Business Process Automation refers to the automation of complex business processes to streamline the flow of data and information within a workplace and make it easy to complete and track repetitive tasks. Admittedly, humans are not great at organizing data or keeping track of workflow processes in order to maximize productivity. Business automation solutions can, therefore, be used to help streamline business processes and provide better real-time process and data management.

Your organization might already be using some level of business process automation. This can be as simple as a shared calendar tool, or as complex as a full-fledged CRM. What you might be missing, however, is a cloud-based business automation solution that provides web-based services that truly help you bind your entire team together and make managing each business more systematic and seamless.

What are cloud-based business automation solutions?

Cloud-based business process automation (BPA) tools are web-based software that can be accessed via any browser. They typically employ a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) operational model which comes without significant upfront investment in license fees or hardware costs. With a cloud delivery model, you pay only for the users that actually use the system and avoid blocking significant capital. 

Depending on the nature of the business and the corresponding requirements, some customization might be required. This can be done with popular industry tools such as Microsoft Dynamics or Salesforce, but smaller and relatively newer BPAs in the market might not offer self-customization.

Why adopt cloud-based business automation solutions?

Cloud-based BPA tools are easy to deploy, easy to learn and take a load off your IT infrastructure. As someone who has worked with the development and marketing of cloud-based BPA for several years, I can share some reasons to use cloud-based BPAs that clients find most attractive.

Here are 7 of the most common reasons to adopt cloud-based business automation solutions.

1. Reduce human error

Humans have a tendency for making a lot of manual errors. From making an arithmetic mistake in calculations to forgetting about entire tasks, or miscategorizing documents and making it very difficult to find them again, there is a lot that can go wrong in a workplace that depends on manual work. A business workflow automation tool will fix many of these issues.

A major concern almost every organization has is the presence of cracks within its workflows. The cracks could be in the form of a lazy salesperson not following up with customers on time, or even a manager miscalculating conversion rates and over-paying commissions to the sales team. There can be cracks within a business workflow, deliberate or otherwise, and which can cost the business useful resources.

A business automation tool makes sure that you minimize errors. Everyone follows defined processes within the system, and the chances of miscategorization or forgetting a step will be greatly reduced.

While any BPA tool would be able to reduce errors, a cloud-based business workflow tool would be more efficient primarily because people would be able to access information and do their part of the workflow from anywhere. Further because of significant cost advantages, all team members can collaborate on a single tool. By bringing all your team on a single workflow tool you would not have to worry about the challenges of scalability and slippages in information sharing which tend to creep in with most desktop or on-premise software solutions.

2. Enhance team productivity

Cloud-based automation tools typically come with productivity tools for task management, time management, communication, collaboration and so on. These tools can be utilized by teams to work more productively by actively monitoring tasks assigned to them, reacting to latest notifications, and proactively managing their time towards better utilization.

Cloud-Based Automation Tools For Team Productivity

For instance, task management tools such as calendar views, daily task lists, etc. can be used to stay ahead of your daily tasks without having to remember anything. Employees can simply check for tasks assigned to them, and complete them according to a priority order within the given time-frame. This makes sure that your team is working on the most important tasks first. 

Teams can also work more productively by actively communicating and collaborating through real-time messaging, document sharing, task assignment and so on.

3. Improve customer satisfaction

In my experience, customers are rarely forgiving and patient. They can change their mind easily, and any mistake your business makes can accelerate that process. If you don’t follow-up with them on time or ask them the same questions redundantly, they may lose interest or consider your business unprofessional.

Accelerate the Process with Improved Customer Satisfaction

Cloud-based BPA tools streamline customer processes, from marketing to customer acquisition to negotiations to deal closure and after-sales services. Each process is logged, and relevant team members can view a history of the customer interacting with your business. This will help support representatives serve customers better and improve customer satisfaction.

4. Get the entire team involved

A good business automation tool gets the entire team (or multiple teams) involved in a project at relevant steps. For example, the marketing team will be able to identify which campaign a particular customer came in through, and what are they most interested in. This information can then be used by the sales team to more proactively work towards closing the deal. Meanwhile, a manager or supervisor will be able to monitor the entire process, assign various tasks to relevant people and so on.

5. Remote work

Cloud-based automation tools allow team members to work from anywhere at any time. An employee might be out of office but not out of the workflow. Enabling access to key information and inputs can enable workflows to be completed without any hiccups or missing any deadlines.  All this can be done without continuous emails or WhatsApp messages. Managers will be able to check up on the progress of their employees even if they’re off-site and not available at the workplace. Off-site employees can still interact with the team and avoid communication delays, thus keeping productivity up.

6. Save capital expenditure

Capital expenditure is a big concern for businesses and requires a lot of justification. You will have to fork our a lot of time and capital to custom develop an automation tool for your business. Further, setting up a tool on your local IT infrastructure also requires a purchase license which is usually very expensive.

Capital Expenditure- biggest concern of businesses

Cloud-based automation tools typically follow a subscription model, where you need to pay per user per month. There’s operational expenditure involved and is only a fraction of the cost. Further, businesses are able to totally avoid high expenditure on hardware costs, which alone may overrun your budget.

7. Reliability and security

The cloud-based architecture provides high reliability, scalability, and security for your applications. Getting the same level of services would be much harder and costly for self-hosted solutions. Cloud-based business automation tools are very reliable in terms of their availability, and security. You will find that most cloud-based solutions are highly scalable and can be modified to suit your changing and increasing business requirements. Furthermore, platform and infrastructure-level security are ensured by the cloud platform provider, leaving you to focus on what you do best.

Final thoughts

The cloud-based business automation market is globally on the rise, and for good reasons. Businesses of all types are increasingly realizing the need for cloud-based solutions to enhance their productivity and streamline their business processes. Subsequently, a lot of cloud-based solutions have also become available in the market. It is entirely up to you to choose the type of automation tool you want. But chances are that once your business starts growing, you will find the need for an advanced automation solution. The converse is also true; since a BPA helps streamline and optimize your business, implementing an advanced BPA will enable you to grow your business.