An article that I wrote in June, “The High Cost of Inefficient Automation“, focused on the high costs to your organization of inefficient automation.  This time around, I thought we’d take a look at some of the huge benefits to be gained by taking the care to create solutions designed for high efficiency. After all, if we’re looking at automating business processes, that’s really the GOODNESS that we’re after, isn’t it?

Let’s start by acknowledging that creating electronic forms can be easy. Really easy. At their simplest, they’re just fields on pages. Efficiently and effectively automating the processes that underlie those forms, however, can be a different thing entirely.

The benefits of efficiently automating a business process can be measured in many different ways. It’s in the time saved by users in initiating, reviewing, and approving actions. It’s in the monetary savings tied to that reduction in time. It’s in the data accuracy that can be gained by enabling an electronic form to intelligently pre-populate data, apply business rules to eliminate errors, and perform data validation. It’s in the satisfaction of employees that get to use an application that is intuitive, fast, and easy.

For us at Gideon Taylor, it’s exciting to see the results of a well-automated process. The State of Tennessee’s Benefits Administration (BA) administers a customer service center that serves over 300,000 state, higher education, and local government employees. The State uses PeopleSoft employee self-service to enable benefits selections for its direct employees but has relied on a custom solution to allow retirees and ‘non-payroll’ employees to enroll in benefits. Each year, this custom solution processed approximately 34,000 enrollment and change actions, with over 40% of those requiring correction or additional documentation, many that couldn’t be completed with the initial request, and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on help desk services to support password resets and questions arising from these once-a-year actions.

With the help of Gideon Taylor, the State recently replaced their custom solution with a new Benefits Enrollment eForm. With pre-population, built-in edits and validations, automated workflow, and direct integration with the State’s core benefits system, the impact of the new eForm solution has been transformational, resulting in far fewer calls to the helpdesk and much faster enrollment processing. With the old solution, each Benefits Coordinator could process approximately 35 forms per day. With the new eForm, they’re processing 35 forms per hour. With a 700% boost in productivity, imagine what you’d be able to do with all of those newly-available hours!

Dominion Questar, an energy company headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT, has seen similar gains with eForms automation. A couple of years ago, Dominion Questar automated their employee onboarding process with GT eForms™ for PeopleSoft. Prior to implementing eForms environment, preparing and administering onboarding paperwork required 3 to 4 hours of an HR representative’s time for each new hire. By intelligently automating those forms and processes, that’s been reduced to an average of 15 minutes, enabling HR representatives to focus their time on more value-added employee services. With 1,000 hires annually, that’s an equivalent savings of over 3,000 hours or 1.5 FTEs each year.

By implementing a GT eForms™ solution to automate personnel actions within PeopleSoft, the University of Florida reduced overall human effort by 75%, shortening turnaround time, improving data accuracy, ensuring process compliance, and saving hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of staff time.

Wakefern Food Corporation, the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States, processes over 10,000 job change actions each week with workflow-enabled, PeopleSoft-based eForms, delivering high-volume efficiency, accuracy, and ease-of-use to its network of more than 300 ShopRite® and Price Rite® stores.

Each of these provides a great example of transformational change achieved through efficient process automation. Next time you’re looking at automating a business process, be sure to invest the time in reviewing both the process itself and the solutions available. While the effort to automate that process may be a one-time cost, the resulting solution might be used by employees throughout your organization every single day, and that’s an investment that can generate returns for years to come. Make it count!

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