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When it comes to innovation and digital transformation, it is necessary to look at process automation as a fundamental principle. This strategy helps companies digitize operations, ensuring greater accuracy and cost savings in their operating network. Thus, it is possible to advance and optimize the results to align with the most modern trends.

When we talk about automation, we have to address its concepts, such as RPA, artificial intelligence, and BPM, in addition to its most common applications, such as service and data management. In any case, we begin to understand how indispensable it has become for companies that want to innovate for the sake of business development.

If you want to dive deep into the subject, check out this complete guide we’ve prepared for you!

What is process automation?

Process automation consists of delegating repetitive and common tasks to artificial systems. That is, machines are responsible for some of the day-to-day functions, which run with a logical sequence. This concept describes the use of isolated tools or even the complete scanning of a company.

It is worth mentioning that automation is the main goal of human beings since they began to build applications with technology. Since the beginning of electronic computing, the focus has always been on developing software capable of taking care of some operations and letting the most strategic ones be managed by humans.

With the personal computer, for example, the purpose is to save files more easily and be able to find them automatically, create documents with the possibility of correcting the texts, etc. In this sense, technology and innovation invade daily life and become part of some tasks until then considered manual.

This serves to remove from humans the weight and overload of activities. In the digital world, companies need human capital much more concerned with strategic, more valuable issues such as user experience and quick decisions with big data insights. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid problems and purely operational functions.

To this, automation serves as a good foundation, allowing companies to achieve digital transformation. With the digitization of tasks and processes, the first step towards a level of digital consistency that generates concrete results is taken.

What is the importance of process automation?

In this topic, we will continue to address the importance of innovation in the delegation of tasks. Follow!

Cost reduction

The relationship between automation and cost reduction is straightforward. Once the processes are automated, soon the company begins to notice a change. This is because automation makes the company leaner in terms of personnel since it is not necessary to hire more members for the operation. Moreover, with the reduction of the problems we will mention below, expenses decrease.

Precision

Organizations gain more accurately in activities. Systems and machines that take care of tasks are not affected by distractions or other psychological factors, typical of the human being. Thus, they do not fail while strictly following their programming. In the case of intelligent software,  they are based on analysis and patterns that discover, without errors.

With this, internal production gains greater efficiency and consistency. Products are developed without major flaws, services are offered without serious problems, customers come out more satisfied, among many other implications.

Integration

Having systems to automate tasks is interesting because it allows integration between processes and sectors. Since software from different parts of the company can communicate with each other, it is possible to eliminate communication barriers and ensure alignment of all.

Safety

Following the reasoning of the highest accuracy, we conclude that security and data protection also gain a boost. With fewer serious errors and failures that expose systems to malicious people and create loopholes and vulnerabilities, organizations remain more protected. After all, most of the mistakes in this area come from human action.

In addition, process automation allows monitoring with reports and greater transparency of what is done. Also because all activities are automatic flows and can be understood as several chained steps. Therefore, it is easier to control operations and present the necessary transparency to security oversight bodies.

Productivity

Automation also implies productivity. Artificial systems have a big difference for humans: they are not necessarily smarter, with the power to deal with improvisation and strategic issues, but they are definitely faster. Thus, they can solve problems in a queue with greater agility and consumption of fewer resources.

In other words, with software application automating processes, the company is able to achieve incredible improvements without changing both internally, without hiring, or profound changes in the way of working. It only requires adaptation to the entry of these applications in the day-to-day and an understanding of how they work in line with humans.

Standardization

One of the big problems for companies is establishing a consistent way for employees to handle tasks. Sometimes it is difficult to set a standard for operations, which generates communication and quality of results problems.

With automation, repetitive processes are executed in a standardized manner, as defined by management. Since they’re about systems, it’s impossible for them to get out of planning.

Strategic vision

Managers also benefit from a strategic vision from the implementation of tools to automate operations. This is because they now have reports and records about application performance, which help them understand whether the results are satisfactory or not. In this way, it is easier to promote changes to optimize results and get better indexes.

How does process automation work?

Automation is deployed with the support of specific tools and systems, such as process robotization tools. Both applications aimed at automating tasks and those that have other purposes can contribute in this sense. So people work side by side with these innovations to achieve the best in terms of productivity, cost reduction, etc.

