Given that most companies are looking to do more with fewer resources, business process automation (BPA) is topping most corporate “to do” lists. BPA is the transformation of typically time-consuming and routine manual tasks into streamlined technology-facilitated operations.
For start-ups and early stage companies, BPA offers tremendous advantages including streamlined internal operations and less capital tied up in critical, yet routine processes.
What’s more, the potential for long-term cost savings and the minimization of human error further supports the competitive advantage that every start-up or early stage company requires.
1. Ignoring BPA and Limiting Productivity
Start-up and early stage companies tend to misinterpret the value of BPA, yielding to the false assumption that the incorporation of computer-enabled activities may either remit corporate control or cost more than the human equivalent.
In reality, neither is true. By leveraging electronic document management alternatives, an organization can focus on innovation in addition to minimizing storage costs, reducing costly errors and improving departmental efficiency.
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- By ignoring BPA altogether, companies are actually putting themselves in competitive disadvantage right out of the gate. For starters, there is a strong likelihood that competitors are already engaging BPA on multiple levels.
- What’s more, for the successful, high-growth startup that must quickly satisfy high demand, discounting time-saving options can mean the difference between keeping and losing customers.
2. Implementing BPA without Measuring Its Effectiveness
For those startups that do incorporate BPA, its essential that you establish key performance indicators, KPI’s, and review progress or lack thereof, on monthly and quarterly basis. While a BPA solution is predominantly self-sufficient, the effectiveness of BPA still needs to be monitored and measured frequently.
- Similarly, a start-up may find that the process they are automating changes as their business evolves. Without continuously monitoring internal processes and controls, Start-ups will overlook and/or miss the opportunity to change or modify its process when it’s most critical to do so.
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3. Purchasing a System That Doesn’t Fit Company Needs
Of the three biggest mistakes I encounter, this is the most common and the most harmful. Too often start-ups won’t allocate enough time to evaluate the BPA investment. Never assume that it can and will appropriately achieve the desired outcome or goal.
Unfortunately, not all electronic document management systems are created equal. Understanding your critical business needs, the importance of software due diligence and lastly measuring the level of internal support are critical before you make a buy decision.
- A good vendor will work collaboratively with a company in order to determine the best processes to automate, and to ensure that their product is capable of doing so. A great vendor will think outside of the box, attempting to push the boundaries of their technology in order to accommodate and streamline a range of tasks – and will do so without overpromising.
There’s just no question about it: Investing in the wrong system will be a costly mistake that could potentially doom a startup.
For start-ups and early stage companies, the opportunity to enter the market with a lean and efficient means of conducting business can be the difference between success and failure. By understanding what BPA truly is and planning its implementation strategically, start-ups are that much more likely to reap the rewards quickly.
Bio: Jeff Frankel is Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at docSTAR, a B2B software firm specializing in cloud content management and business process automation. He has more than two decades experience in corporate business development, working with industry-leading firms including Authentidate Holding Corp, Med-Flash, Health Focus of NY, and Ernst & Young. You can follow Jeff and the docSTAR team on Twitter, @docSTARsoftware.