Business Process Automation (BPA)

Software applications automate routine business tasks from beginning to end, streamlining workflow and increasing productivity. Learn how to incorporate this technology into your product offering and watch your revenue grow.

Business Process Integration Resource Library for End Users

Business Process Integration Resource Library for End Users

How UCC Technologies Streamline Business Process Automation

Business process automation involves technology-enabled tasks or services that accomplish a certain objective or undertaking. The more individual technologies a business implements, the more complexity there is, making systems more difficult to manage and use. Business process automation is the solution to a growing conglomerate of business tools by automating tasks using technology in order to simplify workflows and improve productivity. Examples of processes that can be easily automated are document management, client service and support, and customer management. These automated processes can be made even more effective by integrating them with an organization’s unified communications and collaboration (UCC) technologies. Let’s take a look at how this works:Document ManagementLabor-intensive processes can be streamlined using UCC technologies and document management systems. For instance, companies that must collect and distribute large amounts of paper applications spend a lot of time on that process. Worker resources are required in order to read through, sort, approve, reject, and file applications by hand. By collecting documents and scanning and storing them into a document management solution, the process can be automated to a certain degree. By adding a fax server into the mix, applicants can fax their paper applications to the company’s fax server, and they can be transferred directly into the document management system, significantly improving productivity and saving time. This results in being able to redeploy resources to other projects and allows applicants to get answers on their applications in a timelier manner.Client Service and SupportWhen companies add new products or services to their portfolio, business tends to pick up. When a group of people are assigned to answer calls about these new offerings, things may get busy, and calls may end up going unanswered. In order to automate this process, organizations can program hunt groups, automatic call distribution, or call centers. In order to offer even more effective customer service, UCC contact center components can be installed in order to offer multi-channel access, including chat, e-mail, and video contacts, creating greater customer satisfaction. Adding interactive voice response capabilities, monitoring and reports can help improve call routing and give businesses information on how well they are serving their clients.Customer ManagementSalespeople must have a way of tracking their sales contacts in order to understand where the buyer is in the process, when to follow up, and what the next steps are. Some sales organizations still rely on paper and labeled folders in order to keep track of their sales prospects. In order to automate the process, many companies are implementing customer relationship management (CRM) systems as a customer database that allows for keeping customer contact information, notes on calls, and where the customer is in the sales cycle. By adding UCC components like screen pop, whenever the phone rings from a client that exists in the CRM database, the PC screen pops up so that the salesperson can answer the call quickly, knowledgeably, and professionally. Instead of writing notes on paper, notes on the call can be transcribed into the database record. UCC can also provide tools that show if any other company representative spoke to the customer recently and what was discussed. Reports can be generated that can help salespeople and managers understand the sales funnel. UCC can also help integrate CRM systems into contact centers for enhanced customer service.These are just three ways that business process automation can be integrated with UCC technologies in order to improve systems, increase productivity, and enhance service. Value-added resellers can work with their customers in order to determine their business process automation needs and implement UCC tools in order to support organizations’ goals.What business processes do you find customers most want to automate and support with UCC technologies? Please comment below.

