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Monday, 28 December 2015

What is Business Process Automation?


business process automation graphicWhat is business process automation (BPA) software? What kinds of business processes can be automated? Can BPA software perform routine office tasks?
These are just a few common questions people have about BPA software. Here is a simple, concise explanation of BPA, which will answer all these questions and more.

What is business process automation?

Business process automation comes in many forms, from literal assembly lines in the auto industry to self-service gas station pumps. Laserfiche focuses on document-based process automation. Basically, anything that is done on paper can be done digitally with Laserfiche.
But this isn’t just about replacing your stacks of files with PDFs—automation aims to make the entire process more cost-efficient, streamlined, error-proof and accessible. Automation is the administrator that knows what every department needs, produces every document as it’s needed and never takes a vacation.
Now let’s see some examples. Below are three common business practices and how they are performed with and without automation.

Accounts Payable

Example: Pebble Limited Partnership, a mining company based in Alaska
Without automation:
accounts payable iconThe company processed 150 to 200 invoices every week. Each invoice had to be printed and hand-delivered to employee after employee. Some invoices required up to seven signatures and took 22 days to become finalized. It was easy for work to get stalled, and difficult to monitor the status of each invoice in the approval process.
With automation:
Paper invoices get scanned into an enterprise content management (ECM) system; after that, they are handled electronically. A Windows-style folder structure houses the invoices, which get designated to different employees for review. Each time an invoice advances in the review process, the approver receives an email that the invoice is ready, along with a handy shortcut to the invoice.
Every step of the process is recorded so approvers can see the history of each invoice, and managers can see how long each step takes. Fewer errors are made because the system automatically populates several fields of information; it can also tell when a mistake has been made and sends the error to an AP technician for correction.
Pebble Limited Partnership now processes its invoices significantly faster and saves $8,300 a year on paper-related costs.
Click here to get the complete guide to accounts payable automation.

Contract Management

Example: Corporate Commission of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians
Without automation:
contract management iconThe Corporate Commission managed about 500 contracts a year for its 12 businesses that ranged from hotels to gas stations. Deadlines were frequently missed, resulting in 10-15% fee increases. Contracts were printed and distributed via fax, a process that took weeks and sometimes months to complete. Administrative assistants were needed in each department to route the contracts and generate monthly reports on contract activity.
With automation:
Contracts are electronic from start to finish, meaning forms are standardized. As a result, scanning costs are eliminated, illegible faxes are a thing of the past and training time is kept to a minimum. Contract routing is done automatically, so administrative assistants no longer have to photocopy, track, or make reports of contracts.
To support contract automation, approvers use Laserfiche Web Access to remotely view contracts; now the approval process takes three days or less, instead of weeks to months.
The Corporate Commission has realized that office automation software is not just a convenience, but a necessary component of professional and time-sensitive business practice.

HR Onboarding

Example: LaserWorks
Without automation:
human resources iconLaserWorks is a hypothetical company developed by Laserfiche. Like any existing company, it hires employees and must process job applications to do so. Without process automation, onboarding can be as inefficient as handwriting notes and dates on resumes and stuffing them in a file cabinet. At best, a dutiful HR employee tracks the status of every application, a task that becomes more daunting with each additional candidate.
With automation:
Job listings and applications are electronic, meaning HR employees and prospective applicants enjoy a streamlined, paperless experience. Cover letters and resumes can be uploaded to an electronic form, which is routed to the recruiter once submitted. As the application moves through the process, emails are sent automatically to managers for approval.

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