Workflow Automation Reducing Business Process Costs

When done manually, business process costs are considerable.

While companies realize these costs exists, it takes focus to discover the actual amounts among employee hours involved.

But once they do see the dollar amounts, workflow automation starts looking much more appealing.

Business Costs in Accounts Payable

Accounts Payable is an area with telling industry averages.

Manual, paper-based AP departments need 14.6 days to process a supplier’s invoice, at a cost of $16.91 each. However, AP automation brings the processing time down to 2.9 days and the cost to $3.47.

A 30 Percent Reduction in Organization-Wide Business Process Costs

AP is a great example – but it’s far from the only one. Nearly any manual process can be made less expensive through automation.

Deloitte even estimates that workflow automation can reduce general business process costs by 30 percent. This takes into account staff/time savings, as well as accuracy improvements.

Underlying contributors?

  • Documents are kept organized, accessible, and trackable throughout process lifecycles.
  • Routing is automated, so processes endure fewer “stop and go” delays.

When Should a Company Transition to Automated Business Process?

PricewaterhouseCoopers notes that workflow automation makes the most sense in companies that perform repetitive processes with high frequency. Thanks to economies of scale, automating each consecutive process becomes faster and cheaper with time.

This particularly resonates with large organizations, where – after a few department-specific implementations – a it becomes economically feasible to optimize multiple processes company-wide. This puts the “enterprise” in ECM – expanding the solution throughout the entire business & increasing ROI.

Considerations for Automated Workflows

One major thing to keep in mind: when you invest in an automation solution – especially if you’re planning to use it across your entire enterprise – it’ll need to integrate with all of your legacy IT systems. It’s ideal to automate processes while keeping existing front- and back-office systems in place – overcoming the need for a complex infrastructure transformation. But not all solutions are designed to do so.

To that end, things to consider when choosing a workflow management software solution include:

  1. Ensure that your selected ECM vendor’ has system functionalities and business use expertise that meet your company-wide requirements
  2. Consider processing capabilities for high volumes of data, across multiple departments
  3. Verify that your own business case is solid; work with the ECM provider’s staff consultants to project the ROI of your automation project ahead of time
  4. Engage your vendor to assist with Change Management; they should be able to establish & implement a plan to help your staff function productively in their new environment.

When you choose the right solution, ECM can show quick results. For most projects, implementation is done in small steps – converting one process at a time into an automated workflow. It’s important to customize business rules for each department’s functional need – and this can take time – but when done correctly, it can absolutely help companies cut costs, become more competitive, and optimize their most commonly performed processes.

If you’re ready to reach a superior level of operational excellence in terms of processing speed, costs and adaptability, contact IntelliChief. We have extensive experience automating workflows across AP, finance, order processing, HR, and other departments, using enterprise content management software to link and streamline disparate processes. We’d be happy to do the same for you.