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Digital Process Automation – Definition, Examples, Benefits

Automation propels businesses forward with efficient, uniform completion of daily tasks. Businesses can see labor hours reduced by 77% through automation of routine tasks, according to a Gitnux market data report. Automating routine tasks for employees who spend the majority of their work hours on a computer requires digital process automation.

In this article you’ll learn about digital process automation, its key benefits and examples, and will see how to apply this vital business strategy to your organization.

What Is Digital Process Automation?

Digital Process Automation (DPA) refers to the use of digital technology to automate and streamline business processes. It involves the use of software to сreate, implement, and manage workflows within an organization.

The goal of DPA is to fully automate specific tasks in a business process to reduce or eliminate the costs and risks of error that come with human intervention.

Automating digital processes calls for similar technology to business process management, but there are distinctions between these two terms. 

Business process management is more about back office automation and workflow improvements. DPA, on the other hand, generally focuses on improving the overall customer experience. A leading automation platform like Fluix helps you implement both strategies in your organization.

Companies that ask employees to perform repetitive tasks, such as manually entering information from one spreadsheet to another, should consider DPA implementation. Digital automation frees employees to focus on critical decision-making tasks, rather than spending labor hours on tasks that are easily automated.

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Digital Process Automation vs. Robotic Process Automation

Robotic process automation (RPA) is another type of automation used by businesses. While a DPA focuses on broad business processes, RPA offers a task-specific focus for automation these are related concepts within the broader field of business process automation

Although these two types are often used together to create a more comprehensive automation strategy, they have distinct characteristics and focus on different aspects of automation.

AspectDigital Process AutomationRobotic Process Automation
FocusAutomation of end-to-end business processes and workflowsAutomation of repetitive, rule-based tasks
ScopeBroad, more complex business processesSpecific, routine tasks within a process
Interaction with systemsIntegrates with various applications across processMimics human interaction with applications
User involvementOften involves collaboration between business usersTypically requires minimal involvement from users
Skill requirementCan be designed and managed by non-tech usersRequires a level of technical expertise 
Implementation timeLonger implementation Quicker implementation
Data processingInvolves data processing as part of workflowsMay involve data handling but is more task-centric in nature
Decision-makingOften includes rule-based decision-making within processesTypically follows pre-defined rules without complex decision-making
AnalyticsProvides insights into the performance of processesMay provide insights into the performance of tasks
ExamplesBusiness process optimization, workflow automation, customer retentionData entry, invoice processing, form submission

Benefits of Digital Process Automation

Updating legacy business processes with the latest digital automation solutions is a major change in any organization, so some leaders and team members may hesitate to embrace automation. Explaining the benefits of DPA to stakeholders can support buy-in and reduce hesitancy in elevating your business process.

Organization-Wide Collaboration

Siloed departments struggle to communicate best practices, specific customer situations and other information. 

Automation delivers consistent expectations to your teams, clients and partners across all communication channels. 

Streamlining your teams with DPA promotes efficient document sharing and aligns goals. Thanks to this collaboration, integrated customer data flows seamlessly from one system and channel to another. You can get a clearer picture of customer journeys through DPA that leverages legacy systems, existing data and APIs.

Enhanced Customer Experiences

Digital process automation is all about providing consistent, positive customer experiences. 

An automated process typically leads to reduced customer complaints and rapid turnaround times for customers.

Automation promotes easy-to-understand touchpoints for your customers. DPA allows omnichannel engagement, delivering cohesive services, customer experiences and communication styles wherever customers interact with your organization.

Increased Operational Efficiency and Innovation

Automating even a single task in a workflow cuts the response time in between two process steps. 

Multiply that time savings by the number of steps automated throughout a process to see how DPA leads to significant time savings and operational efficiency. 

Automated processes in DPA can execute tasks much faster than people. 

This speed contributes to quicker completion of workflows, reducing cycle times and enhancing overall operational speed.

Streamlined Interactions with Legacy Systems

Achieving digital business automation doesn’t happen overnight, which is likely to make some stakeholders hesitant to adopt DPA in your organization. To overcome this pain point, platforms like Fluix connect with legacy systems for increased agility.

A process-centric approach doesn’t require you to replace your legacy technology. 

Instead, the platforms communicate with those systems to move forward with improved customer experiences. You have the choice to gradually replace those legacy technologies in your own time frame.

Examples of DPA

Many use cases and digital automation examples highlight the ways automation can improve overall customer experience. Explore the following scenarios to see how DPA benefits organizations like yours.

