Automating processes – why is it so difficult?

Automating processes

Automating processes, the practice of introducing innovation through technology in an organisation is never straightforward. Many people claim that they love the idea of maximum productivity and efficiency. However, they may be worried that their role will be undermined and could even be made redundant.

This article explores four main reasons why automating processes can be problematic. It also addresses ways that you can manage the change of automating processes, smoothly and fairly.


1- Automating processes: Introducing Change and Managing Change

The main reason for the majority of the issues delaying business process automation initiatives can be down to one simple word, ‘change’. Reason being, change comes with a lot of heavy lifting.

The success of any introduction of automating processes is directly related to the company’s capacity to empathise with employees’ concerns. And, to plan and manage the change, which is usually classed as ‘complex’.

Many experts believe that despite its capacity for innovation and evolution, human nature is hardwired to resist unfamiliar and potentially threatening change. And this includes automating processes in an organisation.

You might be tempted to think staff are reluctant to embrace the challenge of learning new skills because of the increased workload. But, this is actually rarely the case.

It is because as humans, we are anxious about anything where the end destination is unknown. However, the good news is that it is relatively easy to reassure concerned staff. Particularly, about the likely impact of automating processes within a business.

Understanding the threat of complex change is key to success. This is because automating processes involves significant change. This affects not just the physical structure of the organisation. But, the socioeconomic and psychological factors that determine your operation.

Moreover, wise digital leaders understand that change associated with business process automation is personal, emotional and operational.

Employees at companies with fewer than 100 staff are almost three times more likely to say their business digital transformation was a success. That is, in comparison to employees at companies with more than 50,000 employees.

Digital leaders should try to avoid forcing change in a heavy-handed way

automating-processes-intro

Instead, encourage your employees to embrace the complex change. For instance, explain the benefits of business process automation.

Therefore, explain that automating processes will inevitably involve extra training, monitoring, management and updates. However, explain that the extra effort that comes with automating processes will be a worthwhile investment.

Above all, it is key to involve all stakeholders in the process of implementing a new system. Specially, from the beginning of the journey.

For instance, users can become easily overwhelmed by the many uses automation can take to optimise their day-to-day workflows. And because of this, users are unsure on exactly where that they should start when it comes to automating processes.

The best response is to simply compile a list of time-consuming routine tasks. As well as end-to-end workflows that are not working well in which need streamlining.

Simply, identify which processes promise immediate success if they are automated. Not only does this save you time for valuable resources. But, you can also use a practical example to show the advantages of automating processes.

For example, the advantages of automating processes in a supply chain are evidently supported by the rapid economic growth. That is, in the supply chain industry over the last few decades.

The journey to automating processes can be somewhat rocky for some companies, but it doesn’t have to be. Effective planning and approaches to change management are crucial in achieving success in your next business process automation project.

In fact, digitally mature companies are 23% more profitable than their less digitally sophisticated peers.


2- Solutions available for automating processes are designed for developers

Although there are many low code solutions in the market, they still require a substantial amount of programming. Namely, to enable automation of end to end complex business processes.

Many examples in the business sector reveal a gap between those who define which processes to automate and those who implement and programme these processes in software.

It is this gap that has divided business and IT for the past 50 years. In the opinion of many industry experts, removing this rift is the most significant potential benefit of no-code solutions.

On the other side there isn’t enough IT talent out there to meet the ever-growing digital transformation demands. Business users, knowledge workers have to wait months or years to implement new systems.

Bridging the gap to automating processes successfully

To close this gap, no-code business process automation solutions should be used. Moreover, solutions that automate processes without the need for software programming. We are at a time where the marketplace is filled with misleading claims about no-code, low-code, and easy-code digital solutions.

Hence, we must understand why no-code is a good viable option. More clearly, a better option for automating processes.

In the age of digital change, a lot has been written about automating processes and business process automation. Although every company approaches things a little differently, there are several general factors to keep in mind.

Especially when it comes to implementing improvements quickly and efficiently. And more importantly, achieving the intended results and end-goals.

After all, the digitisation and automation of business operations should not be an end in itself. Or an attempt to follow a current trend. It should make daily life more comfortable and achieve competitive advantages.

For IT professionals, no-code solutions allow them to focus on defining processes and workflows and optimising them easier and faster. Thanks to – among other things – to real-time monitoring.


3- The need for flexible business process automation solutions

Solutions available out there for automating process are usually not flexible enough to adapt to each business’ unique requirements.

Companies rather than adapting software to their need, they are adapting their needs to what software can offer.

Firstly, there are numerous off-the-shelf solutions from which to choose. Inevitably, the software platform you choose will depend on your specific requirements.

Most people choose a platform that is capable of solving the majority of their problems. So, if you need to keep track of business opportunities, a CRM system could be the best option. If you would like a package that manages the entire company, including forecasting, an ERP system might fit better.

The problem with either of these choices is that they are designed to address generic issues faced by many businesses. Therefore they don’t necessarily address your specific requirements. In practice, this means that as well as the licence fee, you’ll probably need to spend a considerable amount of costs for maintenance.

