Learn how business process automation helps Northern Arizona University drive better student experiences

What Is Business Process Automation?

In today’s digital economy, staying competitive requires automating processes to improve customer experience and productivity. In fact, having this kind of agility can be the difference between excelling or maintaining the status quo. Business process automation can help.

Business process automation (BPA) is the use of software, like an integration platform as a service (iPaaS), to automate repeatable, multistep business transactions throughout an organization. By integrating software applications and systems, BPA eliminates the need for manual and repetitive tasks, resulting in reduced human effort and enhanced operational efficiency. BPA can be applied to a wide range of tasks and processes. Some examples include supply chain management, data entry, customer support and inventory management.

Given our evolving environment, BPA offers many advantages that can contribute to your success. Let's dive into some of these critical benefits.

What Are the Benefits of Business Process Automation?

BPA is a must if you want to improve efficiency, reduce costs, ensure accuracy and stay relevant. It eliminates monotonous tasks and allows companies to instead focus their resources on strategic initiatives, innovation and customer experience. Let’s discuss some of the core benefits that BPA provides:

  • Improved accuracy: Errors can be introduced during manual data entry and other repetitive tasks. BPA reduces this risk by automating processes, ensuring consistent and accurate execution. This is particularly important for financial transactions and compliance-related tasks, which can be costly to rectify.
  • Cost reduction: Automation reduces labor costs associated with performing tedious tasks. It eliminates the need for additional personnel or outsourcing, resulting in cost savings for organizations. 
  • Automated workflows: BPA enables the orchestration and automation of workflows across different business applications that span departments and locations within an organization. It eliminates bottlenecks and orchestrates end-to-end process automation between applications, which boosts time and cost savings.
  • Improved customer experience: BPA can improve customer satisfaction by speeding up response times, reducing errors and providing accurate information. Automation can also enable self-service options, allowing customers to access information and perform tasks independently.

Automating business processes across your organization can help give you a competitive edge and stay relevant in a crowded market. Now let’s explore how an iPaaS can help bring BPA to life.

What Role Does iPaaS Play in Business Process Automation?

An iPaaS plays a significant role in automating business processes. It does this by enabling seamless real-time integration between various applications, systems and data sources. Let’s walk through some examples of how software like iPaaS supports BPA:

Real-time integration of business applications and systems

An iPaaS serves as a central hub that connects applications and systems within an organization. It facilitates the integration of disparate applications. Some examples are customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), payroll and other business applications. By facilitating seamless communication and data exchange among various applications and systems used within an organization, real-time integration enables the automation of business processes.

Workflow orchestration

An iPaaS enables the orchestration of automated workflows by defining the sequence of tasks, rules and decision points. It provides a graphical interface workflow designer where you can design and configure the flow of the automation process using point and click or drag and drop. This allows for the easy creation and management of complex workflows involving multiple systems and integration points.

Event-driven process automation

An iPaaS can monitor events and trigger tasks in real time from various systems and applications. Examples include new data entries, updates or specific conditions. When a trigger event occurs, the iPaaS can initiate and execute the subsequent steps in the automated process. This event-driven capability enables real-time, on-demand automation and ensures that processes are executed in a timely manner. This is a must in today’s fast-paced market.

Monitoring and management

An iPaaS provides monitoring and management capabilities for automated processes. It offers real-time visibility into the status and performance of workflows. This helps organizations to track progress, identify bottlenecks and troubleshoot issues in real time. Plus, being able to monitor dashboards, logs and analytics can provide insights to help optimize processes.

Scalability and flexibility

iPaaS solutions are designed to be scalable and flexible. This helps accommodate the changing needs of business processes. As organizations grow or their requirements evolve, an iPaaS can handle increased workloads and adapt to new integration scenarios. This enables organizations to scale their automation initiatives without significant infrastructure or development investments. It also ensures you’re able to keep up with sudden market shifts.

Now that we understand the role an iPaaS plays in automating business processes, let’s walk through a practical example in the workplace.

What Is a Real-World Example of Business Process Automation?

An example of BPA is the onboarding process for a new employee. With the help of an iPaaS, an organization can automate and streamline this workflow. This can lead to reduced manual effort, less errors and increased consistency. It can also enable collaboration between departments and provide a better experience for new employees.

Here's an example outlining an automated employee onboarding process:

Business process automation streamlines this employee onboarding workflow

Business process automation streamlines this employee onboarding workflow.

Real-time application integration

Once an employee accepts the offer letter from the organization, it triggers multiple workflow tasks that span multiple applications and systems. This includes the HR system, IT systems, payroll and document management. An iPaaS ensures that data moves between the integrated applications. It also helps organizations to design the automation of process workflows, enables data transformations and synchronizes information across systems, all in real time.

