The biggest mistake that companies make with business process automation (BPA) is rushing into it.
Many companies get excited about automating their processes. So, they attempt to do too much – too fast – and skip critical steps. For example, they might buy off-the-shelf software that promises to do the job quickly but fails to solve their unique challenges.
Or, they might automate a process but forget to optimize it before they move to the next one. Then, each area of their business that is impacted by the process runs into pitfalls.
3 Keys to a Successful BPA Project
BPA requires you to put the proper processes and change management into place. If you take shortcuts or use a cookie-cutter solution, your BPA implementation could fail to meet your business objectives.
Here are three steps that you must take to keep your BPA project on track:
1. Know your starting point.
You’ll likely set goals before you start a BPA project. For example, you may want to shorten your onboarding cycles or boost the efficiencies in your finance department.
Many companies design their BPA processes with their end state in mind. While getting clear on your goals is a vital step, you also must know where to begin. After all, you can’t reach your final destination unless you first enter a starting point into your GPS.
The first step in a BPA project is assessing your current state. As you perform your existing processes, note any gaps or inefficiencies. Also, get clear on why you want to automate each process. What challenges would you like to overcome? What areas of the business will benefit from automation? How does automating this process tie into your business objectives and future BPA plans?
2. Get your team on-board.
BPA impacts your entire company – not just a single process or department.
To succeed with BPA, you need effective change management to ensure that everyone is on-board and committed. In particular, you must get two groups of people on board: employees and line-of-business (LOB) owners.
How to address employee concerns about automation
Employees often have fears about BPA. They might worry that they could lose their jobs to automation. If you send out a random email saying that automation is coming, people might panic.
To engage employees, you must explain the following:
- Why you are changing
- What processes you are automating
- How these changes will improve the business
- What you expect from everyone
Also, reassure employees that automation won’t put them out of a job. Instead, focus on how BPA will make their lives easier. For example, they can spend less time on mundane administrative tasks and more time on exciting projects that can help them move ahead in their careers.
Why you must engage LOB sponsors
Many companies have special BPA project teams. These teams often exist in silos and create processes without getting input from the right LOB sponsors.
LOB owners have in-depth knowledge about their teams, processes, and challenges. If you don’t engage them, you will miss important items. When you automate an HR process, bring in the VP of HR as an executive sponsor. You should also get input from HR managers and other people who perform the processes. That way, you can ensure that your BPA project gives them the results that they need.
It’s also important to keep your communications open and ask for feedback – whether you are engaging employees or LOB owners. After your BPA project gets underway, schedule regular check-ins with all impacted groups.
3. Choose the right partner
Automating your business processes is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.
Each business has unique challenges that their BPA designer must address. The right partner will create a solution that is customized to your goals and processes. In fact, your partner can make all the difference in your BPA project’s success.
Look for a partner who will help you achieve your current and future business goals. They should take a holistic view of your BPA project and understand that your processes don’t live in silos. Each process can create a ripple effect that impacts other areas of your business. Choose a partner who has extensive experience designing for complex BPA projects, as well as success metrics from previous clients.
And finally, choose a partner who will walk with you every step of your BPA journey. Many vendors pack up and leave immediately after implementation. Look for someone who will be there after the implementation to ensure that your new processes work the way you want them to work.
Companies that try to implement BPA by themselves run into problems. They may think that they can take on a BPA project but then later find that they don’t have the time, resources, or in-house expertise to succeed.
You can avoid headaches by engaging an experienced partner at the start of your project. A partner can keep your BPA project on time and on budget – while ensuring that you achieve your goals.
Discover how other Canadian companies are streamlining their processes and succeeding with BPA: Visit www.RicohChangeMakers.ca.