5 Quick Ways to Automate Your Business Processes
Updated: Jul 1
Focusing on process excellence will give you a growing list of happy customers, and business process automation can set you on the path to process excellence.
You probably have many internal processes that need to be triggered when something happens (e.g., an email arriving, a new calendar month, a new project starting, etc.).
Some processes are very time-sensitive (e.g., copying data from an email to an internal system, to a spreadsheet, and to a report). Many processes can be overwhelming, so you must manage your tasks using a task list with reminders, due dates, and follow-ups.
Business process automation helps you hand over many of these tedious tasks to machines, allowing them to be completed more timely and efficiently.
How do you automate your business processes?
Five ways to automate your business processes are: map out your business processes, create SOPs, identify repetitive tasks, prioritize areas to automate, and deploy the business automation solution.
This article will examine these ways properly. We’ll also look at what areas of business operations you can automate. At the end of this article, you’ll know how to automate business processes with just a few clicks.
What is business process automation, and why is it important?
Business Process Automation (BPA) is the process of using technology to execute manual, repetitive tasks. BPA lets you hand over the execution of mundane tasks to “machines,” allowing you to focus on more critical tasks.
Manually handling these mundane tasks would be time-consuming and inefficient. Thus, BPA streamlines a business for simplicity and increases efficiency.
Benefits of BPA
Business Process Automation benefits a business in many ways, including:
Mundane tasks require time and manual work. When you automate these tasks, you complete them faster, enabling shorter lead times and quicker delivery. Thus, you save time and are more efficient.
Leads to digital transformation
Business process automation is one way to begin a digital transformation. You can start by automating one process and gradually scale the BPA to other areas to become an industry leader in innovative practices.
Leads to standardization
Business process automation standardizes your processes, ensuring you get uniform and predictable results.
Unlike humans, computer systems do not get tired or have a bad day and make mistakes. So, automating business processes removes human error, leading to correct and consistent results.
For many business processes, having machines complete tasks is considerably less expensive than paying people for the same job. Increasing automation across different processes leads to economies of scale and significant cost savings.
Increases customer satisfaction
Whatever process you automate, the benefits flow to your customers. Since business process automation leads to increased operational efficiency, you will deliver quicker and better results.
When you consistently meet promised standards and deadlines, your customers are happier with the business relationship. They’ll be more willing to continue with you and may even become advocates of your business.
How to automate your business processes?
The following steps will help you optimize your business processes and enjoy increased efficiency and other benefits of BPA.
1. Map out your business processes
Before jumping into business process automation, you need to identify business processes you can automate. So, the first step in BPA is mapping out all your business processes to look for areas to streamline.
After laying out all your processes, solicit the input of employees on their repetitive and manual tasks and look for areas that may have opportunities for efficiency improvements.
2. Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
To automate processes, you need to define the steps necessary to complete the tasks within a role.
The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is a document that describes the step-by-step instructions for carrying out routine operations. The SOPs will help you understand the exact steps in carrying out functions and where automation can occur.
To create SOPs, task employees to define how they do their jobs, documenting the exact steps they take and in the order they take them as they do their jobs.
3. Identify repetitive tasks
After mapping out processes and defining the step-by-step procedure of completing tasks, it is easy to see repetitive tasks within each role.
Repetitive tasks represent areas where the business is most exposed to operational deficiencies because of the risks of errors. These manual, repetitive tasks are good candidates for automation.
4. Prioritize areas to automate
While repetitive tasks are good candidates for business automation, create a priority list of areas to automate. This way, you optimize the process by first automating areas that give the biggest impact.
To help you prioritize areas to automate, consider the operational improvement of the automation and its impact on the business, employees, and customers. BPA benefits are varied (e.g., reducing cost, completing tasks faster, reducing errors, etc.). So, you may need to find a common denominator, such as scoring the expected benefits.
5. Deploy the business automation solution
After determining the particular business process to automate, the next step is to create digital transformation by deploying the business automation solution.
There are different options for this. There are different business process management software driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) that help companies design and automate business processes.
Another option is to explore automation within an existing tech stack. Project management solutions (like Trello, Basecamp, Asana, etc.) allow some form of business automation to accomplish some objectives.
Areas where automation is beneficial like
Business processes perfect for automation include a high volume of tasks, requiring multiple people to execute tasks, having time-sensitive tasks, and requiring compliance.
A few processes you can consider automating include:
Payroll processing involves a lot of repetitive tasks, including managing overtime and holiday calculations, tax deductions, and more.
Robotic Process Automation that mimics our actions within digital systems streamlines payroll processing. The BPA software handles different tasks, including adding new employees to the system, tracking hours, benefits administration, salary processing, tax reporting, and more.
The onboarding process (integrating a new hire into an organization) requires a gamut of repetitive tasks.
Onboarding automation can help you streamline onboarding-related workflows, including automatically providing new hires training manuals, tracking progress, etc.
The platform can listen for a pre-defined event whose occurrence will trigger actions, such as distributing onboarding documents, pairing them with a mentor, requesting feedback, etc.
Automating the scheduling of tasks based on pre-defined rules frees up time for you to focus on more critical activities.
For example, you can automate meeting scheduling, allowing simple programs to schedule meetings for you automatically. You can also automate social media scheduling. You can build communication with your audience by allowing programs to make your social media posts automatically.
