5 common business process automation mistakes

Business process automation has many operational benefits when approached correctly. Discover the top 5 mistakes to avoid.

4 minutes read | by Lee Smith | 17 August 2022

Business process automation (BPA) has the potential to increase operational efficiency, improve customer satisfaction and boost employee morale. However, if executed poorly it will have a negative impact on the business.

Achieving the benefits that business process automation can provide requires careful planning to account for common mistakes. “Leaders must treat automation as a principle to be embraced, rather than as a project to be done and ought to be aware of common mistakes that can lead to failures”, explained Nicole Sturgill, VP Analysts at Gartner.

Let’s look at five of the most common mistakes and look at how to navigate them successfully.

Mistake no. 1: Disregarding the impact on employee morale and culture

The automation of business processes has the potential to cause confusion and panic within the workforce. Some jobs may be at risk and other roles may have to be reimagined. This will cause uncertainty and prevent employees supporting the wider initiative. It’s these very employees that you need onside to ensure that the processes are properly considered and mapped out, as they are often the subject matter experts. Without this valuable input you project may be destined for failure from the outset.

Solution: Early communication is key here. Think about how the employees may react and work with your automation team and HR to ensure that the outcomes are fully communicated. Consider how individual roles can be adapted to work alongside new automation initiative and add more value to the organisation.

Mistake no. 2: Failing to engage all stakeholders

Business process automation has multi-departmental reach and impacts the whole enterprise. There will be operational changes across the organisation that will change the way in which people work. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that no stakeholder is forgotten. Even worse would be to assume that they can simply be told of the changes without their valuable input.

Solution: Involve all stakeholders as early and as much as possible. This will break down barriers and promote better cross-departmental relationships. This approach will ensure that all parties are willing to collaborate and speed up the automation initiative.

Mistake no. 3: Only replicating simple tasks

It’s easy to get side-tracked into replicating simple tasks as it will deliver instant results. However, this misses a key benefit of business process automation. The true aim of such initiatives should be to improve the end-to-end process to create better customer outcomes and employee experiences. If you don’t consider process redesign, then you may not fully understand the entire workflow and may chose the wrong solution and not achieve your desired outcome.

Solution: Focus your efforts on creating an automation framework to that takes allows for the expansion and improvement of existing tasks. Evaluate the full end-to-end process before evaluating the tools to use. Each platform will differ. Selecting the right tool becomes easier when you know the full extent of your automation requirements.

Mistake no. 4: Failing to devote enough time for testing

For business process automation to work properly the business rules must be correct. When the data flows through it will only follow the business rules that have been set. If these rules are entered incorrectly the data will soon lose its value, impacting the effectiveness of the whole process.

Solution: Build in a testing process from the start. The test procedures should not only look at the automation functions but should also test and audit the data. Make iterative adjustments to the rules and re-run the process on a test server before deploying to your live environment.

Mistake no. 5: Failing to monitor in post-production

Once your automated process is running and delivering results you may mistakenly assume that your work is done. Business rules may change over time, or new automations may affect the data in existing processes.

Solution: Automation should be seen as an ongoing process that doesn’t end at the deployment of a process. Consider establishing a post-production team to monitor and audit the automations and tools used to ensure that the business continues to receive the intended benefit. Constant monitoring will ensure that errors don’t creep in and that evolving business rules are catered for.



Business process automation can be daunting for many companies and employees. Equipping yourself with the best practices and avoiding the most common mistakes will save time and money. Find out how PhixFlow can accelerate your business process automation with a free demo.

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