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Why Business Process Automation Projects Fail

business process automation projects

Why Business Process Automation Projects Fail


Business Process Automation projects require a great deal of planning and preparation to ensure that business systems are properly migrated to automated platforms. However, some things can go wrong. Let’s look at some of the common reasons leading to automation projects’ failure.

Business process automation is a technology strategy for enterprises that involves deploying automated platforms to manage their systems, operations, and employees through predefined workflows. The process here refers to a string of interconnected steps or actions that move your workflows toward a fixed goal. Some important and widely used applications of business process automation are:

  • Human resource functions (employee onboarding, attendance, conducting annual reviews, and more)
  • Operations
  • Project management
  • Finance
  • Customer service
  • Email automation

But not all business process automation projects are always successful. Despite a real need and case for automation, there are several reasons why your deployment may not yield the desired outcomes. Let us look at some of the common ones to watch for. Learn more about the objectives and uses cases of BPA.

Reasons for why business process automation projects fail

  • Focusing on tools and tasks instead of people: One of the most common, and ironic, reasons why an automation project fails is because the platform is designed emphasizing heavily on the machines and infrastructure it will operate on rather than the people it will work for. Several business process automation projects fail because they are not built around humans and their productivity, given that the success of business outcomes is directly tied to how easily employees can do their job.
  • Misjudging the impact of reconstructing or re-engineering the existing process: When looking to deploy business process automation, businesses often have to weigh the project in terms of its benefits in the present with those in the future for various stakeholders. However, project teams may at times seek, in a bid to reduce project delivery time, to re-engineer steps within processes as per their current needs or those they perceive redundant at that time. This approach, however, does not help. Most steps in a process are dependent on each other so eliminating one step may likely affect other connected steps as well. This can lead to disjointed or broken processes in the future. It is, therefore, advisable to make it clear how much a process can or cannot be modified during the project.
  • Lack of clarity on how various organizational processes work together: Business processes normally form integrated networks within an organization that interconnect various data forms, statistics, teams, regulators, business partners, and also stakeholders. So it becomes a very intricate network of combinations and connections for business processes. The downside of this is that when changes are made in one process, it impacts other processes, especially given that automation relies on the precision of inputs needed to perform tasks.
  • Inadequate clarity about how a project will be reviewed: Process automation projects serve diverse purposes but they require a certain amount of clarity of ideas and understanding of the expected outcomes. Another aspect is setting priorities when making decisions. If this step is missing, then at the time of reviewing projects, the errors may not be substantiated or removed in time, thus resulting in the project falling short of the outcomes expected.
  • Inability to prioritize problems to tackle: In many instances, project teams will begin directly with tackling the bigger or more convoluted problems first. This, however, leads to overutilization of time without understanding the more fundamental issues at the core that need to be addressed first. It is better, then, to take a bottom-up approach and start with solving key issues at the foundation level and later move on to building high-level functional aspects later.
  • Not taking enough time to understand and plan project requirements: It is always advisable to decide beforehand what is to be done, how it is to be done, and what are the relevant skills required to fulfill the project requirements. However, in many instances, the project team may begin building without devoting adequate consideration to the requirements and the resources needed. This, without any doubt, is a recipe for failure.

Planning and strategy: The key to BPA project success

One of the most important things to consider with business process automation projects is the interconnectedness of processes along with the dependency and sensitivity of the applications or systems being automated. While factors such as the cost of deployment are important considerations for any BPA project, enterprises must also factor in support and maintenance of their deployments to ensure they operate efficiently at all times. Hence, before any project, it is imperative to assess costs against benefits and to take a long-term view to maintain a balance between both.

VBeyond Digital works with you to build your business process automation strategy and help you drive multi-dimensional digital transformation initiatives with the latest technology. When we complete a BPA project for you, we ensure that your new and legacy systems interact with renewed agility to drive business success. Click here to learn more about our BPA solutions.


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