Business Process Automation for Sustainability: Why It Matters

and how to start.

In my previous articles, I focused on the how, and here I will switch the perspective and dig deeper into the why.

To bring us to standard wording:

Business process automation (BPA)
It is defined as automating complex business processes and functions beyond conventional data manipulation and record-keeping activities, usually using advanced technologies. It focuses on "run the business" instead of "count the business" types of automation efforts and often deals with event-driven, mission-critical, core processes. BPA usually supports an enterprise's knowledge workers in satisfying the needs of its many constituencies. Gartner, 2021
Robotic process automation (RPA)
is a productivity tool that allows a user to configure one or more scripts (which some vendors call "bots") to activate specific keystrokes in an automated fashion. The bots can mimic or emulate selected tasks (transaction steps) within an overall business or IT process. These may include manipulating, passing data to and from different applications, triggering responses, or executing transactions. RPA uses a combination of user interface interaction and descriptor technologies. The scripts can overlay on one or more software applications. Gartner, 2021

The challenge

In today's world, businesses are facing increasing pressure to be more sustainable. Consumers and stakeholders demand that companies take action to reduce their environmental impact and promote social responsibility. One way that businesses can meet these demands is by implementing business process automation (BPA).

BPA involves using technology to streamline and automate repetitive tasks and processes within a company. This not only increases efficiency and productivity but also has significant sustainability benefits. Here are just five reasons why BPA is vital for sustainability, and there a many more:

1. Reduced Carbon Footprint

Companies can significantly reduce their carbon footprint by automating processes such as invoice processing, data entry, and document management. By reducing or eliminating paper-based processes through automation, companies can save trees, water, energy, and other valuable resources. According to a study by the Environmental Defense Fund, paper-based invoicing alone generates, e.g., one billion pounds of waste each year in the United States.

2. Increased Energy Efficiency

Another benefit of BPA is increased energy efficiency within a company's operations. Businesses can significantly reduce their energy consumption by automating tasks such as lighting control or HVAC systems in buildings. For example, a building management system that controls lighting based on occupancy sensors can save up to 30% energy savings in addition to reducing costs associated with energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels used for electricity generation.

3. Improved Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management is another area where BPA can have significant sustainability benefits. By automating inventory control processes or logistics planning software, businesses can minimize waste from overproduction or transportation inefficiencies resulting from manual planning methods. For example, Automated demand forecasting tools help identify trends in consumer behavior, allowing manufacturers or retailers to adjust production rates accordingly. This reduces unnecessary waste and improves product availability while meeting customer expectations, resulting in higher customer satisfaction rates.

4. Reduced Water Usage

Water scarcity continues to be an issue worldwide - with some studies predicting that two-thirds of the global population could face water shortages by 2025. Companies must ensure the responsible use of this resource. One way they could achieve this is through Business process automation, such as installing innovative irrigation systems for landscaping operations which helps optimize watering schedules based on local weather conditions, soil moisture levels, etc.

5. Improved Compliance with Standards & Regulations

Companies must adhere to compliance standards set by various regulatory bodies concerned about environmental impact. Manual tracking & documentation often leads to errors leading to non-compliance fines. Business Process Automation helps eliminate these risks and ensure adherence, thus avoiding costly penalties while promoting better environmental stewardship practices.

Start with Robotic Process Automation on your journey!

Microsoft Power Platform as Enabler

Microsoft Power Platform is a set of low-code tools that allow businesses to create custom applications, automate processes, and analyze data.
It includes five main components:

These tools work together seamlessly to provide businesses with an efficient way to automate and streamline their processes. Companies can easily create custom apps without extensive coding knowledge or expertise with this platform. Automating processes increases productivity and efficiency by reducing the time taken for manual tasks. Additionally, the data analysis provided by the platform helps businesses make informed decisions based on real-time insights into their operations. Overall Microsoft's Power Platform is a useful RPA tool for BPA that provides end-to-end solutions for enhancing productivity and efficiency in organizations of all sizes.


Business Process Automation offers many benefits beyond just increasing efficiencies - it also offers enormous potential for advancing corporate social responsibility efforts from reduced carbon footprints through improved supply chain management practices, all aimed at enhancing environmental stewardship activities across organizations large & small alike. So, if you're looking at ways your company could contribute towards achieving more meaningful sustainability goals – consider implementing Business Process Automation with Microsoft's RPA platform, the Power Platform.

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