Basil Pastukhow Head of QA

    Business Process Automation: Benefits and Examples of BPA Services

    As businesses look for ways to rationalize their processes and enhance cost-effectiveness, business process automation (BPA) has become an increasingly sought-after service. Acumen Research and Consulting predicts the BPA market will reach $41.1 billion by 2032, with a 14.6% growth rate in 2023. Such growth inevitably leads to a growing competition that calls for improved operational effectiveness, along with widespread adoption of AI- and cloud-based solutions.

    In its projects, Surf has worked on diverse business automation projects for e-commerce, foodtech, healthcare, and other industries. Continue reading to learn about the advantages of BPA, real-life use cases, and why Surf is the reasoned choice to help digitize activities at your company.

    Business process automation trends in 2024

    Business process automation implies adopting digital solutions and services to streamline regular routines and complicated activities and flows. The global BPA market is experiencing significant growth. According to the Regina Corso Consulting report, 93% of companies see enhanced growth due to automated operations.

    Upgraded with the latest developments in artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and machine learning (ML), BPA reduces manual effort for employees, risks of human errors, and expenses. For example, generative AI has the potential to decrease routine and allow workers to focus more on creative tasks. Many organizations embrace a Hyperautomation strategy that combines robotic process automation (RPA), AI, and ML technologies. Process mining, which focuses on analyzing log data from IT systems to enhance workflows, also plays an important role. Low-code and no-code platforms also gain traction as they enable businesses to create digital solutions without extensive coding.

    Functions suitable for process automation

    A company can intensify  the productivity of its departments and operations with automated business processes, which has a direct impact on risks, operational expenses, and customer satisfaction.

    Business process automation benefits across departments

    Digitalized document flow

    By transforming the whole document flow to digital format, business process automation helps enterprises speed up document exchange, minimize the number of human errors and increase data security. Intelligent document processing (IDP) is an automation technology that uses artificial intelligence and optical character recognition (OCR) to scan, read, extract, categorize, and organize meaningful information from large data streams. Its benefits include

    • Faster document approval and signing: digital documents can be sent and received instantly, and digital signatures can be applied in seconds.
    • Fewer human errors: streamlined digital flows bear fewer risks than when tasks are performed manually.
    • Increased data security: access to digital documents can be adjusted for each department or individual employee, reducing the risks of data leaks.
    • Reduced printing costs: digital document flow not only reduces costs but also aligns with the current trend towards paperless workflows, which is more environmentally friendly.

    Better talent retention

    Automated business tools used in the field of human resources provide companies with numerous opportunities to increase the quality of internal communications, employees’ professional development (corporate training apps and portals), and their retention (internal loyalty programs and leaderboards). Such digitization of HR activities brings more transparency and a better corporate culture, which results in higher employee satisfaction.

    For instance, Donut is a set of tools designed to encourage engagement and interactions among remotely working team members. The software helped Hypercontext, a company behind a popular meeting app, enhance remote work culture via ‘Icebreakers’ coffee chats for employees, “Celebrations” for recognizing team milestones and achievements, and other virtual activities. According to Hypercontext’s CEO, meaningful conversations (even not directly work-related ones) have been shown to promote productive collaboration across the remote team.

    Increased sales

    Business process automation tools can be used for such routine operations as checking inventory across multiple selling points, applying discounts and other loyalty programs’ benefits, and speeding up the return flow. All of this makes the adoption of BPA essential for e-commerce players that aim to increase their sales, average checks, and purchase frequency.

    For example, when Surf developed an app to facilitate delivery for a large online bookstore, the client saw a 20% boost in the number of completed deliveries. The system consisted of a mobile app for couriers and an admin panel for managers that included functionalities such as offline mode, route planning based on real-time traffic, and the integration of NFC-enabled card payments. In addition to enabling couriers to do more orders per shift, our solution reduced paperwork and enhanced corporate management visibility.

    Higher customer satisfaction

    There are several ways BPA can boost customer’s experiences with the product. These include the use of chatbots or voice assistants to provide 24/7 support and answer frequent questions, automating email or SMS campaigns to send relevant and timely messages to customers, as well as leveraging AI and machine learning to analyze audience feedback and sentiment to optimize service quality and offerings.

    Share of consumers interested in chatbots as online shopping assistants in 2023

    A custom solution or ready-made one?

