Catherine Rousseau
, December 6, 2023
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Business process automation is a major win for many organizations, providing a decrease in process bottlenecks and an increase in productivity that allows people to focus more on human-centered operations. For manufacturers, automation might mean monitoring production lines in real-time to detect anomalies and make intelligent adjustments. For insurance companies, customer requests can be automated. Service providers can automate customer service analysis to identify customer issues on social media or through forums using a chatbot/virtual assistant. Healthcare organizations can tackle time-consuming administrative paperwork like taking notes, entering information in patient record databases, and more.

Let’s start by defining business process automation. According to TechTarget, it’s the use of instructions to create a repeated process that replaces a professional’s manual work in data centers and cloud deployments. Automation software tools, frameworks, and appliances conduct the tasks with minimal administrative intervention. The scope of IT automation ranges from single actions to discrete sequences and, ultimately, to an autonomous IT deployment that takes actions based on user behavior and other event triggers. Automation accomplishes a task repeatedly without human intervention.

Benefits of automation

The benefits of business strategy automation across all industries are numerous and include:

  • Reduced costs. Automating repeatable operational tasks can help save money by operating more efficiently, making fewer errors, and reducing headcount.
  • Increased productivity. Workflow automation eliminates manual tasks such as testing, boosting output, and freeing up workers to focus on more important projects and greater productivity.
  • Increased availability. One of IT's most important priorities is to ensure the highest level of system availability. By automating backup and recovery systems, as well as system monitoring and remote communication, IT can significantly reduce downtime and expedite disaster recovery.
  • Greater reliability. Automating tedious, repetitive tasks reduces costly errors by eliminating the human factor. This also relieves workers of mundane, manual processes, allowing them to focus on exceptions or providing value-add.
  • Better performance. Business automation tools add streamlined processes to optimize performance without having to add more staff.
  • Speed. Automation enables businesses to complete tasks much more quickly and efficiently than they did manually. 
  • Governance. For corporate governance and regulatory compliance, an automation strategy adds consistency to operations, as well as an audit trail.
  • Integration and interoperability. IT automation tools must be compatible with systems, software, and other elements across potentially diverse IT environments. Ideally, an automation tool should integrate with higher-level orchestration tools to roll tasks together under governed workflows.
  • Increased security. By automating your security operations, you will improve incident response. Automation further allows you to prioritize threats and handle cyber-attacks automatically with pre-set courses of action. It also enables faster threat detection and handles sensitive data more carefully, setting up standards for password protection and more.

4 Steps to automation

What steps can your organization take to automate business processes?

1. Analyze existing processes and technologies

First, analyze current processes and technologies on site. Are there any that can be further automated? Then set goals for an automation project. What solutions can help you reach those goals? Is cloud-based technology the way to go? Or maybe a hybrid environment? Consider implementing different solutions in phases to avoid burnout or push IT into a perpetual state of chaos. After analyzing your needs, you’ll be better prepared to select the right automation tools for your organization.

This is a great step to stop and think about ways to better serve your customers. Consider the way you currently nurture your customer relationships. After a customer calls, your team needs to take the time to follow up with them about their experience, suggest new products, and offer incentives. You can automate all these steps to ensure that your customer gets the care they need, without additional work for your team. Tools like chatbots also allow your customers to quickly resolve issues and obtain answers to their questions themselves, while avoiding the need to call into a customer service line. This saves them time and hassle — and reduces the potential for frustration.

2. Implement business process automation technology 

It’s best to partner with a technology service provider at this stage. In this phase, stakeholders deploy and customize the chosen business process automation technology. They create a detailed list of functions, train users, and give them access to the system. The business process automation technologies undergo extensive testing to ensure systems are performing as intended and are sufficient to satisfy the organization’s goals. Training is critical at this stage.

3. Integrate new technology with enterprise systems and other data sources

In the integration phase of business process automation, stakeholders integrate the new automation technologies with enterprise systems and third-party solutions. Moreover, data from disparate sources are typically combined and integrated during this step. Integration is largely accomplished through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and increases efficiency, improves data accuracy, enhances collaboration, reduces costs, and offers scalability to handle larger volumes of work without significant additional effort and resources.