That is, on consulting from the provider to adapt their software to your needs. And there is still a strong chance that you’ll even need other spreadsheets and systems..

However, if you need a bespoke solution you will need a flexible business process automation platform. One that addresses the gaps between people, systems and processes, removing all manual tasks.

A flexible business process automation system is an investment of time and money

investment-automating-processesThere are significant benefits to having your business processes created for you in-house. Still, to get the optimal results; you will need to spend a certain amount of time and money to make it work.

With a no-code business process automation platform like Kianda , business users, knowledge workers can automate processes without limitations.

In other words, users with or without programming skills can do most of the heavy lifting. Additionally, they can work closely with the business and IT teams to ensure the business process workflow works for your business. Especially at the start of the project.

This will involve not only the leadership of the company, but other vital stakeholders too.

The benefits of a flexible business process automation system

The main benefits of a flexible business process automation system are improved efficiency and in-house control.

A custom piece of software configured with your exact needs streamlines workflows. Meaning, processes simplify, issues resolve, and departments connect. Information flows freely between teams. And management get the birds-eye view they need to make vital decisions via customizable dashboards.


4- Employees are terrified that automating processes will lead to redundancies

People are afraid and think they will lose their jobs due to automating processes. But this is far from the case. In essence people can skill up by using low-code or no-code automation technologies.

According to a recent Demos survey, 35% of Britons feel their job is at risk from artificial intelligence and business process automation.

Digitalisation is on the rise in response to the current pandemic. Hence why easy to use business process automation platforms are becoming more and more attractive.

Another point is the worries many employees have about their workplace when they hear the phrase business process automation. While optimising numerous tasks through increased automation can justify downsizing, most companies take advantage of business process automation to get projects done faster, promising quicker ROI. They gain additional productivity by releasing employees from tedious routine tasks.

Automating processes can be particularly useful in sectors like manufacturing, where workers carry out strenuous labour. Machines can reduce the load, alleviating physical strain. Simply, by performing routine tasks, freeing employees to do more skilled and interesting work.

56% of CEOs claim that digital transformation has increased profits.

This does not mean that there’s not a prominent place for business automation in less strenuous roles. That is, from employee onboarding to company spending requests. Subsequently allowing employees to spend their time more effectively. Businesses need to emphasise that this doesn’t mean employees are redundant – instead, they will be required for more fulfilling and challenging tasks.


Looking forward…

89% of businesses have plans to adopt a digital-first business strategy.

Rather than feeling that machines are being installed to take over their jobs, employees can see business process automation as an additional benefit. Solely because, automating processes enable daily tasks to run more smoothly and quickly.

Let your team know that the future of work isn’t one where robots are coming to replace them. Albeit, one where technology will be on hand to help and work alongside people.

Would you like to see how Kianda business process automation platform can help you begin automating processes?

Request your live demo today!


Derya SousaAuthor: Derya Sousa COO of Kianda Technologies 
Holding vast experience working closely with companies to operate paperless, delivering custom business applications rapidly with no-code digital process automation platform Kianda.

Kianda is a business process automation platform that allows companies to digitalise and streamline their processes with easily built online forms and workflows.

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business process automation (BPA) explained

Have your teams reached capacity? Business process automation (BPA) is here to help. And is definitely here to stay! Moreover, as COVID-19 appears to be sticking around for much longer than expected, digital transformation through business process automation becomes more urgent.

Rather than a future prospect, shall we say. 

In a matter of weeks and on a global scale, many organisations literally bulldozed into digital transformation. Simply just to implement remote working, to continue business throughout the pandemic.

With that said, in a study conducted by Gartner, 82% of leaders in business will continue allowing employees to work from home, post-crisis. So, even though remote working was initially a last-minute decision for business continuity purposes, it will be considered the norm for many going forward. And business process automation will be key for many to successfully continue remote working strategies.

Today, many digital leaders cannot see how businesses would have survived COVID-19 up until now. That is, without digital technologies like no code business process automation. 

On another note, as the global economy tries to minimize the impact of the epidemic, businesses are finding it difficult to predict supply and demand.

Some strong organisations face weakened demand on the contrary to being market leader’s pre-crisis. On the other hand, some are facing unexpected, plummeting demand. 

Digital transformation and business process automation will play a significant role in the next couple of months. Specifically, a role in how businesses will weather these extreme and unforeseen market shifts. Moreover, optimising business process management (BPM) provides opportunities for businesses to regain control. In particular, automating processes will accelerate productivity for those who are struggling with demand that caught them by surprise.


business process automation (BPA) / business process management (BPM)What is Business Process Automation (BPA)? 

Most people think business process automation “steals their jobs”… But as a matter of fact, BPA actually makes your work-day and overall job easier.  

To simply define, business process automation uses technology to replace manual, repetitive tasks by automating them. The purpose of BPA generally comes down to organisations being able to create more value per work.

Business process automation provides capabilities to take away human intervention from time-consuming, repetitive tasks and automates those laborious tasks. By doing so, employees can then focus on other tasks that require their knowledge, skills and experience. Subsequently, adding more value to business processes. 