Orchestrating the workflow

Once the employee accepts the offer letter, the iPaaS initiates an automated workflow. It triggers the creation of employee records in the HR system, generates employee IDs and assigns relevant access permissions.

Notifications and approvals

From there, the iPaaS can send notifications to various stakeholders, such as HR managers, IT administrators and department heads. This informs them of the new employee's onboarding status. It can also automate approval workflows, where relevant personnel review and approve the employee's access requests, equipment orders or training requests.

Office space and system provisioning

Based on the approved requests, the iPaaS provisions the necessary IT resources and permissions for the new employee. It can automatically create user accounts, assign email addresses, grant access to applications and set up network privileges.

Document management

The iPaaS can integrate with the document management system to automatically generate and store employee documents, such as employment contracts, training and confidentiality agreements. The iPaaS helps ensure that the required documents are stored and accessible by authorized personnel.

Now that we have covered how BPA works, let’s review some typical use cases.

What Are Key Use Cases of Business Process Automation?

BPA can be applied to various use cases across multiple industries. Here are some examples:

Order processing and fulfilment

Automating the order processing and fulfilment process can streamline sales operations. iPaaS can integrate e-commerce platforms, inventory management systems and shipping providers to automate order placement, inventory updates, order status notifications and shipping label generation.

Customer support and ticketing

iPaaS can automate customer support processes by integrating ticketing systems, CRM platforms and communication channels. It can automatically route and prioritize support tickets, retrieve customer information, provide self-service options and trigger notifications or escalations based on defined rules.

Marketing campaign management

Automating business processes with an iPaaS can simplify various aspects of marketing campaigns. For example, it can integrate marketing automation platforms, CRM systems, email marketing tools and analytics platforms. This enables automated lead capturing, nurturing workflows, personalized email campaigns and tracking of campaign performance.

Financial and accounting processes

iPaaS can streamline accounting processes by integrating various systems. This includes billing, payment gateways and banking platforms. By automating tasks like invoice generation, payment processing, financial reporting and reconciliation, accuracy is boosted.

Supply chain management

Automating business processes can streamline vendor and partner integration workflows. An iPaaS can automate data exchange, order processing, invoicing and inventory updates between organizations and their suppliers, distributors or partners. This improves collaboration, reduces manual errors and speeds up transaction cycles.

Based on the above examples, it's clear that to thrive in today’s market, BPA must be part of your arsenal. And Informatica can help.

How Informatica Can Support Your Business Process Automation Initiatives

Informatica iPaaS, a service of Intelligent Data Management Cloud (IDMC), provides robust capabilities that can help automate complex, manual processes:

  • Integration and connectivity: Informatica iPaaS enables seamless integration and connectivity between various systems, applications and data sources. It supports a wide range of connectors to facilitate integration with on-premises and cloud-based systems, databases, APIs and SaaS applications.
  • Process design and orchestration: Informatica iPaaS offers a visual, low-code/no-code interface for designing and orchestrating automated workflows. You can define the sequence of tasks, set rules and create decision points with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. This allows you to participate in the automation design process without having to rely on IT.
  • Event-driven process automation: Informatica iPaaS supports defined, event-driven triggers based on specific events or data changes, such as a new customer record or a completed transaction. These triggers can initiate automated actions, such as sending notifications to stakeholders or launching subsequent steps in the process.
  • Prebuilt connectors and templates: Informatica iPaaS provides a wide range of pre-built connectors and templates for popular applications and systems. These connectors simplify the integration process and accelerate the development of automated workflows. Informatica maintains a marketplace where users can access a vast library of connectors, templates and pre-built workflows.

Having the right iPaaS in place can help support your BPA needs. Let’s review a few success stories to better understand how BPA works in action.

Success Stories of Business Process Automation

Here are some success stories that showcase how automating business processes can help deliver better outcomes.

  • After automating their application processes, National Interstate Insurance increased their organizational effectiveness and insurance application processing efficiency up to 9x.
  • Reitmans wanted customers to have full visibility into order status, from processing and fulfilment to shipping and delivery. By connecting their order management system to the customer order tracking system, the shopping experience became more transparent and user-friendly.
  • Informatica helped cloud banking leader nCino automate their entire process of booking loans and deposits by pulling credit bureau reports and account documents. This improved their operational efficiency, enabling them to reduce their loan origination and closing times by an average of 34%.

Next Steps

Ready to start your BPA journey? Learn more and check out these valuable resources.