How to identify which business processes to automate or outsource

Business process management

Roger Walker, our Managed Services Director, outlines how to identify which business processes should be outsourced or automated to help organisations optimise operations and further business growth. 


One of the best methods to boost efficiency, build resilience, and increase revenues is to optimise critical processes. 54% of UK organisations are already investing in business process management technology.

In this article, you’ll learn about business process management, and how process automation and outsourcing can create lasting positive outcomes within your organisation, particularly in challenging business conditions. 

A definition of Business Process Management

Business process management is a structured approach to improving the processes organisations use to get work done, serve their customers and generate business value. 

Companies often conflate it with business process automation, but while the two terms share commonality, they describe different concepts. Business process management includes the management and optimisation of entire operational processes. It focuses on the end-to-end lifecycle rather than a specific individual task.  

On the other hand, business process automation focuses primarily on enhancing steps within larger processes and systems. When we talk about business process automation, we usually describe a process that has been digitised using automation. 

Conversely, business process management isn’t strictly technology-based and can involve human intervention. It can comprise traditional ways of working with new digital technology. The essence of a good strategy is finding the right solutions for your organisation to run more efficiently and productively. 

Why it is important to focus on business processes now? 

Due to challenging economic conditions, inflation and rising energy costs, 2023 could be a difficult year for business.  Business leaders face a number of challenges which make a case for business process management technology:


Globalised industries mean businesses need to be even more efficient to be competitive with the products, services and experiences they provide.

Workplace culture

Your employees and customers are digital natives. They expect experiences to match their expectations. In a poll of 14,500 UK workers, 86% said they embraced automation in their workplace.

Business processes and ESG 

Large companies – public limited companies and others – must report their energy use and carbon emissions yearly. By limiting paper use and power consumption, in some cases, business process management can help your organisation meet demanding ESG regulations. 


The cost of cybercrime is increasing yearly, as is the sophistication and regularity of incidents. Finding secure ways to manage critical document workflows will mitigate risk. 

While large-scale digital transformation might be put on hold, process automation and outsourcing are cost-effective projects to enhance digital maturity and make an immediate impact. 

Through the application of business process management technology, organisations can find cost savings, hidden efficiencies and productivity gains. 

Which processes are suitable for Business Process Management projects? 

Often, processes that could benefit from business process management technology share several common characteristics. 

While working with our customers, we’ve noticed these processes often fall just outside team skillsets, are assigned KPIs and are separate from core day-to-day business. 

The defining feature is their importance. Most processes suitable for optimisation involve multiple email threads, documents and approvals that must be carried out correctly, or you risk losing a customer, damaging your reputation, infringing compliance laws or obscuring your ability to forecast finances effectively.

Business processes to automate and outsource in 2023 

Digital Document Management Automation

The use of physical document storage, or multiple digital storage locations like OneDrive, risks traceability, security and accessibility. Conversely, a professional document management solution can help your people be more efficient, responsive and secure. 

Digital document management enables your people to quickly access, edit and save documents across all your devices, either in the office or on the go. This enables you to save on storage costs by storing documents in the cloud. In regards to security, it will also help you protect critical document workflows, improve reporting and limit human error. 

If you’d like to learn more about Digital Document Management Solutions, take a look at our dedicated eBook.

Click to read Why you need a professional document management solution
You can also learn about our specialist Accounts Payable solution here

Digital Print

If you’re spending too much on print, outsourcing enables you to gain greater transparency, visibility and control of rising costs. It also enables you to provide your employees with a positive and efficient printing experience.

Businesses can approach outsourcing their printing in two ways: you can hand over control of their in-house print room to a managed service provider, or you can outsource the fulfilment of the print to a business process service provider with its own print facility.

With pre-agreed management fees, SLAs, and regular performance assessments, you can ensure value for money and feel rest assured a high-quality print operation is producing your print.

Watch the video to learn about the full benefits. 

Scanning and Digital Archiving

Digital information drives modern business, but many organisations cling to legacy, paper-based and ongoing business processes that require hard-copy documents.

An outsourced scanning and archiving service can do the heavy lifting of digitising old records. This creates a digital repository making documents easy to locate and retrieve. It will also create digital copies of new documents. This gives you control and governance over documentation, avoiding your time wasted searching for records, improving security and ensuring you meet compliance.

Watch the video to learn about the full benefits.

Inbound & Outbound Mail

With the high labour cost, manual, paper-based mailroom processes have become expensive to run, while the lack of visibility reduces productivity across the organisation. Especially when your employees work from both home and office locations.

With a Managed Mailroom Service, you can optimise communications, reduce manual handling of mail and ensure delivery to employees anywhere.

Offering a single source for mail management, outsourcing centralises and streamlines the input and tracking of all inbound and outbound mail across your organisation, ensuring complete traceability and compliance.

Watch this video to learn more about Inbound Mail.

Or watch this video to learn more about Outbound Mail. 

Your next step 

If you’d like to understand more about business process management and read success stories from Ricoh customers, you can find everything you need to know in our new eBook

Automate or outsource your manual processes:

Click to read Business Process Management
Remember, the future is all about challenging outdated working practices; business process management technology can help you stay ahead.


Roger Walker

Managed Services Director at Ricoh UK

Read all articles by Roger Walker