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Guest Blog: Business Process Automation 101

on February 1, 2021 / by Alice Figuerola ,


Read Time 5 Minutes

What can automation do for you?

Automating your repetitive tasks lets you focus on high-priority items.

Leaving those huge, overloaded Excel spreadsheets behind in favor of new software might sound like both a relief and a new challenge in itself, depending on how easy it is for your workers to adapt to change. We at the SilverLogic have overseen transitions such as these for almost a decade, as we work with our clients to design, plan, and implement business automation and reporting software with companies of all sizes. Whether this software takes the form of “robotic process automation” or just a more accessible platform, its main function is to streamline tedious, complicated, or repetitive tasks, reducing the chances of error and integrating with a company’s ideal workflow. Now that we are in the automation era, understanding how automation can help your business succeed is more essential than ever.

 

What is Business Process Automation (BPA)?

What does automation mean in business?

In business, automation can refer to anything as conceptually simple as a piece of software that automatically generates and emails a report to stakeholder, or something as complex as using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to analyze and sort company documents, internally routing them to the correct department. As a whole, business automation tools increase productivity. Our experience helping a wide variety of clients has shown us that optimal automation solutions are unique to each company’s processes, and there are options for development within almost every budget range.

The very definition of “Business Process Automation” (BPA) is flexible to fit this range of practical needs. The term refers to any system or technology in which business processes are automatically managed collectively to improve an organization’s overall workflow — in terms of achieving greater efficiency, adapting to ever-changing business needs, reducing chances of human error, and clarifying job roles and daily responsibilities.

 

What can I automate in my business?

Any company processes involving report generation, scheduling, double-checking data, or very large spreadsheets are immediate excellent candidates for improvement via automation. If a specific process bogs down the company’s workflow to any extent, such as with outdated tech platforms that no longer suit employee’s needs, then BPA may be the perfect solution to increase performance and productivity. It is worth noting that modern Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, allow software developers to integrate your company platforms with each other – including QuickBooks, CRMs, Cloud storage services, etc.

However, while the advantages of intelligently-designed automation software include speed and efficiency, the importance of a human worker to supervise, review, and provide feedback on the work provided by the machine cannot be understated. As the machine is much more efficient than a human is, an incorrect decision programmed into the software can be spread much wider than by a human. For this reason, finding a tech partner who will develop reliable and high-quality BPA software is paramount, as well as proper supervision of its performance.

For instance, our client MailAround required a BPA platform to automatically compile and send postcards to potential clients, to market their service company. And despite the fact that the software we developed runs smoothly and independently, we additionally created a backend platform for employees to control the process, customize the postcards themselves, and tweak settings such as the number and rate of postcards sent within specific time frames. In this way, the company can adjust this marketing campaign to fluctuating budgets or increase its rate in the future.

 

Why is automation important in business?

Business Process Automation assists employees at all levels with a noticeable upgrade in efficiency. Implemented humanely and with feedback from all levels of a business, it maintains internal protocol, improves reporting, and provides reliable information about a company’s workflow, so business leaders can actively see how their business is running.

As another example, our client BodyDetails required a custom CRM (Customer Relationship Management software) to migrate their business processes from pen-and-paper to digital, via one robust, accessible platform. The software we developed tracks detailed sales process analytics, it tracks employee performance through APIs that read online reviews (through the power of data scraping), it tracks earnings and company results. It also upgrades customers’ experiences, with easy session rescheduling and payment processing. Every step of the way, Business Automation can help.

 

Should all companies automate their business?

No. It all depends on what type of company you have and if it is ready to scale its capacity. The SilverLogic develops software that helps companies automate the most repetitive, tedious tasks in our clients’ businesses, like entering line items into a billing system, keeping track of employee on-boarding and certifications, enabling version control for tasks that have multiple employees working on them, or keeping a centralized record of all communications with customers and clients. However, if your company is not ready to scale, it may be worthwhile to wait until you have the means to upgrade properly.

In the case of our client Florida’s Ultimate, for example, upgrading their pipeline with BPA was the next natural step. Their plan was to digitize and automate paperwork for their cargo drivers, supplying electronic tablets to each one, loaded with custom software developed by The SilverLogic. And since, taking signatures from associates, taking photographs for routine cargo inspections, and exporting paperwork to QuickBooks has never been easier. It is all done automatically, instantly, without error. Our Business Automation solution has reduced their time spent filling out and delivering invoice paperwork by a lucrative 75%, allowing their drivers to focus on speedy deliveries and allowing business leaders to expand even more.

 

In-Depth Case Study: ALF Boss

ALF Boss is a resource center for Florida’s Assisted Living Facilities, and is a perfect example of BPA being the perfect solution for a company roadblock. The software we developed with ALF Boss helped increase overall productivity through automation – saving time, money, and headaches.

Florida has well over a thousand assisted living facilities, each one with its own nuances and internal rules and regulations. All of these facilities operate under a standard state license, and they can also add any of three supplemental licenses for extended congregate care (ECC), limited nursing services (LNS), and limited mental health (LMH). Each of these comes with a dizzying array of training and certification requirements for employees.

So, in order to operate safely and legally, an assisted living facility needs to ensure that 100% of its employees are obtaining and maintaining the appropriate required certifications 100% of the time.

Without a centralized way to track these qualifications, their whole pipeline becomes a giant mess. The documentation tends to take place across countless emails and multiple disjointed spreadsheets with multiple owners — it’s a situation ripe for oversights and human errors. And organizations found to be out of compliance with AHCA (even accidentally) face heavy fines and possible closure.

ALF Boss needed a solution that was specific to their needs and had several capabilities not found in any off-the-shelf BA software. ALF Boss needed a system that:

  1. Had all of ACHA’s licensure and certification requirements built in
  2. Knew which employee titles corresponded to which required trainings
  3. Kept track of when these trainings were necessary, when they were completed, and when they were set to expire
  4. Alerted employees and management when a deadline was coming up
  5. Flagged management if anything across their organization was currently out of compliance

By working with us, ALF Boss was able to make this idea happen and create a hyper-specific piece of software that did all of the above and then some.

We hate to hear someone say, “I hate my CRM,” or, “My software doesn’t do [that],” because we know it doesn’t need to be that way. We’re just as excited about Business Automation software as we are about all the interesting consumer-facing products we’ve built over the years, and the power of BPA cannot be understated.

 

Alice Figuerola

Head of Marketing & Business Development

The SilverLogic

Guest Blog: Business Process Automation 101