The concept of business process automation has long been seen as a luxury reserved primarily for large enterprises.
The logic makes sense: the larger the business, the more repeated “processes” it deals with on a daily basis. More employee paperwork, more billing transactions, more email notifications, more everything.
Traditional business process management solutions—BPM if you prefer corporate jargon—are often thought to be quite expensive and complex. You may have heard of massive centralized systems, deployed by an army of IT staff and consultants, which can only be justified in large enterprises with enough revenue to reap the benefits of increased efficiency down the line.
But like so many other things, the steady advance of technology has leveled the playing field when it comes to process automation. Smaller organizations can now pick and choose areas of their business to automate without an exorbitant upfront investment. The trick is knowing where to start.
By taking a step back and looking at where your employees are spending their time, you’ll often find that a disproportionate amount is dedicated to repeated, even menial tasks. By identifying these workflows within your organization that can be streamlined or automated, you can not only save time and free up your teams to focus on more strategic work, but also reduce human error in the process.
Here are three areas to focus on first:
While the previous examples focus on specific lines of business, document management is an issue that impacts everyone within an organization. It also may not seem like an area in immediate need of improvement when it comes to workflow. You likely have a way of managing information within your organization that seems perfectly adequate.
The challenge for many companies lies in the fact that their processes for document management often haven’t kept up with the changing ways in which we work. The previously mentioned IDC study found that nearly half of employees spend 50 percent or more of their time working from non-traditional locations. These workers need to be able to access key information from wherever they are, which is easier said than done if it’s sitting in a filing cabinet or an internally networked drive.
Implementing a document management solution can ensure that your employees have access to the files they need, when they need them. Technologies like this can also cut down on version control problems and provide an audit trail if something goes awry. Taking control of the way documents move through your organization will ultimately make your business more efficient and secure.