Digital Process Automation - What Is It & How To Use It
Digital Process Automation (DPA) refers to the use of robotic software automation and artificial intelligence to streamline complex business processes by reducing the number manual processes and the amount of human involvement required to complete a task. DPA deals with event-driven core processes that can be broken into repeatable steps. It is the next logical step in Business Process Management (BPM), driven by organizations’ needs for digital transformation in order to stay competitive.
Forrester Research states: “As organizations undertake digital transformation efforts, an important realization emerges: process matters. Investments in beautifully designed web and mobile experiences won’t move the needle unless application development and delivery (AD&D) professionals ensure that the processes on the back-end align to support a true end-to-end customer experience.”
So, DPA is concerned primarily with “back-office” activities rather than front-facing ones. But, the result of an automated back office leads inexorably to better customer service, regardless of the business type. From finance to healthcare; retail to legal; government to manufacturing digital process automation in back-office activities results in better-served customers.
How does back-office automation improve the customer experience?
Digital Process Automation in the back office has a direct impact on the customer experience. Here are some of the areas where DPA pays huge dividends in customer satisfaction:
- In the customer onboarding experience, filling in forms is tedious and is the largest cause of abandonment when a potential client is trying to open a new account. Using their information to pre-fill fields so the client simply needs to confirm or amend the entries goes a long way toward keeping the client engaged.
- In the accounting office, DPA results in fewer billing errors, with less need for manual corrections.
- In the mailroom, eliminating paper as it arrives speeds mail delivery and begins process workflows immediately, meaning faster handling of orders, inquiries and other customer-centric activities.
There are many other back office functions that can be made more efficient and less error prone, including HR employee onboarding, legal compliance, and more. When it comes to process automation, if it can be reduced to specific, repeatable rules, it can be digitally automated.
While DPA cannot entirely replace the human touch – it can free humans from routine, repetitious tasks and enable them to focus on oversight instead.
How to get started with digital process automation
As with so many other corporate changes, moving from a manual, hands-on process to an automated one requires buy-in from all parties, including those employees whose jobs will be impacted by the new technology. We recommend starting small and scaling up from there. Pick a process that is prone to bottlenecks – that costs in both time and dollars and cents. Often, tedious jobs that tend to have high turnover rates, cost a bundle in retraining costs and lost time for employee replacement. These are the areas that will have the fastest impact on your business.
Once you’ve started with process automation, and see the many benefits, you’ll be looking for other areas where you can unleash the power of digital process automation.