Three Ways of Enhancing Business Processes with Integrated Communications

Enterprises that carefully plan and install Internet-based unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solutions gain a significant advantage in their ability to integrate with and enhance their business software with communication capabilities. Ways of enhancing business processes are being driven by growing popularity in social media, big data, cloud services, and the Internet of Things, which all provide new ways to improve processes, with the end result being better customer service, stronger marketing strategies and increased revenues.Companies are basing their UCC platform decisions more and more on their ability to incorporate integrated communications with businesses processes. The most common software packages that are integrated with UCC systems include customer relationship management (CRM), contact center and office productivity tools. Approximately 40 percent of enterprises implement CRM, 30 percent enable contact centers and 20 percent integrate office productivity tools as part of their UCC systems. These software tools, when integrated with UCC help strengthen business processes in the following ways:1. Relationship ManagementCRM tools are gaining ground as a result of communications enablement. This is where customer information shows on a screen when an incoming call comes in. Studies show that CRM screen pops are one of the most widely adopted forms of process integration (26 percent), allowing employees to understand immediately whom they are dealing with, what has happened in the past with the customer, and how important the call is based on buying history. CRM tools are especially important in contact center environments. Screen pops can also be used in conjunction with interactive voice response (IVR) systems, where callers can use voice or touchtone input in order to enter information, for instance, for bill payment. Based on the caller input, the IVR system can populate a screen and transfer it with the caller to, for instance, a billing agent. Callers get faster service, leading to increased satisfaction, and agents are better prepared to deal with each caller when they are pre-armed with customer information and history. Agents’ jobs are easier to perform as well due to the integration of click-to-call, allowing a number to be dialed automatically without ever leaving the software application. Because CRM platforms are widely available in the cloud as well as on premises, they are becoming more popular for all types of enterprises that want to improve relationship management.2. Contact CenterContact center software integrates well with UCC. Customers used to simply make a phone call in order to contact a company’s sales or support call centers, but with the growth of millennials and the advent of contact centers, things are changing rapidly. Customers want to be able to reach a company when they want and the way they want to, so the enterprise contact center is growing in order to include multi-channel access. While still available by phone, customers can now go to a company’s website and click to chat or click to call with a live agent. Other customers may prefer to use email, video chat, or social media in order to contact a company. Contact center agents are now trained to handle multiple types of contacts in order to give their customers a choice and the best customer service possible. With UCC integration, callers waiting in queue in order to speak to an agent can choose to initiate a callback when an agent becomes free, preventing the caller from the aggravation of waiting on hold. Hosted contact centers are now readily available as well, making integration of UCC easier and more cost-effective. Add in a CRM system and the UCC capabilities become more effective for both customers and companies.3. Office ProductivityOffice productivity is application-based software used for producing information, such as documents, presentations, worksheets, databases, charts, graphs, and digital video, as well as  providing door security, paging, and camera integration. When enterprises integrate UCC into their office productivity software, communication is extended by leaps and bounds. The scope of integrating UCC with office productivity includes being able to communicate in real time during document creation, the ability to use IP phones in order to provide door security, the ability to use federated presence among multiple locations with diverse UCC systems. It can also include integrating loudspeaker paging systems with IP telephony, providing IP camera security and door-opening capabilities as well as providing voice mail to email presentation. All of this integration contributes to more productivity, ease of use, and time savings.Channel partners are best suited to provide these integration services for their customers, and the three examples discussed above are the most common and most successful forms of UCC and business process integration. Understanding customer needs is the key to success.Does your company offer services integrating UCC with business processes? Is this becoming increasingly important to your customer base? Please comment below.