Bookkeeping and accounting
Bookkeeping and accounting involve a lot of manual tasks, such as data entry. Accounting automation eliminates the need for such manual tasks.
The BPA program streamlines bookkeeping tasks such as pulling transaction data from credit card and bank accounts into accounting software, categorizing transactions, managing accounts payable and accounts receivable invoices, generating reliable books, and more.
Customer service is one of the most popular business process automation. It allows customer service to be handled by technologies (like Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, etc.) rather than by human agents.
Examples of customer service automation include chatbots for customer self-service, conversational Interactive Voice Response (IVR), automated incoming email processing and responding, etc.
Using email to build business connections and promote your business requires a lot of work, such as sending follow-up emails based on the actions of the recipient.
Email automation can make the job easier and more efficient. It helps you stay connected with your contacts by using automated workflows to send the right message to the right people at the right time.
For example, your program can automatically send welcome emails to visitors who join your mailing list, abandon cart emails to shoppers who do not complete their transactions, seasonal offer promotions at the right time, etc.
In the modern world, sales teams do a lot of repetitive tasks to complete sales. These include sales forecasting, pipeline management (action plan for new and existing customers), quota setting, sending follow-ups, reporting, etc.
Sales automation can help sales teams get most of the data entry and other mundane tasks out of the way so that they can focus on closing deals.
Automate your business processes with Kippy and Zapier.com
Kippy is a strategy management software that should be every business’ best companion.
Kippy helps you align your business processes to your corporate strategy and key corporate objectives. With this, you can identify if your processes are useful and contribute toward achieving your objectives.
With Kippy, you can literally align everything in your organization to your key corporate objectives in minutes.
You simply input your corporate objectives, and Kippy uses AI to generate the right KPIs to measure those objectives. Then import existing data from Excel and cascade to your teams. You can manage updates of your KPIs and analyze them on live interactive dashboards, allocate tasks, appraise by KPIs, and rate the performance of employees.
Kippy’s ability to generate KPIs puts it ahead of other strategy management solutions. Know that identifying KPIs helps determine if a process really matters because if a process is not reading or updating a KPI, then it probably isn’t contributing to achieving your objectives.
With Kippy integrating with over 2,000+ apps as part of the collaborative ecosystem, you can automate repetitive tasks with just a few clicks.
We’ll show you different scenarios to automate your business processes with Kippy. For this scenario, a Kippy user (Mike) will create a note relating to a KPI owned by another Kippy user (Sari).
Upon creating the note, Kippy will automatically send an email to Sari, informing him that Mike created a note for him to review. But rather than just reading an email, Sari can use the collaborative ecosystem to automatically do an almost infinite number of things.
First, let’s start with a simple example before discussing the limitless possibilities.
Sari is the owner of many KPIs and projects. So, to help keep track, he creates a task to review and respond to each note within 2 days. Also, he receives notes from many colleagues across the world in many languages. So first, he has to translate them into English.
Let’s automate all those tasks. Mike creates a note on one of Sari’s KPIs (but this time, in Arabic).
Sari goes to his Trello board, and Mike’s message is in his (Sari’s) task list, with the message translated to English and a due date of 2 days time. This happened by joining Kippy to Trello (for managing tasks) using Zapier (to join it all together).
We won’t go into the details of how Zapier works. But it prides itself on being free to join, easy to set up, with no code, and just a few clicks. The integration was configured in Zapier in just a few minutes with the following 3 steps.
Any new Kippy Notes for any of his (Sari’s) KPIs or Projects trigger the process.
Zapier translated the Note description into English.
Zapier created a Trello task with a due date of +2 days, using the Kippy Note’s subject and translated description.
That’s just one example of a workflow and how one action in Kippy can trigger some transformations and actions in another system. Note that Zapier makes it very easy to join Kippy with thousands of apps in a million different ways.
Another really useful use case is to auto-populate your Kippy instance with live information from your other systems. This automates the push/pull of KPIs in your business, making processes more efficient.
For example, you can create a zap that automatically updates a specific KPI in your Kippy instance every time a new row (information) is added to a Google Sheets spreadsheet.
As you can probably imagine, the zap could be triggered directly by a different system and event (e.g., from your Sales system). You can also get your info from various systems into your Google Sheets first.
You can do this using the “New Actual in Kippy” zap.
First, create a Google Sheet with the following headings.
Next, set up a zap as below.
With the zap running, every time you add a row to the Google Sheet, the KPI is automatically updated in Kippy as below.
Takeaway: Automate workflows and manage your strategy with Kippy
Intelligent process automation can put you on the path to operational excellence. Allowing technology to handle mundane tasks benefits a business in many ways, including increasing efficiency, reducing human error and cost, bringing standardization, etc.
The five ways discussed above will help you automate your business processes - map out your business processes, create SOPs, identify repetitive tasks, prioritize areas to automate, and deploy the business automation solution.
Talking of a business automation solution, Kippy can help with business automation by helping identify and priorize the processes that are related to your key corporate objectives and are therefore, most important to automate and make efficient.
Also, if you want to automate your workflow, and one of the steps involves doing something with Kippy, the Kippy step can be automated. Kippy is a strategy management solution that helps organizations achieve their strategic goals.
Kippy uses Artificial Intelligence to recommend the best KPIs for your objectives. It also helps you automate many workflows based on what matters most.
Ready to have more efficient business processes? Book a demo and see how Kippy can help.