For adaptation, organizations need to configure software with the main rules, related to the need for use. Thus, it is necessary to create the flows in some applications, with the training of the tools in the logic of operation of operations. It is common, for example, to define logical sequences of type “if, then”. Here, these innovations may or may not rely on human intervention.

It is interesting to note that the operation of automation benefits different sectors and parts of the company. To better understand, see the examples we’ve set up.

In customer service

This is a common use when it comes to automation. Its main objectives are to generate accuracy in troubleshooting, ensure service stability, and customize communication to meet users’ preferences. So there’s greater agility because of data integration as well.

In data analysis

Automating processes also favor data analysis and, consequently, the company’s decision-making. Intelligent systems help you understand a large mass of data, seeking value and powerful insights to benefit management. They do this by identifying patterns, correlations, and groupings in this information.

In team management

Automation also allows teams to seek higher productivity rates in agile project management, for example. By adopting the systems, your company ensures agility, fewer errors, security, integration, and all other benefits mentioned in the previous topic. With this, it is possible to deliver the results on time and with more quality.

In logistics and marketing

In logistics, the functions related to inventory control and raw material delegated to the software gain greater accuracy. In the field of marketing, automation helps to deal with a larger range of contacts, in order to customize communication. You can also analyze data and reach predictive conclusions and recommendations that improve customer relationships.

How to implement process automation in the enterprise?

In the next few lines, we’ll introduce you to the top tips for successfully implementing automation in your company.

Engage all employees in the task

To have the engagement of all members in the implementation process, the ideal is to train and make them aware of the new situation and the use of technology. By leaving them prepared with a consolidated knowledge base, it is possible to combat any resistance and ensure that everyone cooperates with the project.

Once everyone understands how automation works and how it is applied, it is also easy to get their cooperation with the systems, knowing exactly where to stop and the other begins. This is crucial because process automation requires collaboration.

Map processes

This action aims to identify which processes will be automated and how. Mapping helps clarify how operations work internally—by defining all activities, the sequence between them, as well as responsibilities and objectives.

Thus, you can apply a filter to determine what will be automated: the preference is for high-volume tasks that do not change much, that is often tiring and bureaucratic, that need speed, and involve many people. In this sense, it is possible to apply innovation to achieve the expected positive impact.

Re-redraw business activities

The act of redesigning the activities is also decisive to continue this process in the company, with proposals for improvements to make operations more agile. In this way, you must already create a schema that includes automation on the basis of these tasks.

Monitor results

From the application of this innovation in the delegation of tasks, it is necessary to observe what has already been obtained and compare it with the previous scenario, in order to understand if the expected advantages are being achieved. If the business is not being so impacted, some adjustments should be made to improve this reality.

What are the best practices in process automation?

Some practices should be encouraged when the company starts with automation. Continue reading to meet them!

Use BPM tools

Business Process Management, or simply BPM, consists of a process management standard that provides the basis for organizations to map, organize, and standardize their operations, always focusing on continuous improvements and bottleneck identification.

Assemble a support team

It is interesting to have a team responsible for deploying tools like the one mentioned above. Seek out the most technically capable and most engaged employees to help identify tasks and follow up the process. This step is important because it allows change to be a collaboration, not something imposed from above.

Deploy automation gradually

It is common to want to start fast and get a complete overview of agility and scanning across the enterprise to adapt the business to the new era and reap positive results. However, one key to a successful deployment is precisely to start with one process at a time, taking care to monitor everything and analyze what is working.

Record the entire process and set goals

This record gives the company a clear view of what is happening. The deployment should be as a project, documented and organized, to avoid errors and inconsistencies. In fact, it is also good to set goals for each stage, with some purpose that the company wants to achieve with its actions. This makes the effort effective and accurate.

So, the ideal is always to seek continuous improvements, with attention to optimizing processes not yet improved and sectors that are not yet digitized. Automation should not be finalized, but adapted to each different scenario, using new technologies and other approaches.

What process automation errors should be avoided?

It is essential to avoid mistakes that hinder the development of the company and innovation. Meet the main ones!