4. Plan ongoing maintenance and support

Business process automation is an ongoing and long-term initiative. Organizations must continue to analyze their business processes to identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks. Organizations should continuously update their business process automation solutions and ensure that the entire organization has access to technical support. Widespread user adoption fosters an automation-minded culture and greatly increases the chances of success.

Best practices for business process automation

Business process automation focuses on the resource orchestration of people, applications, and systems. It often involves processes with multiple steps across multiple systems or users. It’s not a given that a business process automation project will succeed. Here are some best practices which can help.

  • Make automation a top-down, strategic initiative for your organization. Automation, which is not tied to strategic, long-term organizational goals, tends to fail. Even if it solves a problem initially, there are unclear (if any) links to how that aligns with broader goals. While that might be fine to some extent, it can also breed silos, cultural resistance, and other potential issues. Strategic automation can be both incremental and well-connected to the big picture, and it needs to be supported by company leadership.
  • Create value for users, not just the organization. People are tired of overused business platitudes like “do more with less” and “achieve new operational efficiencies.” Even if there may be some kernel of truth behind them, they’re worn out and overly general. Instead, use your strategy (and any corresponding documentation and communications) to show how it will create value for individuals and team units, not just for the company and its financials. Employees who will be using the system want to know “what’s in it for me?” Hold users accountable for overall project success and consider giving bonuses for user acceptance.
  • Acknowledge and address concerns about job security. In a survey of 32,500 workers worldwide, 60 percent of respondents said they’re worried that automation will put many existing jobs at risk in the future. Dismissing or ignoring these fears increases the likelihood of resistance to automation-related changes. It’s best to address these fears head-on and upfront, with guidance on how their job may be changing, or even improving.
  • Choose automation projects that have measurable benefits, especially for phase 1. Time savings are a good place to start. The math is simple: calculate how long it took before, count how often it happens, measure the new approach, and you can very quickly measure productivity gains. And, while everyone loves quantitative measures, don’t discount qualitative assessments as well. Consider sitting next to people and recording what they do in order to learn what makes them happy about the new system.
  • Equate automation with improvement. If you can’t answer questions like “how does this help people?” or “how does this make us better?” then you should ask a different question: “Why are we doing this?” A clear focus on improvement – not just on the bottom line, but on people’s jobs – is intrinsically results-oriented.

Business process automation tools to consider


Customizable solutions are available through a myriad of tools on the market designed to support your successful transition to a world of automated processes. The road to greater efficiency begins with tools designed to streamline and accelerate daily tasks, freeing up valuable time and resources for addressing other aspects of your business. Some of the powerful tools available to assist your organization in achieving its automation goals include:


  • Microsoft Power Automate: Power Automate is a comprehensive, end-to-end cloud automation platform that helps optimize processes by identifying and leveraging automation opportunities. Powered by low code and AI, the sky is the limit for accelerating digital transformation and scaling automation across your organization.
  • Alithya Rapid Capture: Alithya’s proprietary Rapid Capture solution was conceived as a customizable approach to extracting, structuring, and ingesting important data into downstream target applications and/or workflows. Leveraging advanced technologies, Rapid Capture offers robust support to Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions.
  • UiPath: The UiPath Business Automation Platform is an AI-driven launchpad to business transformation. UiPath’s machine learning technology enables rapid extraction of digital document data, while continuously seeking opportunities for achieving greater efficiencies. With UiPath, you can easily deploy and manage an end-to-end infrastructure of AI-powered automation to transform the way you work.

There are many benefits to business process automation. It fuels productivity and collaboration, saves time while reducing error, leaves room for employees to take on new projects and advance their career, and even lowers employee stress. Many new automation solutions are coming down the pike, including AI and Machine Learning, Workflow Automation, Content Management, and many low code/no code solutions. As new technology emerges, it becomes easier to implement new solutions for the future. By learning more about these solutions as they hit the market, and by updating your tools as required, your business will stay ahead of the curve. And, by continually giving yourself an edge in efficiency and the value you offer, you will also stay ahead of the competition.

Alithya can help demystify the various solutions and walk you through the process of defining your business objectives for an automation project. If you’d like to communicate with an Alithya expert, click here.

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