Automation is a positive way forward for businesses in the coming years. It is ideal for harnessing the full potential of human capital, reducing redundancies at the workplace, and increasing efficiency as the organization's structure and size become increasingly dynamic.
Many companies might have been okay sticking with paper for so long because they didn't see the advantage of converting paper into digital files. But in 2020-21, as the COVID-19 pandemic unleashed its havoc and threatened business continuity, they started to see the benefits of automation.
But to start automating processes, companies must first convert their paper documents to digital and adopt an electronic document management system.
Automate? Yes of course! But make a start with document management
When and what to automate is still a big question mark for enterprise leaders— and they must answer it in convincing and straightforward terms to their business stakeholders and investors. Many businesses have taken the initial steps toward automation by switching from filing cabinets to digital documents and adopting an electronic document management system. Others are still struggling to identify the most tasks that are most suitable for automation or the right expertise to hire for implementation.
Manual tasks and processes in an organization are tedious, time-consuming, and inefficient. The race toward automation is all about optimization at a task level and then building efficient processes or sequences of tasks.
Business process management (BPM) traditionally used data to monitor KPIs, measure performance, and improve operations.
With the advent of automation, BPM witnessed a paradigm shift—moving to digital workflows that simplify tasks and process automation to streamline sequences of multiple tasks.
Understanding workflow automation
Workflow automation routes tasks or activities from person to person to improve the way they work.
It ensures that work progresses efficiently without bottlenecks between employees, across various enterprise-wide systems, and data moves to and from the cloud without breakdowns.
It is focused at the task level and helps to:
- Eliminate unnecessary manual work
- Simplify tasks and accelerate processes
- Automatically assign tasks
- Automatically route data to multiple systems within the organization's IT infrastructure
Workflow automation standardizes tasks, mitigates the risks of human error, and provides accountability. It improves work quality, enables faster decision-making, and provides a competitive advantage over manually-driven businesses. It transforms tedious paper-based, manual tasks into efficient and automated digital workflows.
Workflow automation lays the foundation on which organizations can build automated business processes.
What is process automation?
Process automation is the application of technology to automate sequential, repetitive tasks or sub-tasks. The objective is to achieve excellence in business operations at a macro-level, reducing human intervention in multiple operational tasks needed to complete a project more accurately and efficiently. For example, organizations can automate their recruitment, invoice processing, and customer onboarding processes to improve efficiency. Each of these involves the automation of a series of sub-tasks and workflows.
The key difference between workflow automation and process automation is that process automation is more holistic and uses technology to achieve organizational objectives at a macro level. In contrast, workflow automation focuses on tasks and people—for example, electronically signing a document or automatically routing approvals and authorizations.
Automated workflows ensure that individual tasks are completed efficiently, while process automation optimizes the series of steps required to reach an operational or organizational goal such as customer experience.
Digitize to reap the benefits of automation
According to The World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report 2020, technology adoption will transform jobs, tasks, and skills by 2025, and the time spent on current tasks by humans and machines will be equal. Automation is clearly the way ahead for every organization, no matter the size.
Companies must begin with digitizing business documents and managing them through a sophisticated DMS (document management system) to reap the benefits of automation. Companies with legacy paper documentation must start with backfile conversion (which refers to scanning legacy paper records) and then move to day-forward scanning (which implies daily scanning to maintain paperless operations in real-time).
Document management systems save storage space and reduce clutter. But more importantly, they also help employees find information faster and automate repetitive processes.
A good place to start digitization and automation in any organization is the back office which is labour-intensive and paper-based and needs high data integrity. It is a vital function that supports the administration and growth of any organization. The back office mainly consists of functions like Finance, HR and IT service desks.
For example, IT service desk issues like raising service requests, incident management, and reporting, are highly transactional, repetitive, and routine tasks and require valuable resources to manage them manually. But organizations can harness electronic document management systems and automation to manage customer communication efficiently, route information to the relevant individuals, trigger automated responses, and predictively foresee problems in the process.
Have you switched from paper to digital yet?
DRS Imaging offers a broad range of document digitization and process automation solutions aimed at helping businesses embrace digital transformation.
We are a valuable partner to companies that want to optimize their processes and be future-ready. Take the first step to automation by using our professional scanning services and robust, secure, cloud-based document management solutions.
Mercury, our easy-to-implement enterprise content management system, allows you to manage business information throughout its lifecycle, from creation or capture and classification, through management, to long-term archival or deletion.
DRS helps you transition to the next level of automation with advanced business process automation. Our process automation solutions eliminate paper-based processes, decrease operational costs, increase productivity, and help you achieve compliance with mandatory regulations.
Connect with us to start your automation journey today.