Automation or Business Process Automation (BPA) is technology-based automation of business processes and services. BPA is implemented to achieve specific goals that involve both the organizational and consumer-oriented aspects of a business. However, automation does not necessarily mean that a business should completely automate its processes and reduce the workforce to a minimum. The main objective of implementing automation is to reduce pressure from employees by assigning mundane and repetitive tasks to automated software and increase employee productivity by utilizing their full potential where it is precisely needed. BPA can simplify and improve a business’s workflow by achieving greater efficiency collectively.
Automation is slowly becoming a need for the modern workplaces which is evident with its rapidly growing market cap and share. The global business process automation market is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.6 percent and it is likely to reach an approximate market value of $178 billion by 2020. Resource industries account for the maximum demand for process automation i.e. nearly 50 percent.
10 Ways to Implement Automation in Your Business:
Businesses must be aware of several factors before implementing any type of BPA into their processes. Here are 10 savvy ways that can help a business in the initial phases of implementing automation.
Check the Viability of the Automation: Automation should not be implemented unless the decision-makers completely understand the process. Every process should be identified, evaluated, and validated before automation. In addition, decision-makers should identify the lifespan of a procedure to ensure that they are actively used, updated, and then automated. Organizations that are highly concerned about each and every process should follow a set of practices to ensure the successful implementation of their automation. The practices include review and oversight, validation, optimization of tooling consistency and consolidation, documentation, and retiring the process after automation.
Calculate the Feasibility: A business has to calculate the feasibility of automation in every process so that they can determine whether it is going to deliver higher ROIs or not. Implementing automation is not easy and the businesses have to determine the cost/time savings in advance to ensure the feasibility of the automated processes. The ROI of automation also depends on the type of automation and the effectiveness of the software.
Test the Solution: An automation tool should be tested rigorously with similar processes before implementing it. The best way to do that is to let the concerned team test the software and decide whether it will work for them or not. Testing is a long procedure that involves checking the functionality of the software in different use cases. It also helps in determining the viability of the automation software.
Help the Staff Adopting Automation: Introducing automation in the organization software may cause a fear of loss of identity for some employees who perform repetitive and manual tasks on a daily basis. Therefore, the process should be implemented steadily so that the employees do not see it as a threat.
Keep Your Focus on the Specific Objectives: Automation should not be implemented just for the sake of automation. Key decision-makers have to keep in mind the specific objectives for which they wish to automate the processes. They need to ensure that both the employees and all the stakeholders are on the same page for a better understanding of the technical and business benefits.
Plan Ahead: Automation is not something to which people can adjust in a matter of days. It entirely disrupts the way an organization functions and therefore, decision-makers have to first understand it completely and then plan to implement it in a cumulative manner.
Use Task-Dependency Intelligently: Complex workflows are usually linked to critical processes through conflicting paths and those cannot be accomplished without one another. Therefore, businesses should eliminate task-dependency so the larger, more complex processes can be activated at any possible time. As a result, users get enough space to achieve automated workflows.
Streamline Management Strategy: The effective use of automation requires a refined management strategy. Entrepreneurs need to stop micromanaging processes and start centralizing communications. They can use automation to assign to-do lists to everyone and maintain clarity in their work. They can schedule appointments, meetings, and assign employee duties through a single platform which is simple and can be easily transferred to the new employees in the future.
Consider the Security Risks: Automated processes offer amazing flexibility and accessibility to all. However, entrepreneurs should not forget that anything that is digital and automated can be hacked as well. One cyber attack on any of the automated processes can cripple the whole system and severely hinder the workflow that may result in a serious loss of time and money. Therefore, the security of automated processes should be kept in mind.
Document the Progress: The progress of every procedure should be documented without any exceptions once the automation is in place. Documentation is required to look out for edge cases where problems arise in the middle of the operations due to processes being extended to their limits.
Automated systems can be used for getting a clearer picture of the state of the processes and systems in an organization. It can eliminate the gray area and let people acknowledge their actual responsibilities. With the majority of functions automated, the workforce of a business can focus on doing what they do best that is ultimately helping the business grow.