What is Business Process Automation?

Explore the definition, examples, benefits, and FAQs of business process automation

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Is business process automation (BPA) as transformative as everyone is saying? Or is it just another three letter acronym clogging up the works? 

Definitely the former. 

BPA is the strategic use of technology to perform regular business tasks automatically. It’s framework to turn once time-consuming, manual processes into speedy, accurate, and efficient processes with a helping of cost savings. 

This guide will navigate you through the what, why, and how of BPA, giving you the necessary insight to understand its impact and consider its implementation in your operations.

What is business process automation (BPA)?

Business process automation, or BPA, as we’ve already covered, is all about operational efficiency through automation. 

Business process automation leverages technology to carry out business operations with little human involvement. The goal is to automate formally manual business processes by reducing simple, repetitive tasks resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy, and reduced costs.

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Automating business processes shines when applied to high-volume, recurring processes that involve multiple people and start with a clear action or trigger, such as:

  • Contract generation in sales teams
  • Invoice processing in accounting departments
  • Customer onboarding in customer service
  • Data entry and validation in data management

By implementing BPA, businesses can streamline their operations, free up valuable time for employees, and focus on more strategic or fulfilling tasks.

While business process management (BPM) focuses on managing and optimizing end-to-end business processes, BPA narrows its gaze on automation, streamlining entire workflows rather than individual tasks. The path towards effective automation kickstarts with a thorough analysis of present operations, pinpointing impediments, and comprehending the suitability of a procedure for automation. The rewards are worth the effort, with outcomes including:

  • Streamlined processes
  • Consistent outcomes
  • Customizable notifications
  • Faster turnaround times
  • Overall enhanced efficiency

Yet, hurdles persist, including:

  • Scaling automation to align with wider organizational objectives
  • Educating employees on the use of automation tools
  • Safeguarding comprehensive process documentation

The technology engine behind BPA

At the heart of BPA lies leading-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). 

AI in BPA brings automation to complex tasks involving learning, reasoning, and decision-making. Think of things like predictive analytics and natural language processing. 

Machine learning, meanwhile, is a more advanced sort of automated intelligence. It augments BPA by enabling systems to learn from data and improve their automation processes, adding a layer of sophistication to decision-making and adaptation.

As the one-two combo of AI and machine learning continues to evolve the concept of BPA, capabilities will continue to be unlocked. AI-powered chatbots, for instance, can automate sales and marketing activities and provide real-time customer support, significantly elevating business processes. Machine learning algorithms also enhance BPA’s capability by using historical data to predict outcomes, streamlining complex tasks like threat detection.

Additional Resource

Practical Guide to Leveraging AI Automation in Your Process Orchestration Workflows

The spectrum of BPA: from simple tasks to complex workflows

BPA’s power lies in its versatility. It can automate a vast range of tasks, including:

  • Simple repetitive actions
  • Complex workflows
  • Eliminating the need for manual data entry and manipulation within applications like Excel
  • Streamlining file transfers
  • Automating order entry processes without manual coding
  • Efficiently processing information from emails and web interactions, such as uploading documents to a platform like SharePoint or capturing information from websites

Some examples of Complex workflows that can be streamlined through BPA include:

  • Employee onboarding, which involves setting up applications and permissions for new hires
  • Purchase order processing with form submissions and communications
  • Claims processing, which can be automated to reduce manual tasks and repetitive tasks

By standardizing operations and automating these processes, BPA ensures consistent outcomes and enhances the reliability and reputation of an organization.

BPA tools and platforms: empowering businesses to automate

BPA tools and platforms are the enablers of this automation journey. 

They are designed to automate routine tasks and often include features such as workflow design, process modeling, and analytics to augment business workflows. The emergence of low-code and no-code platforms is empowering users with minimal technical skills to automate workflows and build applications that integrate with existing business stacks.

BPA tools allow businesses to:

  • Streamline processes
  • Leverage existing investments
  • Provide scalability, flexibility, and the convenience of remote access
  • Enable companies of various sizes to implement automation effectively

Identifying the right automation tool

Selecting a BPA tool is a significant stride in the journey towards automation. 

It requires a deep understanding of the intricacies of your processes and an evaluation of the BPA tool’s adaptability, usability, and features. The tool must align with the complexity of processes and the volume of work, and its ease of use, and an intuitive design are critical for facilitating smoother adoption among users.

The provider of a BPA tool holds as much importance as the tool. Factors such as the vendor’s market presence, reliability, potential for long-term support, and the strength of their customer service should influence the decision-making process. 

Whether you consider Camunda or another BPA tool on the market, be sure to understand that each has its own set of features, integration capabilities, and pricing models. Selecting the tool that fits your needs is both a critical and challenging step.

Integrating BPA software with existing systems

For optimal efficiency, it is vital to make sure your BPA software plays nicely with pre-existing systems.

Evaluate each platform’s security features and compliance with regulatory standards to protect sensitive business data when integrating BPA software. BPA tools often offer APIs or pre-built connectors to facilitate easier integration with a variety of software and services.

Integration goes more than just system deep though. You’ve got to incorporate IT teams, end-users, and stakeholders to guarantee a seamless transition. The integration of AI and BPA technologies with existing systems can enhance their functionality and efficiency without the need for extensive modifications to the current business processes.