Digital leaders like you primarily choose business process automation to correct any inefficiencies caused by current methods. That is, by digitally transforming them to mitigate risk of issues arising.

In other words, BPA allows operations to scale better than before. As a result, organisations can reap benefits derived from automating processes. For example, cost efficiencies and productivity increases. Also, improving employee and customer satisfaction and reducing risk of bottlenecks and delays.

Business process automation can be either a self-contained action to autonomously improve several business processes. Or, it can be part of a much larger movement within business operations.

Types of Business Process Automation (BPA) – BPI, BPE, BPM

    1. Business Process Improvement (BPI) is where a particular process is re-evaluated to see where inefficiencies lie. In particular, it is the analysis, review and improvement of a business process to maximise efficiency. Business analysts, digital innovation leaders or IT specialists might map out a business process. Then, pinpoint any issues, re-design it to a good standard of quality and report on key metrics to see if it has been successful.
    2. Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is quite similar to BPI as it does focus on analysing, reviewing and improving a business process. However, rather than just re-designing the process, BPR actually strips the process to nothing. And, re-builds it from the ground up. Business process reengineering is particularly sought when a company’s goal is to cut cost and improve quality, productivity and profitability. 
    3. Business Process Management (BPM) on the other hand differentiates from BPI and BPR as it is an on-going process, rather a onetime initiative. BPM focuses on continuously improving steps in business processes or else the process as a whole. Automation plays a significant role in improving quality of business process management. Simply, as it speeds up processes, getting work done faster and more efficient.

business process automation eliminates paperIn short, BPA specifically focuses on getting rid of out-dated methods and insufficient systems. And replaces them with a robust business process management system (BPMS). Such as a no code business process automation platform, like the one Kianda offers.

So, if you are like most and feel like spreadsheets, emails and paper are making your job harder, read on. 


3 key benefits of optimizing business processes with an efficient BPMS

Increase valued, productivity and profitability;

The more time it takes for a task to be completed, the more it costs the company. To be clear, employees are being paid for their hours of work. Tedious, time-eating tasks, can be completed at a faster pace with business process automation.

Subsequently, more value is created per work with BPA. And in turn, productivity and profitability goes up. In addition, eliminating boring, repetitive tasks keeps employee’s engaged and motivated. Especially, when they are doing more work that requires their knowledge and skills. That in itself is rewarding.

Minimizes risk of human error; 

Mistakes are easy to make for even the most punctual and smart employees. Certainly, when tasks are carried out manually. Daily repetition almost makes us feel like we are robots completing a task.

For instance, as a HR manager, you might be approving holidays requests manually. Because of this, you can frequently overlook important information. But, with a digital holiday request workflow you don’t need to fear that you have made a mistake. Business process automation reduces our mistakes. Simply, enabling us to do our work efficiently. And without having to second guess ourselves.

Improves employee collaboration; 

BPA enables teams to collaborate in a central place. With remote working becoming more ingrained into our current roles, efficient employee collaboration is key. Emails sent back and forth, spreadsheets being passed around… It is not good enough anymore.

Employee’s need to be able to communicate fast and effective. With Kianda platform, teams can easily do this. As an example, all data is centralized in one place. This allows access to all stakeholders involved in a particular process. Information is just a click away.

automating business process managementAnd that’s not all. Business process automation allows you to eliminate paper in your organisation. This reduces the need for space to store paper documents and equipment (e.g. storage cabinets).

Also, automating business process management assists in audit trails. Digital processes are reliable and easy to track, reinforcing company policies and accountability. Simply because, you can see who did what, when and how. 


Popular use-cases of Business Process Automation

There are many use-cases out there that can be streamlined with a business process automation platform. We’ve compiled a list of processes that our customers have successfully automated with Kianda below. However, if you are struggling to identify a use-case in your organisation, we would love to help! 

Approval Workflows; Budget Approval, Contract Document Approval, Purchase Order (PO) Approval

QHSE Forms; Site Inspections, Incident Reporting, Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA)

Human Resources (HR); Employee Onboarding, Employee Appraisals, Employee Leave Requests


Why would you want to automate business process management (BPM)?

Digital transformation is not a choice anymore.

In a bid to combat challenges of COVID-19 and to stay in line with competitors, digital transformation is a must have. Up until now, implementing business process automation was considered a competitive advantage. However, remote working is being made mandatory for many organisations worldwide. And BPA goes a long way with aiding remote working strategies.

While some businesses work from home on a short-term basis (until the pandemic eases), multiple enterprises are to continue remote working as an option. 

Although COVID-19 forcefully implemented remote-working, it has had a tremendous shift in the way we all work today. Many business models are under re-construction. Whereby digital transformation will play a centre-stage role. Moreover, a business process management system (BPMS) is essential for organisations to come back to full health. And at a fast pace. That way, they can minimize impact on business caused by the pandemic.

After all, what would we have done without digital technologies these past couple of months?

We are here to help you kick-start your digital transformation journey!

See how Kianda can help you by requesting a free live demo. 

Request your live demo

Related articles:

Remote working: Why digital process automation is the key enabler for working from home

5 Core Business Processes You Should Automate to Increase Agility