18 May Business Automation Helps in Improving Productivity – Here’s How You Can Leverage it in Your Organization.
In the last few decades, automation has been gradually implemented in business processes across several functions, such as financial management, operations, supply chains, and human resource management. This entails the replacement of manual and repetitive tasks that were once performed by human employees with the latest technology.
Put simply, “business automation” refers to the process of automating business processes with minimal human intervention. Examples of processes where business automation can be utilized include:
- Employee and customer onboarding
- Customer relationship
- Sales and marketing
- Accounts Receivable & Payables
- Inventory management
With the mainstreaming of digital technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), organizations are moving to the next level of business automation, namely Intelligent automation. According to this 2023 report, over 80% of business decision-makers are aware of business automation and its benefits.
In this article, we shall explore what business automation is and why it is important for your business in 2023 and beyond.
What is Business Automation?
From a bird’s eye view, business automation is the application of automation technology to perform manual or repetitive tasks, thus freeing up employees to focus on high-value human-centric tasks. The term, business automation, is often used interchangeably as business process automation (BPA), robotic process automation (RPA), or AI-enabled automation.
Business automation is an “umbrella” term that can use a host of various technologies to achieve its goal. This includes tools like Process mining, Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN), Robotic process automation, Optical character recognition (OCR) & Machine Learning.
Business automation does not come in a “one-size-fits-all” solution. It is implemented at 4 different levels namely:
- Basic automation
This is the basic form of business automation that automates simple repetitive tasks within any organization. A common type of basic automation is achieved using RPA and business process management (BPM).
- Process automation
At this level, an entire business process – Purchase to Pay or Order to Cash (OTC) is automated for higher efficiency and transparency. Process mining is one example of a technology that enables process automation.
- Advanced automation
Advanced automation is designed to integrate multiple systems and processes within the organization. For advanced automation, technologies like AI and natural language processing (NLP) are used to generate and share valuable insights from multiple entities.
- Intelligent automation
This is the fourth and final level of business automation. At this level, AI-powered models and machines can self-learn from their business decisions – and continuously improve from their experiences. AI-powered virtual assistants and the Chat GPT tools are some prominent examples of intelligent automation.
Next, let’s take a closer look at how technologies like OCR, NLP, Process Mining, and Intelligent Automation facilitate business automation.
Business Automation: OCR, NLP, Process Mining, & Intelligent Automation
Interested in knowing how these 4 technologies enable business automation in an organization? Let’s take a closer look:
1. Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
OCR technology is used to extract high-resolution text from physical images and documents. For instance, OCR can be employed to extract valuable information from scanned resumes (or resumes in PDF format). With OCR, organizations can effectively automate a large volume of their business processes (for example, customer forms or loan applications).
2. Natural Language Processing (NLP)
Using NLP, organizations can automate a large part of their workflows. Enabled by AI technology, NLP is widely used in voice-activated applications such as customer support. Besides identifying human language, advanced NLP systems are also capable of detecting “sentiments” from the spoken language. For instance, it can be used to accurately understand a customer’s sentiment (about your brand or product) from their social media posts.
3. Process mining
While RPA can automate business processes, process mining allows organizations to consistently monitor their RPA execution and predict process failures (if any). Since process mining tools are capable of extracting valuable insights from real-time process logs (recorded in ERP and CRM systems), using process mining enabled automation, a manufacturer can automate enterprise processes such as purchase order processing or client invoicing processes seamlessly.
4. Intelligent automation (IA)
According to IBM, IA is the combined use of technologies like AI, BPM, and RPA to streamline and scale business decision-making. Intelligent automation frees up human resources and improves operational efficiencies. For instance, an automotive manufacturer can leverage IA to increase their production capacity – or reduce the chances of human error during production.
Why is business automation important for your business? Let’s discuss that next.
Why is business automation important for your business?
