Business automation is a powerful way to improve the speed and agility of business operations and sharpen focus on objectives that really matter. So, what is business automation? At its core, it’s objective is to enable people to work on strategic directives and operational improvements by freeing them from highly repetitive and mundane tasks. Since business automation tools have powerful applications in data capture, management, and sharing, it drives faster and more informed decisions.
To get the full extent of benefits and generate internal support and enthusiasm, a business automation process designed for your business and mapped to your people’s needs is essential. Follow the steps and guidelines below to create the right business process automation for your business.
To initiate automation project, a good starting point is identifying well-defined tasks and procedures that are carried out repetitively. Next, consider the following questions:
- What is the workflow of these tasks?
- Who initiates each, who executes, and who approves?
- How can technology help simplify and speed up these tasks, improve the quality of execution, and free teams from repetitive work?
Defining priorities for business automation
There may be a potential to automate many different processes across all functions, so which ones should you focus on and take up first? ] You need to interact with colleagues at all levels and in all functions and may need to use various techniques to find your answers. Conversations and interviews are vitally important, or you may want to simply observe people as they go about their work.
Automation delivers the maximum value for tasks that follow a well-defined method and are executed frequently in large volumes. But you will want to invest your business automation budgets in areas that deliver the maximum positive impact on business objectives. So how do you define the priorities? Here are the critical factors that you should consider when prioritizing business automation workflows.
- Customer experience
Will automation deliver a better experience or faster response time to customers? If the answer is yes, then those processes should get priority. Business automation workflows that enhance the customer experience will deliver a range of business benefits – increased customer retention, lifetime value of customer, and higher revenues. When you think from the customers’ point of view, you may also identify processes not suitable for automation and best delivered manually.
- Data requirements
Are managers handicapped when they need to make decisions because they don’t have access to reliable and updated data? Is manual data extraction causing employees to waste productivity hours? Are discrepancies in data reported from multiple systems causing confusion? If you notice any of these issues, then manual data management workflows should be high priority areas for business automation.
Business automation solutions should focus on data requirements because data automatically shared between systems reduces the chances of errors that are likely during manual data entry. Automation also ensures that you have access to the latest data. When data is reliable and updated, you can make business decisions with confidence.
- Value realization
Processes that lead to an increase in revenue will naturally get your attention and priority. Can you make the sales function more effective or deliver products or services more efficiently? Can business automation workflows help collect payments faster? These are just some of the processes that can enhance value realization and should be fast-tracked for business automation.
- Employee satisfaction
Identify tasks that are time-consuming and draining employees of energy. Your business automation solution should free up employees’ time and allow them to work more constructively. You can also enhance the employee experience with self-service automation for a variety of people-related processes.
- Critical accuracy
In business process automation methodology, aim for it’s design to eliminate errors to the maximum extent. Identify processes where quality is critical and ways in which automation can ensure high quality and minimize errors. Use business automation tools to prevent errors that have the potential to cause damage by way of loss of business, regulatory non-compliance, reputational damage, or financial losses.
Careful consideration of each of the above factors will help you to select tasks and processes to be automated that contribute most significantly towards business objectives.
Select the right business automation tools
With clearly defined automation requirements, you can turn your focus to selecting appropriate business automation software. Data integration is usually a core requirement, and automation streamlines the management of multiple and complex data sources. The tools you select should offer you convenient visual interfaces, monitoring consoles, and built-in connectors for all the data sources that you may need. Documentation can also be generated automatically – a great productivity booster.
Reporting automation is another powerful tool that has a significant impact on fostering collaboration and making data-driven decisions. Reporting automation helps to distribute relevant reports to each stakeholder in formats best suited to reveal insights.
It is likely that workflows that you have identified to be automated are currently performed using Excel spreadsheets. Excel automation reduces errors due to manual data entry and unproductive use of resources.
The business automation software air you select should integrate easily with your existing systems and be deployed on the cloud to enable anytime-anywhere usage.
Building internal enthusiasm for automation
While the champions of a business automation project are excited about improving efficiency and reducing the burden on team members, they are often dismayed to find that some colleagues are uncomfortable when processes change. You don’t want the success of your automation project to be jeopardized by internal resistance. How can you build enthusiasm and support for the new business automation process?
Communication with people across the enterprise is extremely important. As we have seen, their perspectives should be considered right at the design stage. When you are ready to deploy automation, engage with them again. During discussions about the new business automation workflows, focus on the benefits rather than changes in the process. Change is always scary for some people, so tell them how the new system will help them – less time to collect a report, more time to chase targets, fewer customer complaints to handle, no need to cross-check data, and so on. Allow people to express their apprehensions, such as ‘will I become redundant? And provide them the support and reassurance they need.
The experts at Treehouse Technology Group can develop and deploy business automation tools that meet your specific objectives. Speak with a Treehouse expert to design a business automation solution mapped to your workflows and information systems.