As organizations today attempt to control costs, elevate the customer experience, and improve the structure within their organizations, executives are turning toward business process automation (BPA) in order to improve alignment and stream functions. With many businesses still performing complex, labor-intensive tasks manually, the objective is to automate as many manual processes as possible. Each industry has different needs for BPA, and benefits can vary from increased consistency and reliability to decreased turnaround times and costs. Let’s take a look at three major industries and the real-life benefits they gain from automating business processes:
A small hospital in a rural US town was overwhelmed with paperwork, especially since healthcare reform had significantly increased the number of insured patients. This hospital had been using paper records and filing cabinets since its founding and had recently updated its computer system for other reasons, but realized that its handling of manual documents needed to be automated as well. The hospital determined that its key issues included needing the ability to scan and then modify existing forms, ease of mapping, and forms on demand. The hospital formed an active forms review committee in order to carefully examine the more than 500 forms that were currently in use facility-wide. The committee found that the hospital needed to be able to customize forms as required because the forms were not serving the hospital well in their existing format. The committee implemented a forms process audit solution and started with the hospital admissions form. The 23-part form had labels and special-services notes sections and was used for all patients. Once this form alone was eliminated, the hospital was able to show an annual savings of $62,000. In addition, the hospital realized significant savings in eliminating the order time and storage demands of this complicated, preprinted form.
2. Engineering and Consulting
A large US engineering and consulting firm was growing by significantly and had found that its business processes were not keeping up with its requirements. Information storage had become fragmented and lacked consistency among departments. With the lack of clear, consistent processes and workflows, operating efficiency was being negatively impacted. The organization was also interested in recreating its legacy internal portal by building a home page for each division and a customer portal with centralized, system-wide document storage. With the implementation of a workflow process solution and a CRM platform, the company was able to meet its goals of having a centralized, searchable, and filterable storehouse for job-related documents, using automated workflows in order to generate and follow new records and automating “processes within processes,” such as providing system notifications to an employee that alert him or her to a new project or job assignment. The bottom line is that this firm now enjoys document consistency and visibility company-wide.
A high-volume municipal courthouse that processes about 350,000 cases per year had been using a master calendar for scheduling. Processes prior to automation were labor-intensive and resulted in many errors. Over time, the courthouse implemented a case management system that automates much of the work done in the courthouse. The main objective of new systems included the integration of case and financial management functions, automation of as many of the manual processes as possible, and a method of dealing with fluctuating criminal and traffic-offense codes. BPA resulted in approximately 80 percent of cases being heard on the first trial date. Metrics were established for evaluation of changes. A contact center, case management system, and financial management systems were also implemented, saving time and expense and reducing error.
Value-added resellers (VARs) that have an understanding of BPA solutions for different types of industries will be able to successfully help their customers save time and money, as well as improve productivity and consistency. As a result, VARs will be successful in their own right, especially if they are able to focus on a handful of industries in order to become experts in their needs.
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