Succeeding in business is all about staying ahead of your competitors. Anything you can do faster, more efficiently, and better than the competition gives you an edge. And when you enhance business processes, you become more competitive. You can produce goods at a lower cost and charge less than your competitors.
Automation is here to stay, and businesses are embracing it–and that’s a good thing. By 2026, the business process automation market size will grow to $19.6 billion USD globally. In 2020, the figure was 9.8 billion USD. When business operations are automated, the results are higher productivity, reliability, increased performance, and lower operating costs. And best of all, automated systems can help companies enhance service delivery.
Without question, the benefits of task and process automation are many, but businesses should avoid automating everything at once without a rational plan. Having a plan ensures you use time and resources wisely to implement automation. Use these 7 tips to automate business processes effectively and increase productivity.
Test Multiple Solutions Before Settling on One
This is an important step because the tool you choose determines how processes run in your company. Good automation software simplifies work. It replaces repeatable processes and reduces manual intervention. It also accelerates the completion of tasks by automating manual processes that previously required a human touch.
Follow these steps to find the best automation tool:
- Identify your organization’s needs.
- Create a checklist of features you want in the software.
- Check system integration–is the software compatible with your system?
- Confirm whether the solution is easy to set up and use.
- Check the software’s security features–it should be able to repel cyber-attacks.
- Choose a customized solution.
Also, check the software’s reporting mechanism, the developer’s technical support, and find out whether it can incorporate bug management and test case repositories. You can create a team to test and implement the automation tool.
Build a Culture That’s Suitable for Implementing Automation
As with most new technologies, automation can make employees fearful–because they think they will be replaced by machines. To successfully implement automated processes and transition your organization, show employees how automation will empower them.
Automation has to be woven into the culture of the organization for its adoption to be successful. Gartner predicts that by 2024, most companies that leverage hyper-automation technologies will lower costs by 30%. How can your business be one of them?
- Change the mindset of employees.
- Involve leadership.
- Break down barriers between IT and business.
- Build a more agile workforce.
- Make learning a cultural experience.
- Use automation to enhance the performance of your workforce.
It’s also important to identify the processes that need automating. Not all business processes can be automated. The best candidates for automation are repetitive tasks, time-consuming tasks, and resource-intensive processes that are subject to human error. When these tasks and processes are eliminated or simplified by automation, employees have more time to focus on complex and significant tasks that require human intervention.
Start With Small, Menial Tasks and Progress Gradually
Workflow automation doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a gradual process that takes time. When deciding which business operations to automate, ask yourself–and your team–this question: Which tasks are performed frequently?
Small and menial tasks that must be done often or on a set schedule should be automated first because the benefits will be immediate. Your employees will spend less time every day on repetitive work which is often burdensome or annoying.
We recommend picking tasks that are low-risk and high volume, recurring tasks that don’t require a lot of human scrutinities. For example, in marketing, repetitive tasks can be writing social media posts or client data management. Prioritize the tasks based on how much risk, effort, and resources are involved.
Make it Easy for People to Embrace Automation
One of the biggest reasons employees resist automation is because they don’t know what’s being done or why it’s happening. This usually breeds fear, which can derail your automation initiative.
Here’s what you should do.
Show employees that their jobs will evolve. They’ll no longer have to deal with monotonous, repetitive tasks that could be better done by a machine. They will be spending their time doing work that matters which is more fulfilling than simple, routine tasks.
A company called Momentum Machines has designed a robot that will make a hamburger in less than 10 seconds. Can you imagine how much money and time it will save establishments in the fast-food industry? As artificial intelligence continues to evolve, humans will make fewer decisions. Researchers estimate that 47% of U.S. jobs may be automated in the next two decades.
Yet, the fact remains that the cognitive abilities of humans are superior to those of machines. We can think more critically, imaginatively, and creatively. Even the best automation software only works when it is embraced by the people who will use it.
Automate Processes for the Long Term
It’s always a great idea to plan ahead in business. So, as you automate processes, think long-term. The short-term benefits of automation are well known–it saves time, money, and increases productivity. But what would you like business process automation software to do for your business in the long term? Do you want it to help employees to focus on innovation, reduce risk, or allow management to make better decisions?
Make sure the automation tool you get can adapt to future business changes without extra input. If you want to get value for money, buy automation software that aligns with your company’s short-term and long-term goals.
Be Prepared for Security Risks
Very few systems are fail-proof. However, many businesses are super confident about their systems; they are certain they have nothing to fear. But if there’s no way to identify security breaches, your organization may have a security compromise for months without realizing it.
Automation software requires less oversight, and this can lead to complacency. Even if you’ve designed a system that seems foolproof, you have to stay informed about shifting security threats. Your software may be outsmarted by cybercriminals and your security system may not have evolved to keep up. Remember, anything automated is susceptible to hacking. Set up plans to handle security breaches and prevent malicious attacks.
Prioritize Solving Specific Problems with Automation Throughout the Organization
Workflow automation has 4 primary goals: to solve problems, quicken processes, save time, and boost productivity. Identify the specific problems you want to solve with automation.
When you don’t prioritize problem-solving, automation software simply gives you the wrong information. You have to find out the problems that need solving then automate the problem-solving process. Focus on automating the processes that will have the biggest ROI and save the most time.
For many organizations, automation is a way to increase productivity and do more. But many businesses are automating processes in a hurry or wrongly, and missing out on its benefits. Use these tips to automate processes the right way and increase overall business productivity.