Jumping on the Tech Wagon - Automation Done Right (Automation Series: Part 1)

Technology | 6 minutes to read

11th Jul, 2018

In this digital day and age, if you are not thinking about automation, you are doing it wrong. Businesses across all verticals, irrespective of the size, are deploying some form of automation to achieve great efficiency and make work simpler. From sales to marketing, every business process is undergoing an automation makeover.

Thanks to advances in Artificial Intelligence, a lot of tedious and time-consuming tasks are being undertaken by software applications, thus freeing valuable human time. But where there is automation, there is fear of humans losing jobs.

PwC estimates that by the 2030s, 38% of jobs in the United States would have been automated. However, according to the research released by Gartner, AI powered automation will create 2.3 million new jobs by 2020.

No matter which side of the conversation you are on, you are bound to not just see but experience the possibilities that business automation has to offer.

Here is a look at what goes into incorporating automation in your business and how to ensure that you get it right.

Taking the first step

The automation process or stages for every organization is different. It depends on the size of the organization, number of people employed and what processes are being automated and above all, how much of automation is precisely required by the business. The last point is critical because it is definitely not a herd-following game, it involves investments and the output depends upon the wise decision making during the initial stages.

Coming back to the basic stages, while true enough, it varies for each set of entity, however, there are certain stages that remain same across for all verticals. The only difference may lie in how and when they implemented.

Let’s take a look at some of the core stages of business process automation so that you know what to expect.

This is usually the first phase in BPA implementation. It involves a detailed study of your ROI goals and researching BPA platforms that can help you achieve that goals. In this phase, future expectations are laid down and the right platform is identified. Whether you go for an existing BPA platform or build a custom one, depends ultimately on your ROI goals.

This is the difficult part. Implementation is key to a smooth deployment. Some organizations decide to take things into their own hands and initiate deployment. However, the advisable way is to hire an implementation partner that can guide your team through the entire process and make sure that the implementation goes smoothly.

Once the BPA is implemented, it gets deployed across the organization. This phase involves on-boarding the entire team onto the new platform and requires a bit of hand-holding till the time the team gets used to working on the platform. As the BPA is deployed in a real-world scenario, usage is tracked. Corrective measures are deployed in order to make the process seamless for the end-users.

Business Intelligence
Most organizations skip this last step, may be because of the skewed understanding of its cost vs benefit matrix. However, it is advisable to integrate a business intelligence platform into your automation platform.

BI works in tandem with the automation platform to gather actionable data and insights pertaining to both the end-users and customers, enabling the organization to take informed decisions and deploy future strategies.

There is no fool-proof plan for implementing business process automation. And there is no one-size-fits-all approach for it. The ideal plan is fluid and makes room for several hits and misses before the right balance is achieved.

How to Get Automation Right

Getting automation right is hard, but when done in the right manner, it yields amazing results. From enhancing the speed and efficiency of your team to freeing up valuable resources from tedious, repetitive tasks. Business process automation can become your organisation’s catalyst for growth.

Now that you know what goes into automating business-critical processes, here is a primer on how to get it right.  

Build a team to test and implement
The best way to ensure smooth automation, assign a dedicated team to test automation software and implement it gradually into the processes you want to implement it onto. This way, you will not only zero-in on the right product but by the time the software is implemented fully, you teams will already be familiar with it.

Know what to automate
Don’t automate a process just for the heck of it. Study and evaluate your existing business processes and decide which ones need automating and which ones don’t. This will save valuable resources and cost.

Help Your Team
Don’t try to enforce automation on your team. Instead, help them understand why automation is needed, how it is a value-add for them specifically (the organisation benefit can detailed later!) and hand-hold the team through the testing and implementation process. Assign dedicated resources that the team can reach out to in order to understand how the automation software works.

Plan your Automation
Automation is best done gradually. Plan the entire process meticulously. Plan ahead for automation months in advance, so that when your teams transitions to the new software, things go as planned. Automation can turn into a nightmare when not done in a planned and coordinated manner.

Calculate the ROI
Before deciding the right software, find out whether it’s worth to automate the process under consideration, at all. Although automation has its merits, it’s not best suited for every business model. Calculate the ROI you hope to achieve from automating your business processes and make your decision accordingly.

Think Security
Automation means digitizing your business processes. And that makes them vulnerable to external attack by cybercriminals. Ideally, choose an automation software that comes with security capabilities built-in. If not, then make sure that you deploy the right security software to protect your business processes.

Automation is not easy and doesn’t happen overnight. But when implemented right, it has the potential of elevating your business process and revolutionizing the way you do business, paving the way for future growth.

All things considered, the rate at which automation is evolving, it would be worthwhile for you to consider automating your business-critical processes. This will not only bring in speed and efficiency to your business but also give you an edge over competition, enabling you too stay ahead of the curve, all the time.

(This is a part of 3-Blog series on Automation. Stay tuned for the part 2 where we will talk about the scenarios of ‘Automation Gone Wrong’ and what can you do about it)


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