Cutting costs with business process automation

Poor data quality is believed to cost businesses an average of $15 million per annum and 75 percent of UK firms expect automation improve their operating costs, and a 62 percent forecast will in-crease their profitability.

The Big Zero report

The never-ending hunt for sales and revenue can divert attention away from the kind of business process inefficiencies that could be costing your organization as much as 30 percent of its revenue each year.

The difference between making a profit or loss, then, could be to focus your attention on leaner, more efficient ways of doing business.

How business process automation impacts revenue

Poor data quality is believed to cost businesses an average of $15 million per annum. The money lost needs to be regained somehow—that’s a significant amount of money to find —yet it’s money the business never had to spend.

Find a way to reduce data errors, then, and you’ll deliver a positive impact to the firm’s bottom line. Prevention is the most cost-effective approach. The effort to deal with the effects of an error may run to as many as 100 days, whereas it might have taken only ten days to fix that same error and as little as one day to prevent it from happening in the first place.

The solution lies in automation, something 75 percent of UK firms expect will improve their operating costs, and a 62 percent forecast will increase their profitability. That’s because robotic process automation (RPA) can eliminate errors stop costs leaking out of your business. RPA also frees your organization’s most valuable resource—its people—from repetitive and redundant tasks.

Choosing which workflow processes to automate

The combination of freeing people to focus on real, value-adding work and eliminating processing errors is why automation can deliver an annual return on investment of between 30 and 200 percent. The discussion, therefore, should not be about whether to automate processes; it should be on which ones to prioritize.

One place to start is with a workflow audit. It will tell you where your employees are spending the most time. Find critical yet straightforward tasks, and you have a prime candidate for automation—no matter where in the organization that process sits. Take customer service inquiries as a case in point. On the face of it, automating any customer-facing process can detract from the customer experience. But when you scratch the surface and begin to focus on the nature of some of the queries your employees are fielding from customers, you’ll likely find that a significant number of them are simply unnecessary. Implementing self-service or chatbots to eliminate contacts that have no value to your organization can free up your team to engage in conversations that do.

Another approach is to tackle your biggest pain point. A global oil and gas company did just that and implemented utility bill automation over their $130 million annual accounts-payable processes. It saved the company more than $200,000 per annum by better processing costs and eliminating data errors.

The tools to automate your processes already exist; platforms like Bill Identity’s digitized Utility Bill Management are capable of processing over a thousand bills per minute. Aside from the total visibility and control that would give your business over its energy management processes, it would also create many opportunities to reduce costs.

Conclusion

It’s likely money is leaking out of your business through inefficient processes. Find a way to turn off the dripping faucet by balancing the constant drive for revenue with a focus on business process management, and you might just find ways to increase your firm’s most liquid of assets: cash.

When it comes to improving your business processes, start by understanding the data. Read more about improving your data quality in the eBook Take Control of Your Utility Data.

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