What is Business Process Automation (BPA)?

Business Analysis and Strategy

What is business process automation?

Business process automation (BPA) is defined by Gartner as “the automation of complex business processes and functions beyond conventional data manipulation and record-keeping activities, usually through the use of advanced technologies.”  

Business process automation can be applied to manual, repeatable tasks throughout an organization to improve efficiency, while at the same time connecting applications and streamlining processes throughout departments.


What are the benefits of Business Process Automation? 

Improved efficiency 

Business process automation can execute routine and time-consuming tasks without any manual interference. The practice optimizes resource allocation therefore saves time and money across business operations. 

Enhanced customer experience 

BPA makes contextual customer data readily available, facilitating faster response times and creating more personalized experiences.  

Promotes collaboration 

The practice unites business and IT teams enabling them to collaborate more effectively. Bringing business and IT knowledge together in fusion teams ensures that both departments’ needs are represented during a project and solutions are delivered faster.  

Business orchestration 

Business process automation supports orchestration across the enterprise, coordinating people, systems, and information across the organization. It allows workers to collaborate on tasks, integrates systems to eliminate siloes and provide a single view of business data to enable better informed and more efficient decision making.


What types of business process can be automated?  

Business process automation can be used across core, support or management processes. Common business process automation use cases include: 

Employee onboarding – making sure important steps are followed across areas such as training, IT assets and payroll. 

Customer service – ensuring that all necessary actions are taken to rapidly deliver specific services to customers or to manage problems such as claims or complaints. 

Vendor management – collecting vendor information in one place and ensuring a single version of the truth that improves the efficiency of working with vendors. 

Governance and compliance – building key compliance steps into day-to-day operations with automated processes built into the apps that employees use to do their work. 

Check out how some of our customers are implementing business process automation in their organizations.


How does business process automation differ from robotic process automation? 

While both technologies aim to increase the speed and accuracy of processes, RPA does this at an individual task level whereas BPA orchestrates and optimizes end-to-end processes.


How is business process automation related to business process management? 

Business Process Management (BPM) is a related practice to BPA. BPM is more focused on the process models themselves, and how to model, analyze, measure, improve and optimize business processes, according to Gartner’s definition.  

Business Process Automation in the other hand applies to a broader set of activities: automating those processes and then applying them throughout the business to improve efficiency, promote collaboration, and enable connectivity.  

It should be noted though, that BPA evolved from BPM. The method builds on traditional BPM to help businesses further optimize end-to-end processes and deliver enterprise-wide digital transformation.


How to identify business process automation opportunities 

The best way to determine automation opportunities is by gathering feedback from relevant stakeholders, including employees with extensive knowledge and experience of business processes, to find out where automation can add value. 

Good candidates for business process automation are processes that are: 

High volume 

Automation can handle processes that involve a high volume of transactions, data entry, or repetitive actions more efficiently and consistently than humans. 


Processes (or tasks within them) that are performed consistently with little variation as these can be automated to save time and reduce the risk of errors. 


Processes that follow defined rules, logic, and decision-making criteria as automation tools can be programmed to follow these rules. 


Unlike human employees, automation can work 24/7 to execute processes meaning no delays and quicker turnarounds.  

Prone to errors 

Automation can improve the accuracy of data input.


Business process automation examples 

Discover how Bunzl transformed their customer enquiry process with automation, saving 7 days a month on call logs & reducing resolution time by 33%, enabling service agents to deliver a better experience to customers.


Business process automation challenges

One of the most common mistakes organizations make when automating processes is failing to define how success will be measured. This lack of direction makes it difficult to judge process performance and measure ROI. Another frequent misstep is not involving employees and informing them of the benefits that automation will bring to their role.

For more on the challenges of business process automation and tips on how to overcome them read our blog.


How do I implement business process automation in my organization? 

Implementing business process automation successfully is about more than selecting the right platform (although this is of course an important element). Setting project goals and putting together the right team of people (uniting business and IT) ensures that the project team is clear about the aim of the project and has the required knowledge to deliver the outcome.


Ready to get started? Learn more about the Bizagi platform and how it can help orchestrate the people, applications, devices and information across your organization.