Be it a small enterprise or a multinational corporation, today, business automation is necessary to streamline your business operations and drive business growth. Among the prevailing myths, business automation does not “destroy” jobs performed by human workers – rather, it “improves” their work. With business automation in place, organizations across industries can assign tasks of higher value to their workforce. Besides, in business processes that require both human and machine intelligence, automation technology simplifies human effort and helps them function efficiently.
Here are some reasons for you to implement business automation in your organization:
- Lesser human error
Depending on the level of business automation, organizations can eliminate (or reduce) human errors that can be detrimental to their business. Unlike humans, RPA ‘bots’ do not commit mistakes and are also efficient at performing mundane, repetitive tasks.
- Lower business costs
In the long run, business automation is more cost-effective than hiring experienced human workers. Human employees are a major cost factor, particularly for small and growing companies. Further, as your business grows, you also need to hire more employees, which adds to your business costs. This is not a problem for business automation tools that can scale up automatically with business growth.
- Improved customer satisfaction
Automated business processes are necessary for higher customer satisfaction. For instance, they receive an instant welcome email from businesses whenever they buy a new product or sign up for a subscription account. Similarly, AI-enabled chatbots in customer service can answer common customer queries – without the need for them to wait for a human agent.
With successful implementation, there are multiple business automation benefits (or robotic process automation benefits) for business enterprises. Let’s delve into them in the next section.
Benefits of Business Automation
Business automation is crucial for the success of any organization in any industry domain. For instance, customer-centric organizations must understand their customers’ behavior properly to effectively market their products or services.
AI-driven business automation can benefit organizations in multiple ways, including the following ones:
1. Time savings
With business automation, employees no longer spend their valuable time completing manual or repetitive jobs. The automation system completes these tasks in less time. Employees can now focus their working time on getting more work done – and on tasks that require critical thinking, business acumen, or creativity.
2. Higher profits
As mentioned before, business automation can improve customer satisfaction levels, thus converting them into loyal and long-standing customers. This means more business and profits for the company. Besides lesser business costs, organizations can cut down on their operational expenses, thus increasing their profit margins.
3. Workforce augmentation
Business automation does not eliminate the human workforce. Rather, it augments the existing workforce to achieve a higher level of productivity and efficiency. For instance, RPA tools can collaborate with human workers and help them perform their work more efficiently.
4. Document management
For any organization, it’s cumbersome to maintain their business documents in paper format. Business automation can streamline document management by maintaining documents in digital format. With this approach, it’s much easier and faster to retrieve important documents whenever needed. Additionally, confidential documents can be stored with high-level security so that they are accessible only to authorized users.
Business automation has different use cases or applications across industry domains. Let’s discuss that next.
Business Automation in Different Industries
Business automation is best suited for a variety of business processes and functions across various industries. Some of the common use cases include business areas like sales & marketing, customer support, human resource management, and business finance & accounting.
The Evolving Story
Among the recent innovations, the AI-powered Chat GPT tool is performing many tasks that previously required human resources. Here are some of the industry-wise use cases where Chat GPT is being deployed:
- Customer onboarding
- Financial fraud detection
- Loan approvals
- Customer service
- Compliance with banking regulations
- Travel booking and itinerary planning
- Personalized customer experience
- Virtual assistants in customer support
- Tourism marketing
- Appointment scheduling
- Virtual assistants for patients
- Medical record storage
- Clinical trials
- Risk assessment
- Marketing & Sales
- Customer support
- Document management
How is business automation (or robotic process automation) being used across industries? Here are some of the industry-wise use cases:
1. Healthcare industry
Business automation can help in simplifying healthcare by improving the quality of patient care at a reduced price. With business automation, healthcare companies can now focus on delivering improved patient experience during (and after) their hospital stay. Similarly, valuable patient data (or medical records) can now be stored & retrieved from a centralized database. Thus, patient data is now accessible across the healthcare industry, which is useful for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
2. Insurance industry
Faster claims processing is critical to the success of any insurance company. Manual claims processing is time-consuming and frustrating to health insurance customers. Business automation can reduce the manual work involved in processing insurance claims. Additionally, automation lowers the cost of underwriting by 30-40%. With automation, insurance companies can now streamline their policy management activities like issuing and updating insurance policies. With the high volume of industry regulations in the insurance sector, automation is necessary for maintaining regulatory compliance to avoid fines or penalties.
