Simon Wybrow (right) is the Digital Marketing Manager at Codeless Platforms and has been working in the software industry since 2011. Codeless Platforms is a strategic partner of Seidor providing SAP Business One integrations. 

Businesses are being forced to change as we enter the recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Having a robust business strategy during a recession is a fundamental way to overcome the countless challenges that are thrown at today’s leaders. But with the right strategy in place, it is possible for organisations of all sizes and industry specialisms to thrive during a recession and forever changing economic climates.

Preparing IT systems and investing in digital transformation solutions, such as business process automation (BPA) software, will alleviate the impact that a recession may have on your business and ensure that you are positioned to operate effectively with minimal interruption. Effective planning and implementation of your business strategy during a recession is key to employee retention, sustainability within your marketplace and balancing cash flow. Here’s some tips on how best to plan a business process automation project in your organisation.

Planning Your Project

Business process automation solutions provide organisations with the ability to streamline day-to-day operations and manual tasks to help overcome the challenges faced by an economic downturn. Data entry automation removes repetitive and time-consuming tasks from employee workloads and in turn results in cost reduction and increased profitability.

BPA project management is the process of planning and structuring the implementation of business process automation software throughout a business to streamline workflow processes, reduce administration times and costs, drive company revenue and improve productivity.

This software provides you with drag and drop tools to quickly and easily build automated processes, which are unique to your organisation through an intuitive graphical user interface. Typical capabilities within BPA software include system integration, workflow, report automation and notifications and alerts.

The following steps will help you consider the business requirements and resources available within your organisation to make your BPA implementation project a success. Additionally, once you have defined your project overview, you will be in a position to discuss the options and next steps with your chosen software supplier.

Defining your Project Overview

The first step in ensuring that your project is a success is to detail the key areas of the business that you would like to streamline and improve productivity. Each step needs to align with your overall business strategy, processes and company growth plans.

Documenting the departments and processes that you would like to streamline will help you to quickly gain a top-level overview. For instance, you may want to reduce aged debtor days or strengthen cash flow in your accounts department. Or, to reduce order fulfilment times in your warehouse.

Build Your Project Team

Once you have an idea of the areas within your business that you would like to automate and improve, you will need to establish a project management team that will take control of the project. Your project team can include a variety of contributors. However, as a general guide, you should look to form the following from three core groups.

  • Users such as company directors, line management and team members
  • BPA Project Manager(s) to communicate progress between users and IT specialists
  • In-house IT specialists (if available)

Compiling a Business Case

Once you have your project management team in place, the next stage is to put together a detailed description of the business case and the current processing issues that you are planning to resolve. The aim at this stage is to identify key metrics and goals that align with your overall business strategy, processes and growth plans. It is important that your BPA Project Management team is involved in this process and that key points are documented throughout.

This process helps you to prioritise goals and desirables in a structured order. Within your business case include aspects such as department, process(es) and its bottleneck(s), time spent, errors and time lost, costs and systems involved. These are important to calculate your return on investment.

Once your business case has been highlighted, the next stage is to provide a top-level view of the business processes to be automated. This will help IT specialists to form the project deliverables and identify additional processes that could be automated. Additionally, compile a list of the business systems involved within the processes that you are looking to automate. This will help you identify system integration requirements, data sources, potential objects and end points.

BPA Project Checklist

When you are setting out how to plan a business process automation project it’s important to remember that not all aspects of a department or even a specific process will need to be automated. But initially outlining your automation project and strategy will help identify areas of improvement to eliminate large amounts of repetitive data entry or manual processing. Typically, your project plan should be completed in the following ten stages:

  1. BPA project goals and objectives
  2. Build a project team
  3. Compile a business case
  4. Top-level view of manual processes to be automated
  5. Systems and applications analysis
  6. Map process flows and describe each process
  7. Identify where company and customer data is held
  8. Identify data volumes and throughput
  9. User training – identify key users of BPA Platform
  10. Detail project phases and deliverables

Your Next Steps

Want to plan your BPA project with the help of our team or integrate third-party solutions into SAP Business One? Get in touch with Seidor’s team of business process automation experts today to see how we can help you eliminate repetitive or time consuming tasks from across your organisation. Contact us now or call us on 01932 212 777.