Measuring the impact of BPA tools

Assessing the influence of BPA tools requires monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) for the task at hand such as cycle times, throughput, cost per unit, and customer gratification scores. 

Businesses must assess benefits both tangible and intangible, including increased efficiency and productivity, cost reductions, improved customer satisfaction, and better employee engagement.

Intangible benefits of BPA tools incorporate enhancing process transparency. No more looking into a black box. Instead, BPA tools can give your team insightful data for continuous improvement, and facilitate the advancement of intelligent automation initiatives. Be sure to regularly review performance against your goals to understand areas for improvement.

This will only serve to maximize the long-term return on investment (ROI) from BPA tools.

Building blocks of BPA: key components and strategies

The implementation of BPA calls for a systematic approach. It starts with:

  1. Comprehensive analysis of current processes
  2. Identifying bottlenecks
  3. Understanding why a process is a good candidate for automation
  4. Process mapping to provide a visual representation of a workflow
  5. Enabling a clearer understanding and identification of gaps between current and ideal processes
  6. Laying the foundation for BPA

Aligning BPA efforts with an organization’s strategic goals ensures that automation initiatives contribute to broader business objectives and digital transformation. Developing SOPs and establishing clear roles for those involved in BPA are crucial to managing automated processes effectively and integrating them seamlessly with the surrounding business ecosystem.

Centralized automation through the use of business process automation tools not only provides process transparency but also enhances workflow efficiency by automating tasks and presenting all steps within a single interface of a robotic process automation platform.

BPA in action: real-world examples and success stories

Real-world examples of BPA success stories showcase its transformative potential. By automating complex workflows, BPA ensures consistent service delivery and exceeds customer expectations, contributing to improved customer satisfaction. 

For instance, TotalEnergies Belgium committed to a massive overhaul of their customer acquisition and onboarding processes with the clear goal of improving customer experiences and efficiency. They saw success almost immediately across a few small pilot processes before implementing Camunda in the full registration process.

It’s not only back-end processes that are improved by BPA. Revenue-facing processes can also see a significant lift. For example, look no further than Zalando’s order processing and likeMagic’s creating an entire end-to-end digital guest journey.

Tackling challenges in BPA implementation

While BPA implementation does come with its set of challenges, they can be overcome with the right strategies. To mitigate employee resistance, businesses must effectively communicate the benefits and objectives of BPA to showcase the value it brings to the company and its workforce. Engaging employees in the BPA process creates a sense of ownership over the automation changes.

Likewise, addressing job security concerns by outlining the company’s commitment to its employees can alleviate fears associated with BPA’s effect on their future roles. Effective change management strategies are required to manage the disruption caused by altering established workflows during BPA implementation. Developing a backup plan is crucial for dealing with possible failures or disruptions in BPA, ensuring business continuity.

Maximizing returns: best practices for implementing automation

A strategic approach is required in the implementation of BPA to optimize returns. Here are some key steps to follow:

  1. Understand existing processes, their suitability for automation, and potential improvements.
  2. Set clear objectives and benchmarks to effectively measure BPA impact and drive strategic automation efforts.
  3. Prioritize areas for automation to target significant business impact.
  4. Create a backup plan for scenarios where automation does not work as expected or impacts other workflows.

By following these steps, you can ensure a successful implementation of BPA.

Training users on new processes and technology is crucial, covering both BPA tool usage and changes to business procedures. Upskilling opportunities help alleviate employee fears and prepare them for new roles post-automation. 

Monitoring, maintaining, and improving automated processes ensure BPA delivers expected benefits and adapts to changing business environments. Optimization of BPA tools should ensure they remain aligned with business needs and comply with regulations while reducing errors and boosting efficiency.


The facts are in and BPA has continually been shown to streamline tasks, enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and bring a significant competitive edge to businesses. 

However, any hope of succeeding lies in taking a methodical approach. Be sure to map your processes, make sure your automation efforts are in line with your business goals, and continuously review and optimize BPA tools and processes. 

As we look to the future, trends like predictive and prescriptive analytics, cloud-based solutions, hyperautomation, and workflow orchestration promise to make BPA even more dynamic and synchronized, reshaping businesses for the better.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Business Process Automation (BPA)?

Business process automation (BPA) refers to the use of advanced technology to automate repetitive tasks, aiming to increase efficiency and accuracy while reducing costs in business processes.

What is an example of a BPA in business process automation?

An example of a BPA in business process automation is the automation of structured, repetitive tasks such as logging into a system, retrieving data, and adding it to another system using custom-coded software bots. This can save time and reduce human errors in the process.

What is the difference between RPA and BPA?

The main difference between RPA and BPA is that RPA automates individual tasks while BPA automates end-to-end processes and helps optimize workflows.

How is artificial intelligence used in BPA?

Artificial intelligence is used in BPA to automate tasks that require cognition and enhance decision-making through data analysis.

What types of tasks can BPA automate?

BPA can automate a wide range of tasks, from simple, repetitive actions to complex workflows. It can eliminate the need for manual data entry, streamline file transfers, and automate order entry processes.

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