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How to Have a Client Conversation About Business Process Automation

April 07, 2017

Business process automation (BPA) is a hot topic with enterprises in 2016 and for good reason: By implementing automation on any scale, organizations can, in almost every case, reduce costs, increase revenues or both. Value-added resellers (VARs) have a timely opportunity to speak with their customers about different ways that BPA software can help their businesses increase effectiveness. Here are three points of discussion:

Reducing Costs by Improving Compliance

In order to find out what kind of a compliance tool needs to be automated, VARs should start a discussion with their clients in order to break down requirements into stages. With a general idea of what needs to be automated for compliance purposes, prototypes can be built and trialed for general usability and to see if the software will meet the organization’s needs. Prototypes can typically be implemented at a low cost in a “try it, buy it” scenario and can be used in order to elicit support from key stakeholders. Once the software has been tweaked in order to avoid bottlenecks and problems, VARs can show customers how they can save costs by reducing compliance errors or legal issues. Because the process will be carried out correctly the first time, BPA can also improve revenues.

Expanding Revenue Through Automation

Many companies are still using automation tools that they have outgrown or that do not allow for the job to be done thoroughly and easily. An example of this is a large manufacturing facility that used Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for tracking product lines. Three product managers stored these spreadsheets locally on their computers, and when one made changes, that product manager would update the other two product managers by emailing the latest version to them. As a result, version control was very hard to maintain, mistakes were inevitable, and if more product managers were hired for additional product lines, things became even more convoluted. A VAR showed this organization a way, through BPA, to eliminate the archaic use of spreadsheets and instead implement a Web-based application that controls tasks within product management, virtually eliminating errors and version-control issues and creating a proactive process. As a result, costs were reduced, and there were no more limits on hiring product managers. VARs can easily show a business case for the automation of any manual process in a business in order to reduce errors, free up user time, and decrease costs.

Decrease the Time It Takes to Accomplish Tasks 

Even with automation, tasks can still take way longer than they should to complete. This can cost businesses a lot of money and create planning nightmares. A small distribution company sells Halloween products online; this is its main source of annual revenue. The company used a system to post item descriptions and pictures once they were created and approved. The process, from beginning to end, would normally take six weeks. Problems occurred when last-minute changes had to be made or sale prices were implemented close to the holiday. In order to shorten the tasks required in order to have items posted, a VAR worked with the customer on implementing an automated process in order to expedite the approval and posting tasks, reducing total time by five weeks. This helped improve time to market, which increased revenue, reduced costs by performing tasks faster, and allowed for last-minute changes and sales promotions. Because the company was able to respond to market requirements in a timelier manner, its bottom line increased, easily cost-justifying the expense of the software used in order to automate the process.

VARs that understand the benefits of BPA can speak easily with their clients about this hot topic and help customers find areas in their organizations that can justify improvement. There are areas for improvement in almost any business through BPA, and companies that can reduce costs or improve revenues are likely to continue spending their technology budget with a VAR they trust.