Business Process Automation Definition & Meaning

Business Process Automation (BPA) is the use of technology to automate complex business processes in order to replace manual effort such as repeatable, day-to-day tasks. It accelerates the workflow process by routing information to the corresponding person through user-defined rules and actions. BPA minimizes costs, increases efficiency, streamlines processes, and reduces errors. It is not to be confused with business process management, which oversees the different processes that an organization uses to strengthen, grow, and optimize its business strategy—a much larger discipline. 

BPA can use four types of automation: 

  • Basic automation: The simple jobs in an organization, such as using a centralized messaging tool instead of having information spread out between separate emails and documents.
  • Process automation: Documents and manages businesses processes for task consistency and transparency. 
  • Integration automation: Enables machines to observe the way tasks are performed and then repeat those actions. Humans must define the rules in order for actions to be repeated.
  • Artificial intelligence automation: Enables decision making based on what the system has learned and persistently analyzed. Similar to robotic process automation, but less complex.

Uses for business process automation 

BPA can be used to incorporate file transfers into larger workflows, automate database interaction processes and spreadsheet data manipulation without writing code, automatically process information from an email inbox, and unite all business integrations. 

In order to automate the processes, connectors are needed to connect systems or solutions using a data exchange layer to transfer information. The data exchange layer needs to be optimized, which can be done through a process-driven messaging service, allowing for the ability to build processes by mapping the end-to-end process workflow. 

Popular business process automation vendors 

  • Comindware Tracker
  • Kissflow
  • Zoho Creator 
  • ConnectWise Manage
  • Laserfiche

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