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In practice, Business Process Automation (BPA) sounds ideal. Why not engage partners who can offload some of your more repetitive, manual tasks to others? What could you achieve if you were able to refocus resources on higher-priority initiatives?

Yet when many organisations carry this line of thinking forward, they begin to feel overwhelmed by the idea of potential risk. What if data is lost? What if the implementation fails? What if they invest in the wrong partner or technology?

Largely, these fears are unfounded. As BPA becomes more and more standard amongst organisations across ANZ, there are many reputable providers who have developed secure solutions that enable businesses to maximise productivity without introducing unnecessary risk.

The key is choosing the right partners to support your organisation through its BPA journey—and to accelerate the time-to-value for your implementation.

How choosing the right partner de-risks BPA

As BPA has become more of a strategic imperative, a number of providers have sprung up, claiming to have the skills needed to improve the efficiency of your business processes. As you’ll see, however, there is a big difference between providers adding a BPA practice in name only and true advisory partners with extensive, proven experience deploying custom BPA solutions for top Australian organisations.

Here are a few things to look for to determine whether the provider you’re considering is truly able to de-risk your implementation and speed up your time-to-ROI:

Does the partner offer guarantees and SLAs?

Working with a partner that offers defined service-level agreements (SLAs) and time-to-value guarantees reduces uncertainty in business process outsourcing.

According to Ken Hickey, Head of Business Process Solutions at Canon Business Services ANZ (CBS), “One of the key things is we have to give the customer is the certainty of delivery. At commencement of an engagement, we seek to determine the desired customer outcome and end state. We have to be able to say, ‘We will deliver this outcome by embedding it into the business as well as guaranteeing its effectiveness and providing a time to value for the benefits to be realised”.

That said, while SLAs are important, Hickey also believes they should be considered table stakes. “In every instance, we want to deliver beyond the SLA in order to bring true business value to each customer”, he continues. “We aren’t just here to tick off criteria boxes. True customer satisfaction is cultural and goes beyond contracted service levels”.

Does the partner have a core competency in BPA (or experience working with leading companies)?

Every customer is different, with different challenges and pain points. But BPA solutions, at their core, are nothing new. The difference in execution comes down to the experience level of your chosen BPA partner—experience that can really only be gained from hands-on, tactical implementations with leading-edge customers.

“Look for BPA specialists where these processes and technology are their core business”, advises Hickey. “At CBS, we innovate and change all the time, but customers can feel comfortable that we’ve done this before for other people. Every time we implement something, we learn a little bit more, so we have all of that experience and knowledge to draw from”.

This is also why Hickey cautions organisations against attempting to implement BPA on their own. “Partners like CBS are involved in BPA all day, every day—for all types of industries, organisations, and functions. When you work with us, you’re benefiting from the learnings of tier-one customers—there’s a certainty around what we’re going to deliver and how we’re going to deliver it, compared to doing it yourself”.

Do they have experience meeting compliance and data security requirements in your industry?

Experience partnering with top companies also means that BPA partners have more rigorous processes and procedures in place in order to meet the compliance and security requirements of the industries in which they operate.

For instance, our approach to certifications and compliance— including ISO certifications, GDPR, infosec, and PCI compliance, as well as payment standards like Peppol—is driven by the types of clients we work with. “Because what we build is built around servicing government customers or top-tier financial customers and the big banks within the region, everyone benefits from that benchmark of security”, Hickey notes. “Whenever a customer has a compliance requirement, there's a fair chance we have ticked that box already for somebody else”.

Interestingly enough, the result of this effort means that many of our customers find that implementing BPA naturally de-risks their internal processes (including those they weren’t aware weren’t meeting industry standards or regulations).

“One of the big mistruths around BPA is the idea that, if you outsource their data, it’s going to be inherently insecure”, Hickey explains. “But the beauty of business process automation is that processes can either pass or fail—they can’t make mistakes like a human can. So you actually get a compliance uplift, rather than losing something in the compliance space”.

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Do they offer customised solution development or out-of-the-box software?

“Using out-of-the-box software increases the risk of failure in a BPA implementation, since the solution isn’t designed specifically to meet the customer’s requirements”, Hickey explains. “Because all of Canon’s implementations are customised around the customers’ needs and pain points, risk is reduced”.

He is quick to note, however, that ‘customised’ doesn’t have to mean ‘expensive’ or ‘bespoke’. Instead, a custom solution development is simply one that meets the customer’s specific requirements in the most efficient, cost-effective manner.

Accelerating ROI with BPA outsourcing

In many cases, implementing BPA results in transitioning from the variable costs of having internal team members support processes, to the fixed costs of offloading them to a partner. This makes calculating a rough time-to-ROI relatively simple—and it’s the reason CBS can offer customers a guarantee that they’ll see a positive return on their investment within a matter of months.

Strategic BPA partners can accelerate this time-to-value by applying their existing processes and knowledge to customers’ challenges, solving them quickly based on past learnings. Choosing the wrong partner—or attempting to implement BPA internally without the necessary experience—slows down returns or may even result in a negative ROI if the wrong BPA systems are put in place.

For more on how BPA outsourcing with Canon Business Services can produce a positive ROI in months—or to get a custom quote for your specific business challenges—reach out to our expert team today.

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