Seven Ways That UCC Solutions Optimize Business Processes

The ability for enterprises to be able to optimize business processes through communications enablement will increase speed, improve time to market, and improve efficiencies. This is important for companies that want to gain or maintain a competitive edge in their field. There are many ways that unified communications and collaboration (UCC) tools can help optimize business processes, and value-added resellers (VARs) can help bring some of these to the attention of their enterprise clients.High levels of UCC are often built in mind with the ability to integrate communications input/output that reacts in response to a business process. This requires an innate knowledge of the business, who is communicating with whom, and the paths that communications are taking. Here are seven ways that UCC solutions can help optimize business processes:1. Unblocking BottlenecksMany companies experience bottlenecks in ordering, production, and service. By including UCC into these different business processes, bottlenecks can be significantly minimized. Typically, communications issues create these bottlenecks. For instance, products are not ordered accurately because of missing SKUs or inventory issues, production does not receive expedited orders in a timely manner, product delivery is not coordinated correctly, and after-sale service is not communicated well. By communications-enabling these business processes with some element of UCC, product ordering can become more accurate, because the inventory system will notify someone immediately that SKUs are not in inventory and can reorder and expedite the required components; order entry systems will automatically notify the sales department that there will be a delay in the order and can keep both the salesperson and the customer apprised with texts, email, or instant messages (IMs) with the status of the order, helping keep the customer happy. UCC tools that can be used to unclog these bottlenecks include IMs, text messages, and emails, which can automatically be set to trigger a process into motion to fix the situation.2. Ease of Message Access and ResponseWhen workers are unable to receive their messages and respond to them in a timely manner, a communication breakdown occurs. This can affect businesses on all levels, from sales to service to overall profitability. Unified messaging is a UCC tool that can be used by companies in order to improve message access and response. Fax, email, and voice messages can all be delivered to a universal inbox, saving time in checking messages. Message notification is universal for all message types and can be accessed from any device. Messages can be forwarded to other users in order to save time and improve response time, and users can have their email messages read out loud to them when reading them themselves is not an option. Users can prioritize messages to be read first and can even have the system automatically dial back the sender. These tools prevent voicemail and email tag and speed up the process of receiving and responding to messages.3. Finding the Right Person the First TimeThere are times when a worker needs to find a subject-matter expert immediately in order to avoid affecting a sale or customer service. This can happen with employees in the office, mobile workers, and employees who work remotely. In order to resolve these issues, VARs should recommend a UCC method that meets the organization’s needs, like single-number reach, where the employee has one number and can be reached regardless of his or her location or the device that he or she is using. Presence management can be used in order to locate and determine the busy status of any employee in the directory, and then an IM can be used to make contact. Softphones can be connected to corporate VPNs so that callers can dial a home worker’s office number and the call will ring on his or her laptop screen for immediate access.4. Trouble Mitigation UCC tools can be set up to automatically detect and report trouble. For instance, when network scores drop below a certain level, a notification can be triggered to have an engineer work with the problem immediately in order to prevent further issues.5. Joining Groups for Immediate Problem Resolution When a problem arises that requires a specific team to resolve, UCC tools can be embedded into business processes in order to automatically set up a conference call, Web conference, video call, or whiteboard session so that the problem can be addressed on a team level.6. Automatically Determining Where Assistance Is RequiredUCC tools can be integrated to send notifications to, for instance, supervisors when assistance is needed. Instead of having a call center supervisor randomly monitor calls in order to ensure accurate agent training or customer satisfaction, the call center can integrate with tools that recognize certain words or phrases that can trigger a notification to the supervisor in order to automatically join a call. This can help prevent unhappy customer situations, can help supervisors understand the need for additional training, and will quickly help resolve problems through preventative care.7. Customer CareIntegrating CRM systems with call centers can help improve customer care. Agents will receive a “screen pop” on their computer screen when a caller entered into the system makes contact and allows agents to review previous orders and issues. Agents can also see if anyone else has recently worked with the customer and can enter notes and updates about their current interaction.There are many ways to UCC-enable enterprise business processes, and as more automation is required and desired by organizations, there will be more ways to communications-enable these tools. VARs can work with customers in order to determine which UCC solutions will allow for the best current and future business-process enablement in order to make the best investment possible. What are common business processes that your company UCC-enables? Please comment below.

Four Business Process Automation Benefits That Boost Productivity

 As businesses seek to remain competitive and improve profitability, striving to increase productivity while also reducing costs is a constant battle. Business process automation (BPA) helps resolve these issues and offers businesses the ability to lower costs on all scales while elevating productivity. Methods of implementing BPA vary from company to company depending on the needs of the business and are often customized to perform certain tasks.The concept of BPA is continually evolving and changing in order to meet the needs of the enterprise and will continue to do so in the future along with advancements in technology. It is important for businesses to map out their existing processes and determine which provide value and which need to be automated in order to add value. This mapping also includes determining which tasks can be cut from the workflow and added into the automation method. This will help improve ROI, allow businesses to redeploy resources, and streamline the workflow by increasing productivity. Some of the productivity-enhancing benefits of BPA are:Consistent Output – Machines perform tasks far more efficiently than human-oriented tasks, because machines tend to be mistake-proof, require no breaks, and can produce at constant levels. Machines offer the benefit of better and faster production of products and services and never become tired, worried, or sick like humans do. Productivity Across Teams – Teams that are geographically dispersed can be made more productive by providing BPA tools that allow workers to share work, communicate effectively, and find experts to help with projects. Corporate silos can be eliminated with online BPA tools. The better teams communicate, the better productivity on projects can be realized.Corporate Governance and Compliance – Process and regulatory compliance are important for all organizations regardless of the industry that they operate in. With BPA, all tasks’ and processes’ work goals can be evaluated and will ensure maximum accountability, which can lead to better compliance. On the other hand, changes in regulations mean that a business must act quickly and respond accordingly. Business automation solutions provide business managers the ability to detect and manage changes in real time, improving corporate governance and compliance.In conclusion, it is evident that BPA offers greater opportunities to businesses for growth, compliance, and maximum productivity. In order to become the most competitive they can, business leaders must learn to be flexible and responsive and to provide consistent value to customers. Value-added resellers can support customers in their endeavor to improve business processes in any type of company to help them become more productive, competitive, and profitable.Does your company understand the types of BPA benefits that help boost productivity? Please comment below.