Project Management Automation 

DPA can help project managers with task assignment and progress tracking. Instead of manual coordination, DPA systems automatically allocate tasks based on predefined workflows and project timelines. This not only reduces the risk of miscommunication but also ensures that team members are assigned tasks promptly, fostering a more efficient and organized project execution.

Automated reporting within project management ensures that project data is accurate and up-to-date. Relevant stakeholders are promptly informed on the updates which allows for transparency and reduces the need for manual communication efforts. 

Purchase Order Automation

It takes time to approve purchase orders. While the process for a single worker may be straightforward, purchase orders that require several approvals can be significantly delayed due to the required response times between each approval.

Digital process automation can cut down on wasted time in the purchase order process. An approved order is immediately sent to the individual in the next step of the process, as well as a notification of the previous work completed on the order. The next person in line simply has to review the order, make any necessary adjustments and approve it.

Customer Onboarding Automation

Onboarding customers requires paperwork, but many steps in the onboarding process benefit from digital process automation. Customers shouldn’t have to wait unnecessarily to complete the onboarding process. Automation in documentation processing reduces the time spent on this crucial step, removing bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the workflow.

Next, your organization should set up automatic notifications to communicate with customers about the entire process. A completed task is automatically communicated to the customer and all relevant parties using DPA, rather than waiting for employees to manually send notifications.

Financial Process Automation

Lending institutions streamline the loan and credit approval process using DPA. Automation enables institutions to exponentially increase the volume of loan applications they process. Institutions improve not only the speed but also the efficiency and compliance of application processing using DPA.

Customers also enjoy the automated, efficient credit approval process. Increased automation means increased processing speeds, typically granting loan and credit approvals in less time than traditional, manual approaches.

How Implement Digital Process Automation in Your Organization

Implementing automation isn’t automatic. Before streamlining and automating processes using an innovative platform like Fluix, you need to complete a few key tasks. Start your business process automation journey with the following four steps.

1. Review Inefficient Processes

You can’t automate a process if you don’t know what the process is. Your first goal is to review your organization’s processes to see which ones are most inefficient or tend to bring in the most customer complaints. 

Your customers and team members are both excellent resources for identifying workflow inefficiencies. Ask team members who perform daily tasks to point out processes that may be good candidates for automation.

Once you zero in on a customer pain point or process that your team members feel is most inefficient, explore ways to implement DPA. These first few inefficient processes you highlight may not be the only ones you automate, but focusing on them first is an effective start to digital process automation.

2. Create a Process Map

Visualize the process to speed up digital process automation implementation. Understanding how a process occurs in a visual way is helpful for reimagining the workflow. Some processes have unnecessary steps that can be easily eliminated even before automating tasks.

Your process map can take many shapes. Depending on the process, the map may be simple or may involve many different stakeholders and tasks. DPA works well with a broad scope of process maps, so the complexity of your process isn’t necessarily a roadblock to digital automation.

3. Develop Key Performance Indicators

Identify the KPIs for a project or process to better understand how automation can improve it. Clear metrics give you success stories to share. Your KPIs can also point you to additional areas where DPA can improve the overall customer experience.

An automation platform like Fluix can then assist you in analyzing your KPIs and measuring progress. In-depth analytics communicate the effectiveness of your new automated process and pinpoint additional areas of improvement.

4. Choose an Automation Platform

Choosing the right digital transformation solution can significantly impact the success of your automation initiatives. 

When selecting the DPA platform for your organization, pay attention to its ease of use and implementation. Look for platforms that offer intuitive interfaces and don’t presuppose the long learning curve.

Integrations play an important role for nowadays processes, so check the platform’s integration capabilities as well. It should connect with your existing systems, databases, and applications, allowing for a smooth flow of data between them.

Before making a final decision, consider conducting a proof of concept. Test the DPA platform on a small scale with a pilot project to evaluate its performance, ease of use, and alignment with your organization’s needs.

How Fluix Can Help You with Digital Process Automation

Fluix is workflow automation software that helps businesses of any size improve their operational efficiency through full-cycle document management and customizable workflows:

  • Workflow automation allows you to design, automate, and optimize paper-based processes related to document creation, approval, and distribution.
  • Task assignment within workflows allows you to assign responsibilities and track the progress of tasks. 
  • Mobile accessibility promotes flexibility, enabling field teams to participate in automated workflows seamlessly.
  • Integrations let you connect with other business applications, databases, or cloud services, ensuring a cohesive ecosystem.

What’s even more important is that a dedicated account manager will assist you with the initial settings and your pilot workflows, ensuring that you start realizing value from the tool on the very first day.

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