How Software Helps Automate Business Processes

It is generally understood that in order to run a successful operation, the focus should be on increasing value and eliminating waste.  More and more managers are asking how and what they need to change in order to compete in today’s market and excel within their own industries.  “How can we work faster, how do we deliver more value to the customers and how can we be sure that we are working in the most efficient way possible?”  These questions are often asked when confronted with any of the following situations:

  • High costs and error rates due to employee inefficiency and manual processes
  • Duplicate (or late) payments, losing invoices
  • Fines for not having complete and proper documentation for employees (e.g. I-9 forms)
  • Unable to locate documents (auditing or legal purposes)
  • Poor customer service

Today’s market has seen the rise of larger and more complex business practices than ever before.  It has become obvious that manually based processes simply cannot keep up.  As technology continues to change more organizations are making the move to document based process automation.  It both streamlines business processes and generates a greater return on investment.

Essentially, anything done on paper can be done digitally.  Automation has proven to make the entire process practical, accurate, efficient, and accessible.  Businesses in all industries have come to realize that office automation software is not just a convenience, but a much needed element of professional and time-sensitive business practice.  The following examples are common business practices that illustrate the benefits of automation.

Accounts Payable

Without automation:

  • Invoices get printed and are hand delivered to employees.
  • A company can typically process 150 to 200 invoices a week.
  • Some invoices need up to seven signatures and take an average of 20 days to get finalized.

This method makes it easy for work to get stalled and makes it difficult to monitor the status of each invoice in the approval process.

With automation:

Each step in the process is recorded so managers can see how long each step takes. Paper invoices are scanned into an enterprise content management (ECM) system; afterward they are handled electronically. It houses invoices in a windows styled folder structure designated to different employees for review.  As an invoice moves along the review process, the approver receives an email that the invoice is ready and is given a shortcut to the location of the invoice.

Because every step of the process is recorded, managers can easily see the history of each invoice and can monitor the length of each step being made.  Software automation will not only help reduce the number of errors committed, it also informs you when a mistake has been made and needs correction.  The result is a speedier invoice process and a lot of savings on paper related costs.

Contract Management

Without automation:

  • Large corporations often manage hundreds of contracts a year for a vast percentage of its business.
  • It is common for deadlines to be missed, resulting in an increase in fees and penalties that the company has to pay.
  • Contracts are usually printed and distributed through faxes, a process that takes weeks (maybe even months) to fully complete.
  • Employees are used in various departments to track contracts and generate monthly reports on contract activity.

With automation:

Contracts are electronic from start to finish, standardizing all forms. Illegible faxes become a thing of the past and keeps the time used for training at a minimum. Contract routing is prepared automatically, so employees can focus on other tasks rather than photocopying, tracking, or reporting on contracts. It is possible to use Web Access to remotely view contracts making the approval process a matter of days instead of weeks or months.

Human Resources

Without automation: 

Companies hire employees and must process job applications to do so. Without process automation, onboarding can be inefficient, confusing and riddled with errors.  The older business process was the equivalent of handwritten notes and dates on resumes being filed away in a forgotten cabinet. Employees who track the status of every application, face quite a daunting task with each additional candidate.

With automation:

  • Job listings and applications are electronic, creating a streamlined, paperless experience.
  • Cover letters and resumes are uploaded to a standard form,
  • As the application moves through the process, emails are sent automatically to managers for approval.

Conclusion

Software solutions are now affordable and offer fast and quantifiable ROIs.  The automation of business processes evolved from being considered a luxury to a necessity.  Applications and systems have grown larger and more complex, the convention of doing processes manually is considered outdated and gradually impractical.

If you have any particular questions or concerns on how your business can benefit from software automated business processes our team can help.  Our team of experienced and knowledgeable business analysts and software engineers can help address inefficiencies in your company’s document centered process.

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