Editor’s Note: Welcome to the Partner Perspective blog series, highlighting subject matter expertise and industry insights from Celigo’s partners. Today’s article features Blu Banyan, “an award-winning NetSuite Solution Partner and SuiteApp developer with extensive experience in ERP consulting, implementation and professional services, especially in the solar, manufacturing, wholesale distribution, and apparel sectors.”
Think about your bottlenecks and the repetitive tasks you face at work and ask, “What would happen if you could automate them?”
According to a CompTIA study, here are the three top areas targeted for business process automation:
- Bottlenecks that slow things down
- Duplication of work
- Poor interaction between departments
Automation addresses these and other challenges by optimizing business processes that involve multiple teams, applications, and systems.
One industry that’s ripe for automation is ecommerce. When companies started selling their wares online, it was considered supplemental to in-person or phone sales. The opposite is true in the digital age, but now we are at the point of post-digital ecommerce, where automation fuels success.
Business Process Automation During the Post-Digital Age
Recently, Blu Banyan participated in the Post-Digital Ecommerce Automation Summit, which brought together a panel of industry professionals to share their ecommerce and automation experience. We want to thank the event organizer Celigo and the other speakers from Slalom, Titan Brands, Body Art Alliance, and OZ Naturals for joining us in contributing to the discussion.
For those who were unable to attend, here are five key takeaways from the summit:
- Creating the best customer experience is critical, and automation creates an advantage in how fast you can adapt to changes in customer behavior. Better reaction translates to improving customer retention and growth.
- Visualize your business as automation-first. Adaptability in customer experience requires an incredible level of efficiency, which requires automating as many processes as possible.
- Create a culture that identifies areas that could benefit from automation. Companies that embrace automation delegate tedious and error-prone tasks away from employees, who can then focus on company growth and evolving the customer experience.
- Successful automation requires free-flowing information, integrating all your data under one Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system with a cloud-based Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) makes that possible.
- To build a case for post-digital ecommerce automation, look for “low-hanging fruit” that has automation potential. After automating a process, check that it is working as expected. Then review and compare the new metrics with past results to validate your proposal of increasing automation to fuel growth.
Blu Banyan’s Role
When moving to a post-digital model, CEO of Blu Banyan Jan Rippingale spoke about a roadmap for building an iPaaS system and how you can avoid three common potholes on the automation journey: integration, data, and process.Integration:
“An iPaaS system will deploy faster, let you experiment, and try different things. It’s easier to maintain. Your power users may surprise you, sometimes it’s an intern, and sometimes it’s your CFO. You never know who gets into this, but they have the ability to maintain the flows,” Jan said about the advantages of iPaaS integration.Data:
One advantage of connecting your ERP with an iPaaS is creating a common SKU protocol, which makes data more readable and repeatable. The data follows a standard process and rules, which mitigate the risk of errors.Process:
Jan recommends using a blueprint when moving to an iPaaS to clarify whether it’s being done right as you add different systems. Using the acronym CRUD is one way to optimize your processes – it’s not our favorite name for a policy, but bear with us.
CRUD stands for Create, Read, Update, Delete (or Deactivate). It helps identify all the processes that need to be automated as well as the already fixed processes.
She showed how an iPaaS could be easier to maintain, giving department end-users more ownership of their tasks and providing a single pane to capture all troubleshooting errors. Organizing your data under one system can optimize updated processes and scale operations.
Another key to automation optimization is what Jan calls, “Stop starting and start finishing.” It can be hard to resist the temptation to start automating as much as possible right off the bat. Unfortunately, that often leads to unfinished automation, which does nothing, so before you start new business process automation ideas, finish the ones you already started that match your goals.
Jan discussed how the right partner can help companies during this transitional phase.
“Our goal at Blu Banyan is to bring the best ideas, technology, and innovation into the world, so that small and mid-sized companies can access and leverage high-end business applications that were difficult and expensive to implement in the past,” she said.
Not sure where to start? Call and speak with one of our migration specialists about joining the post-digital revolution.