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A Guide to Planning your Business Process Automation Project

Having a robust business strategy during a recession is a fundamental way to overcome the countless challenges that are thrown at today’s business leaders. With the right business recession strategy in place, it is possible for businesses of all sizes and industry specialisms to thrive during a recession and forever changing economic climates. Strategies for business survival during a recession will help you to review what is working for you now, before, during and after a recession.

Preparing IT systems and investing in digital transformation solutions such as business process automation (BPA) software will alleviate the impact that a recession may have on your business and ensure that you are positioned to operate effectively with minimal interruption. Effective planning and implementation of your business strategy during a recession is key to employee retention, sustainability within your marketplace and balancing cash flow.

Business process automation solutions provide organisations with the ability to streamline day-to-day business operations and manual tasks to help them overcome the challenges faced by an economic downturn. Data entry automation removes repetitive and time-consuming, manual data entry tasks from employee workloads, in turn, this results in cost reduction and increased profitability.

Planning a Business Process Automation Project

Business Process Automation (BPA) project management is the process of planning and structuring the implementation of business process automation software throughout a business to streamline workflow processes, reduce administration times and costs, drive company revenue and improve productivity.

Business process automation software provides you with drag and drop tools to quickly and easily build automated processes unique to your organisation through an intuitive drag and drop graphical user interface. Typical capabilities within BPA software include system integration, workflow, report automation and notifications and alerts.

The following steps will help you consider the business requirements and resources available within your organisation, to make your business process automation implementation a success. Additionally, once you have defined your BPA project overview, you will be in a great position to discuss the options and next steps with your chosen BPA software supplier.

Defining your Project Overview

The first step in ensuring that your business process automation project is a success is to detail the key areas of the business that you would like to streamline and improve productivity. Each step needs to align with your overall business strategy, processes and company growth plans. Documenting the departments and processes that you would like to streamline alongside the project goals will help you gain a top-level overview. Typical departments and the objectives or goals that are the basis of an automation project can include:

Accounting and Finance: Requirement to reduce aged debtor days, strengthen cash flow, gain 100% audit trails etc.

eCommerce: Reduce order fulfilment times, remove bi-directional order management tasks, reduce cost of employing seasonal staff, synchronise stock levels and pricing between warehouse and web store etc.

Identify a Project Management Team

Once you have an idea of the areas within your business that you would like to automate and improve through process automation, you will need to establish a BPA Project Management team that will take control of the project. Your project team can include a variety of contributors. However, as a general guide, you should look to form the following three core groups.

  • Users e.g. Directors, management and team members
  • BPA Project Manager(s) to communicate progress between users and IT specialists
  • IT Specialists e.g. IT Manager
Compiling a Business Case

Once you have your project management team in place, the next stage is to put together a detailed description of the business case and the current processing issues that you are planning to resolve. The aim at this stage is to identify key metrics and goals that align with your overall business strategy, processes and growth plans. It is important that your BPA Project Management team is involved in this process and that key points are documented throughout.

This process helps you to prioritise goals and desirables in a structured order. Within your business case include aspects such as department, process(es) and its bottleneck(s), time spent, errors and time lost, costs and systems involved. For example:

eCommerce: Currently the company receives and processes X orders per day, this takes 2 employees X hours to process costing the company £X. Automating the order management process will speed up order to fulfilment times, reduce administration errors and save the company £X in administration costs.

Once your business case has been highlighted, the next stage within the BPA Project management plan is to provide a top-level view of the business processes to be automated. This will help IT specialists to form the project deliverables and identify additional processes that could be automated. Additionally, compile a list of the business systems involved within the business process that you are looking to automate, e.g., ERP, accounting, CRM, eCommerce, WMS etc. This will help you identify system integration requirements, data sources, potential objects and end points.

Business Process Automation (BPA) Project Checklist

Not all aspects of a department or a specific process will need to be automated and outlining your automation project will form the base of your process automation strategy. It will also help you identify the key areas that need to be automated due to large amounts of repetitive data entry or manual processing and the true cost of each manual process. A full checklist of points for consideration that can be included and evaluated during the start of your automation project should include:

  • Business process automation project overview (Goals and Objectives)
  • Build a Project Management Team
  • Compile a business case
  • Top-level view of manual processes to be automated
  • Systems and Applications e.g. ERP, accounting, CRM, eCommerce, WMS etc.
  • Map process flows and describe each process
  • Identify where company and customer data is held
  • Identify data volumes and throughput
  • User training – identify key users of BPA Platform
  • Detail project phases and deliverables

Watch our recent webinar around Business Process Automation

About the Author

Codeless Platforms are the developers of BPA Platform and has a proven track record in BPA Project Management, delivering system integration and automated business processes that help organisations get the most from their data. Its highly skilled workforce offers consultancy, professional services and technical support to end users and its partner channel, providing them with the knowledge and freedom to achieve a fully functional end-to-end solution.

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