    Companies can apply both off-the-shelf and custom-made solutions to implement the automation-based approach. While ready-made products come at a lower price point and can be deployed in a matter of days, they are more suitable for automating common workflows and standard processes. When choosing such a BPA system, a company should consider the existing limitations in the aspects of functionality, compatibility, and customization. If you’re looking to turn a simple workflow into a digital one, an off-the-shelf product might be enough.

    custom vs ready-made BPA

    Custom solutions are created from scratch according to a particular set of requirements for an enterprise. Such software proves to be more flexible and scalable while offering the full spectrum of instruments that an organization needs. While their costs and deployment time are higher compared to ready-made tools, custom software possesses far broader capabilities. Custom solutions are best for companies facing increased competition and a multitude of complex business processes that require optimization and further extension.

    The Surf team specializes in building custom automated business solutions focused on the client’s requirements and KPIs. Our digital solutions provide companies with a competitive edge even in highly saturated and well-developed market segments.

    Surf knows how to automate business processes firsthand

    Go to case studies

    Use cases of business process automation

    Let’s take a closer look at some of the real-life examples of how organizations employ business process automation.

    Accounts payable

    Automating accounts payable enables businesses to optimize their bookkeeping routine, including receiving invoices, approving payments, and reconciling accounts. This way, BPA can help businesses save resources, improve cash flow, and strengthen their relationships with creditors or suppliers.

    For example, Therabody, a manufacturer of medical devices for targeted muscle vibration and pain relief, uses Tipalti accounts payable automation software. Therabody faced an increase in the number of international vendors, which led to spending a lot of time on manual entry of payment details, tax compliance, and audit trails. Tipalti’s solution helped the company to digitize and streamline the entire bookkeeping procedure, eliminating 60 hours of accounting work per month.

    Human resources

    HR operations, including recruitment, onboarding, and administration, can also benefit from automation. For example, Surf partnered with a large international manufacturing company to develop an enterprise application that goes beyond a traditional social network or intranet. Facing the challenge of creating a versatile tool for over 10,000 employees, the solution focused on bridging the gap between tech-savvy and non-tech-savvy workers, enhancing computer skills for all employees, increasing engagement, and strengthening the HR brand.

    enterprise HR app by Surf

    Built with the Flutter cross-platform framework, the app is designed to immerse employees in an educational environment, encouraging active participation. Users progress through training, earning bonus points in a gamified process, which can be spent on workplace improvements and books. Administrators can add courses via the dashboard and make lessons more engaging with links or YouTube videos. Employees earn bonus points after successfully completing each course, which have a set number of costs. As a result, the app helps to foster openness, creativity, and a sense of belonging among team members.

    Business workflows

    BPA tools can be used across multiple industries, contributing to companies’ better efficiency and daily task management.

    One such example is the business automation for car rentals developed by Make for the Norwegian fintech company Wenn. Named “CarEye Capture”, Wenn’s car damage detection system consists of scanners placed in hubs where customers return their rental cars. However, the company found it challenging to operate “CarEye Capture” effectively due to the absence of a robust central system to monitor, process, and analyze data in real time. To address this, Wenn turned to Make, a platform that enables users to create and develop workflows visually. 

    In a matter of weeks, Wenn received a complex logging and monitoring system adapted to its customers’ lifecycle and business processes. The BPA solution not only accelerates the damage detection process but also minimizes human error and disagreements that often arise during manual inspections. It effectively optimizes workload during peak hours and solves the issue of busy inspectors overlooking car damage.

    Daily operations

    Automatic systems that monitor employees’ performance can significantly reduce the effort required from managers to keep business operations going. A department’s or a single specialist’s work can be effectively tracked and optimized with the use of automation solutions, such as dashboards, smart schedules, checklists, and performance indicators.When used to digitize routine tasks, BPA can accelerate decision-making, ensure a high level of compliance, and boost employee satisfaction. This is clearly visible in KFC DSR, a custom ERP system developed by Surf for KFC, a large-scale fast-food chain.

    KFC DSR app by Surf

    KFC DSR (Digital Successful Routine) solution covers various restaurant processes, such as reporting, scheduling, task management, and performance monitoring. The project scope also included the development of a face recognition system and its integration with the time clock program for a 100% tamper-proof clock-in service. With our app, KFC franchisees get improved operational control, transparency, compliance, and quality control.

    Why choose Surf for business process automation

    At Surf, we have extensive experience working with unique business requirements and can help you create a custom application that aligns with your workflows and goals. We take care of the full development cycle, from design to release and maintenance. Our approach includes careful consideration of software scalability through architectural decisions, the use of a technology stack, and integrations with external systems.

    In addition, we offer auditing services to help you identify bottlenecks that can be improved and optimized. By partnering with us, you not only address your current business needs but also set the stage for long-term development and adaptability.