How Automation Can Work For You

By Nana Hughes-Lartey | 23rd October 2019

In this article, we’re going to explore what automation actually is, and how it can be of great benefit and fundamentally transformative for your business both in terms of time saved and for speeding up your workflow process.

Here is the general definition for automation:

Automation, the application of machines to tasks once performed by human beings or, increasingly, to tasks that would otherwise be impossible. Although the term mechanisation is often used to refer to the simple replacement of human labour by machines, automation generally implies the integration of machines into a self-governing system. 

Essentially automation is a series of automated actions for steps in a business process. It allows people to spend more time on important work and less time on the processes that support them. Using software to automate tasks can super charge your company is so many ways.

Benefits of automation?

Saves you time & money

Once you have an automatic system in place for repetitive tasks, your workflow process will give you time to work on other more important aspects of your business. 

Improved efficiency and flexibility

Automation helps companies eliminate the bottlenecks that exist in the current process that harm the efficiency and response time that come with the changing demands of customers. When business replaces the legacy processes with automated workflows, they can create new ideas to improve the efficiency and provide better results to the specific demands of these customers. They can have the flexibility to switch according to the priorities.

Streamlining the process

You can now change your existing infrastructure and processes with cutting-edge digital tools and software that can seamlessly integrate with your systems and data through digital transformation. 

You can streamline your entire work process by adopting digital automation and real-time processes to increase the ability to make improved decisions. This will help you to make the most of your data and make better decisions to reach goals sooner.

Improved customer satisfaction

Customers today are used to companies being responsive and attentive. With specific tasks automated you can give customers a response quicker than if the request had to go through an arcane and outdated process that didn’t involve digital at the heart of the communication.

Continuous improvement

With a streamlined process, improved efficiency and flexibility and improved customer satisfaction, you can continuously improve and expand. 

Reduced risks

Let’s face it computers make less mistakes that us mere humans. If you give a section of your process to a bot to automate it will make fewer mistakes. The simpler the task the less likely it is for that task to be completed with an error.

Empowers employees to produce impactful work

You should be on the war-path to seek and destroy the busy-work that clogs up your team’s work process. The biggest reason to do so is that you want your team to be focused on work that has the highest impact. And busy-work isn’t that, It’s just busy-work. Looks like a lot is getting done but it adds little value to what’s important.

Creates more efficiency

With the aid of automation, you and your team can have the confidence to move through your work with swift action and little time wasted. An efficient organisation is a lean organisation. When every aspect of your process is as efficient as possible it gives you the ability to look at where the most significant improvement to your company can be.

Streamlines communication

One of the biggest benefits of workflow automation is that it improves internal communication.  A team that can communicate swiftly is agile and responsive to any change that requires urgent attention. If automation is a key part of a teams communication there’s no opportunity for things to be missed. Because you are automating workflow you also automate communication, because no one has to remember to tell the next person it’s their turn to do something.

The best way to create an automated process is to get everyone involved in that process together. Then you can begin creating a process map and visualise where the process begins and ends and what role each person in that process.

Creates accountability

By automating workflow you effectively create one person who is responsible for every part of the process. For each step in the process, there is one person designated to perform a specific action. By doing this you are creating a system of accountability, where everyone knows what specific tasks they are responsible for. This also reveals which tasks take the most time to complete and where the process seems to get held up the most frequently.

By creating workflow automation, everyone knows what a person is responsible for what task and everyone is clear on what needs to be accomplished at any given point. And workflow automation enables you to make better future decisions to create more effective processes and divide out work accordingly.

How to know what to automate?

Ok so some work is unavoidably boring, sometimes boring work is very valuable, and sometimes it’s not important. Either way if it is repetitive work that’s required and it not cognitively straining due to complexity then it should be automated right away. Save yourself from the mendacity of mind-numbing tasks.

There are a few things that will help you establish whether you should automate a task or not.

  1. Track your time. Do this for a few days to see what is taking up a lot of time, you might already have a suspect in mind, if you find a consistent time sinkhole that’s clearly time being wasted it could be something that could be remedied by automation. 
  2. Look at your process for low impact and time-consuming tasks
  3. What don’t you enjoy doing? Tracking inventory? Give that one to digital automation.

How to know where to automate?

There are plenty of places within every company that can benefit from automation. The main places to look at your process would be the following:

  1. Sales
    1. Using a Client relationship Manager
  2. Marketing
    1. Newsletter permissions 
    2. Scheduling Posts
  3. Supply Chain
    1. Give stakeholders updates via a privately accessed dashboard
  4. Inventory control
    1. Track what items you have in your inventory via enterprise software
  5. Administration
    1. Let an application do your book keeping for example – often software can predict what a transaction is based on previous entries

Automating tasks is something that is easy to adopt. Although It can be a challenge to identify where you need automation and digital transformation, It’s definitely worth investing in analysis of your process as it’s something every business can benefit from.

It’s something that we love to work out for our clients. If you’d like to find out how and where you could automate tasks within your business please get in touch.

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