According to estimates, over 70% of all Fortune-1000 companies will adopt business process automation by the end of 2022. It is no wonder that this is one of the fastest-growing software and business categories this year. Business automation comes with numerous benefits, but that does not mean it does not have its challenges. According to analysts and market research, here are the major business automation challenges businesses are likely to face.
Choosing the Processes to Automate
Blanket automation has already been shown to be the wrong way of going about things. Blanket automation is where businesses turn over processes to software and robots so they can replace humans and lower business costs that way. Research has shown the best returns on investment are seen when businesses automate their processes to be quicker, more reliable and produce higher quality results. By doing so, businesses can free their creative employees to do something else that benefits the business instead of concentrating on repetitive, menial tasks that can be automated. The bottom line is that businesses must not only know which processes need to be automated but also choose the right processes to automate. Doing so drives better ROI and value.
Regulatory and Business Constraints
Large organizations find that automation often clashes with regulatory and business constraints. This makes automation unviable especially if it interferes with these constraints. Automating processes that are directly linked to regulations, policies, and controls that change all the time have to be studied, analyzed, and then changed so they can fit the business and ensure it stays compliant. Business leaders can either decouple critical business processes affected by these constraints from automation or try to better connect the two. This is especially important in heavily regulated businesses and industries.
Switching from Legacy to Modern Systems
One of the solutions businesses need for process automation is business software. The one problem businesses might face when automating their processes is switching from legacy to modern systems. These systems might have been in use for such a long time that businesses find it hard to switch over for several reasons. One of these is familiarity. Employees might already be so familiar with these systems that they require retraining to use the new business processes. For example, a business that uses manual filing systems might have to train employees on how to use cloud-based filing systems that allow collaboration and come with numerous other benefits.
The other reason is cost. Buying new software or subscribing to it can be quite expensive for businesses switching to software solutions as part of their automation process. Choosing the software you want to use as part of your new dispensation is usually the easy part as all you have to do is align your requirements to the software that helps you deal with those requirements. Businesses can reduce costs by moving to Software-as-a-Service solutions, but these can still be quite expensive. To help reduce costs further, businesses can use vendor management services. These services take care of negotiating SaaS prices for your business so the solutions you pick are affordable. This vendor management service by Vendr, for example, can save your business thousands of dollars in SaaS costs. Vendr negotiates the best SaaS prices for the software you need so you can keep things moving instead of being bogged down by the cost.
Failing to Optimize Before Automating
Automating before optimizing robs businesses of the opportunity to improve processes by identifying areas where there is waste and eliminating it. This challenge can get worse in cases where optimization is done using automation software which causes a strain on the technical and software systems required to do the optimization. The challenge here is for businesses to find ways to optimize their processes before automating them. They also have to find ways this can be done autonomously in the future to eliminate time, money, and personnel wastage.
Data Transfer Volumes
When automating processes such as filing systems and team collaboration, existing data has to be transferred to the new system. For businesses that have been in existence for a while, this can mean huge amounts of physical data that need to be transferred over. This process is usually lengthy, tedious, and very expensive. Additionally, there is always the chance of human error during the transfer due to the amount of work involved.
The higher the rate of error, the costlier it will be to rectify these issues not to mention how time-consuming it will be. The good news is that there is software to help with these while also helping eliminate expensive and time-consuming errors. Businesses can also take advantage of document management systems that come with many process automation software options and systems.
Business automation might mean embracing digitization and everything it entails, but there are challenges businesses should be aware of. By knowing these challenges exist, businesses can take the necessary measures to rectify them.