Not having structural planning

The company’s negligence around the application of automation solutions causes errors and results far from expected. Without a plan with the goals and definition of target processes, deployment becomes confusing and ineffective. As we said, the process should be thought of as a project, with specific costs, deadlines, and characteristics.

Focus only on technology

The process goes beyond the use of technological tools. It needs to be an engagement of all members together, with the support of managers, to generate great results. Therefore, management should always be more concerned with its intellectual and human assets, when seeking the integration and alignment of teams.

Not having qualified professionals

The support of good professionals is indispensable for process management with due expertise. If the company doesn’t seek the help of these people, it can get lost in a failed and very time-consuming deployment. Not to mention that this attitude generates other errors in the chain because it compromises the whole process.

Apply automation to inappropriate areas

Many companies want to achieve results quickly and end up adding this innovation to operations that require only human labor. That is, they lose money with an investment that could be made on other fronts, such as logistics, marketing, and the others we list here.

What process automation tools can be used in the enterprise?

There are several tools that can be used to turn automation into reality in business. We’ll see some of them on this topic.

RPA

Process robotization is one of the main solutions when it comes to automation. This is the use of trained robots to handle repetitive and bureaucratic tasks. Systems can be run autonomously or with user activation. The great advantage is to be a simple, scalable, and safe model.

RPA enables greater accuracy in high-volume tasks that require agility in terms of time. In addition, they are highly replicable software, with easy actions and training practices that can be performed by any employee. It can be used for document management, email sending, reporting, among other activities.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence comprises the sub-area of computer science that studies computer autonomy and therefore seeks to make machines make decisions on their own and solve typically human problems. In this sense, systems can be added to several fronts to generate value on a day-to-day basis.

Within the idea of AI, we have Machine Learning and  Deep Learning, which describe models and types of machine learning. There are different algorithms aimed at identifying patterns, classifying data, searching for anomalies, and understanding ways to reach a specific solution. By mapping the way human beings learn,  software replicates the human capacity in certain activities.

A strong application is in data analysis, with predictions consisting of analysis of crosses and correlations. But AI is also powerful in natural language processing, such as text and audio. Therefore, she is able to communicate directly with people.

Chatbots

From this ability of artificial intelligence derives another important tool for automation: chatbots. They are specialized systems in communication and, therefore, used to serve customers and solve their problems. You can customize the tone, language, and themes covered. All according to the needs of each user.

The biggest advantages of chatbots are that they do not suffer from stress, are not affected by human issues, and are available for support 24 hours a day. Thus, they represent stable and efficient assistance of companies.

In times of remote work, they can also help in communicating between members internally.

CRM and ERP

Now, let’s take care of two management systems. ERP is a more general option, focused on the control of all areas of a company, with modules for different sectors. Allows automation with the integration of this data into a single interface, as well as specific functions such as invoice generation and asset and inventory control.

CRM, on the other, is a customer and contact management software for the company. It serves as a database on people who interact with the company from the first moment to purchase. Thus, it is essential for a global improvement in service, marketing, and sales, with more efficient communication.

The CRM platform monitors contacts and allows an in-depth knowledge of each of them. The integration of data about customers, enables a strategic vision about them, their preferences, pains, and needs.

Project management

It is also worth mentioning the project management solutions, which dominate part of the market today. They help you control schedule, costs, resources, and personnel with an overview.

Similarly, they introduce some direct functions to cooperate with the development of processes and steps, such as file sharing and integration with timesheets.

What is the importance of technology in process automation?

The support of technology is the basis of process automation because it is with it that this innovation happens and evolves constantly. One of the main factors is scalability. Technological tools allow them to be easily replicated on different fronts of the company since good results have already been obtained.

Thus, whenever the company needs to grow or increase its productivity to meet new demands, this can be done without large costs or operational downtime. In this context, it is possible to evolve in a safe and sustainable way.

The technology also facilitates the process, as we saw with RPA. The advantage of some platforms is that they themselves already automate the way they are configured, with the abstraction of a number of functions, which allows a quick initiation time. In this way, the company will have no problem adapting to each tool, for example.

Process automation is a necessary and powerful strategy to drive digital transformation in enterprises. It promotes cost reduction, constant innovation, productivity, stability, integration, among other benefits. To do so, attention needs to be paid to available technologies and good implementation practices.

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