3. Banking industry
Banks and financial institutions can also leverage automation to enhance core banking activities like account opening, customer service, and customer data security. As part of customer onboarding, banks spend a lot of time and effort verifying customer data using KYC processes. Business automation enables banks to accelerate their KYC process by quickly verifying customer information with other data sources. With effective business automation, banks can also detect fraudulent transactions and compliance-related violations.
Beyond these industries, business automation also works to enhance business functions across industries. Here are some of the common use cases of business automation across the following functions:
With automation tools, organizations can streamline their sales process, ensuring that their sales team spends most of their time and effort on customer interactions and satisfaction. Business automation tools can be used to replace manual sales activities like submitting customer purchase orders, assigning territories for sales executives, or identifying high-quality leads or prospects.
- Human resources
In the human resources (HR) function, business automation tools can track job applications and employee performance, as well as automate several repetitive HR-related tasks. Additionally, scanning resumes for the right candidates, scheduling job interviews, onboarding new employees, and managing their payroll can also be put on autopilot using AI. This effectively ensures that HR teams are focused on high-value tasks like employee engagement. Additionally, with business automation, HR systems can extract valuable insights about workplace productivity and efficiency.
Using business automation technologies like RPA and OCR, companies can also streamline their logistic operations for maximum productivity. For instance, automation tools can process logistics documents like purchase orders, contract agreements, and shipping information. These tools also enable logistics companies to provide real-time status of shipments to their customers.
In summary, business automation tools offer business value to organizations—much more than simply automating manual or repetitive tasks. In this article, we have looked at how business automation can be used across industries and business functions.
At NuMantra Technologies, we enable our customers to easily automate their employee work and business processes using our platform capabilities in process mining, RPA, AI & machine learning, and business intelligence. With our automation solutions, you can free up your workforce to focus on delivering business value through their work.
Do you want to know more about how business automation can impact your business? Get in touch with us today!
1. What are the 6 steps of a proper Process Mining models project?
Process mining essentially comprises 6 steps namely project planning, data extraction, data processing, process mining & analysis, process evaluation, and process improvement.
2. What is the main purpose of Robotic Process Automation?
The main purpose of robotic process automation (RPA) is to automate and streamline repetitive tasks or business processes within the organization. For example, workflow automation in any organization improves business flexibility and responsiveness.
3. What are the main components of Machine Learning?
Machine learning essentially comprises the following 3 components:
- Representation – or how the ML model represents knowledge.
- Evaluation – or how to evaluate ML models or programs.
- Optimization – or how to enable & fine tune ML models.
4. What is the future of Business Intelligence and Analytics?
Organizations are concerned about the growing volume & non-utilization of data. To fully leverage all this data, the future of business intelligence & analytics will include embedded analytical tools within all applications, which will transform how they are used.
5. How is Business Intelligence used in Hyperautomation?
Business Intelligence tools provide enterprises the analytical tools to analyze and predict business outcomes. Hyperautomation enables companies to realize better business outcomes using a combination of AI and machine learning capabilities with business intelligence and automation tools. For instance, hyperautomation can help in automating customer facing business processes that can increase productivity and generate new revenues.
6. How does intelligent automation work within Hyperautomation?
Intelligent automation uses a combination of multiple technologies like AI, RPA, OCR and Machine Learning to automate complex business processes.
Hyperautomation is an approach that combines all the above technologies with analytical tools, on a single platform, to provide organizations the ability to orchestrate better business outcomes.