Business process automation development projects hold the power to bring major benefits to a company, its employees and its productivity levels. Also known as BPA, business process automation is a form of Digital Transformation that involves the development of technology that is architected to perform a specific function or workflow. By removing humans from the equation, you can achieve exceptional accuracy and efficiency.
But as you’re automating workflows and processes, there is always a chance that something can go wrong, resulting in negative consequences or even a downright bad outcome for the project. This can leave you wondering, “What are the most serious business process automation risks?” and “How can you avoid a bad outcome for a process automation project?” Fortunately, when you understand the risks and potential pitfalls, you’ll be well-positioned to take actions that will help you avoid challenges while simultaneously maximizing the chances of success.
Business Process Automation Risks: A Flawed Process
As you gear up for the start of a BPA development project, you’ll need to outline the exact steps that comprise the process that the developers will be automating. But if you skip an important step or if there is a misunderstanding surrounding one or more steps in the process, you could end up with an automation that just doesn’t perform properly or as expected. If this occurs, your developers will need to return to the drawing board to make modifications to the process flow; then, your automation software will need to be updated to reflect these changes.
This sort of error can be downright devastating to a project’s timeline and budget. Depending upon the complexity of the process that you’re automating and the nature of the modifications that are required to make things right, you could be looking at significant cost overruns, in addition to weeks — or even months — of additional BPA development time.
Luckily, this is a pitfall that can be avoided by taking the time to engage in an in-depth discovery process. A thorough discovery process is critical to a project’s success and the best process automation developers will emphasize collaboration as they flesh out the technical requirements document for your project. If your developer seems to skim past the discovery process and fails to take the time to really understand your processes and workflows, you may be well-served to take your business elsewhere. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a bad situation down the road.
Frequent meetings are also essential for preventing a BPA project from going off the rails. Each meeting serves as a touch point; an opportunity to realize that the project is headed in the wrong direction. For this reason, it’s important that you select a Digital Transformation developer that values collaboration and frequent client check-ins.
Business Process Automation Risks: Automating the Wrong Process in the Wrong Way
Never automate for the sake of automating. You need to automate in a way that brings a tangible benefit, such as improved efficiency, better speed and improved accuracy. If you automate for the sake of automating, you may fail to see a real ROI. This point can be illustrated by looking to the smart home movement. Lots of homeowners went out and purchased smart bulbs when they were first released. But these bulbs were glitchy and they regularly disconnected from the smart home network. Homeowners were left to re-network and reconfigure their lights and their Alexa devices on a regular basis. When all was said and done, maintaining these smart bulbs required far more time, money and effort than expected. In the end, most found it was much easier to simply flip an old school light switch. The same concept can be true of business process automation. You must take a strategic approach that focuses on benefits, lest you you automate the wrong processes or automate a process in the wrong way.
Business Process Automation Risks: Scope Creep
Scope creep represents a very real and serious business process automation risk — one that often occurs as a result of a failed discovery process. Like the aforementioned risk, scope creep can arise when a developer fails to gain a full and complete understanding of your company’s workflows and processes. Then, when it comes time to start developing a process automation software, you ultimately realize that the original project scope is insufficient. This results in a broader-than-expected scope, which, in turn, leads to increased costs and a longer project timeline — both of which can cause significant issues for you as a client.
To avoid scope creep, you must have an in-depth discovery process, a detailed requirements document and your developer must take the time to fully understand your needs as a client, both from a technical perspective and from an operational perspective. Again, it all comes down to collaboration and good communication if you’re going to avoid business process automation risks like scope creep.
Business Process Automation Risks: Failing to Optimize Processes and Workflows
A business process automation project serves as the ideal opportunity for you to assess the process flow. This is the time to identify areas where you can make improvements that will increase efficiency and productivity. The project’s ROI is highly likely to fall short of expectations if you automate a flawed or subpar process.
To avoid this challenge, your process flow needs to be evaluated and optimized before you start development. Fortunately, this is a fairly straightforward remedy, but it’s one that you’ll need to address early in the game to avoid project delays or cost overruns.
Business Process Automation Risks: Failing to Map Out Dependencies
A process rarely stands alone. Dependencies exist within virtually every process flow and these must be carefully mapped out and considered as you create your development plan.
Whether it’s a legacy system or third-party platforms that require integration, you’ll need to identify all mission-critical dependencies in your project’s requirements document. This will help you to avoid breakdowns and unexpected consequences when the time comes to put your business process automation solution to work.
Additionally, you must consider whether you’re automating the right processes for the right reasons. You’re not going to find success — or a suitable ROI — if you’re automating for the sake of automation. Take some time to really consider why you’re automating a specific process flow and whether the investment is likely to generate an acceptable ROI.
Achieving a Solid ROI With Business Process Automation
Finding the right process automation development partner is essential in the recipe for success, whether you’re a brand new startup or a well-established corporation. To achieve your Digital Transformation goals using process automation, you’ll need an experienced team that knows how to develop technologies that will capture your unique processes and workflows, while simultaneously improving efficiency and productivity.
At 7T, we take a collaborative approach to enterprise development projects. We engage the client from the discovery phase to deployment. Our many Digital Transformation service offerings include process automation solutions, enterprise software development for ERP and CRM systems (among others), along with SaaS development for web apps and mobile apps, amongst others. We work extensively with cutting-edge technologies as we strive to help clients solve pain points, improve efficiency and achieve their business goals.
We’re guided by the approach of “Digital Transformation Driven by Business Strategy.” As such, the 7T development team works with company leaders who are seeking to solve problems and drive ROI through Digital Transformation and innovation. We then provide collaborative, multi-phased and impactful Digital Transformation solutions.
7T has offices in Dallas, Houston and Austin, but our clientele spans the globe. If you’re ready to learn more about Digital Transformation and what we can do for your business, contact 7T today.