and disruptive forces in human history and predicting that companies that master automation will dominate their industries.
Automation uses established business rules to create digitalised workflows that move documents through their required processes faster and more accurately. It’s a transparent and powerful way to eliminate inefficiencies and improve company performance and customer service.
Business process automation can also help you meet sustainability goals while saving money by reducing manual handling and wasted paper.
Automation also helps in governing information more effectively, reducing the cost and work involved in managing compliance.
One of the most workload-intensive, paperwork-heavy areas in any business is the accounts payable department. Paper-based invoices are received and routed to the appropriate person in the business to be approved. They must be checked against purchase orders and, if necessary, delivery confirmations. They can then be signed off and passed back to the finance department so payment can be organised. The details must then be manually entered into the finance or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, and the paper-based invoice must be filed.
Manual processes lead to unnecessary costs and time delays, distract staff from more valuable activities, and prevent companies from moving as quickly as they need to.
If an invoice doesn’t match the purchase order or there is another reason to query it, the system flags it as an exception. This means staff members only have to become directly involved in invoices that need their attention, while the others are processed without human intervention.
This is just one example of an automation process that can save companies significant amounts of time and money. Any process that involves documents, requires prompt actions from staff members, and demands that documents be stored and secured, can benefit from automation.Additionally, compliance with privacy and other regulations is simplified and information governance is made much easier with automated processes that let your organisation pinpoint the location and status of information at any given time. Whether the information needs to be accessed for audits, customer queries, or any other reason, automated processes mean it’s stored exactly where it needs to be. Staff members can find it instantly, saving time and making the business more agile.