Automation has become an important tool when it comes to improving your business’ efficiency and effectiveness. However, while automation is on the increase, only 31 percent of companies have fully automated at least one of their business functions, so there is still a long way to go.
A lot of businesses are unsure about how to automate their processes so they can enjoy the greatest benefits. There is no need to worry, though, as we are going to take you through seven strategic steps to follow to automate business processes in this blog post.
What is automation?
But first, let’s establish what automation is. Automation is the term for technology applications that mean human input is minimized or not required at all. Technology is used to monitor and control the production of different products or services, enabling your business to work as efficiently as possible.
Benefits of automation
Some of the main benefits of automation are as follows:
- Reduced lead times
- Shorter workweeks for labour
- Improved safety
- More efficient use of materials
- Better quality and productivity
- Higher levels of accuracy
- The ability to focus on your core tasks
- Capacity to offer more services
How can you automate business processes in a strategic manner?
Automation delivers many benefits but this is only going to be the case if you implement it correctly. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the different steps that you can follow to automate your business effectively:
- Use Artificial Intelligence (AI)
There is only one place to begin, and this is by using AI. There are many uses of AI in business, yet automation is one of the most significant. Artificial Intelligence covers a broad range of computer science that is concerned with creating smart machines that are capable of carrying out tasks that are usually performed by humans.
As time goes on, AI is becoming more and more human-like. This means that tasks are increasingly being carried out in an exact manner they would be if a human was doing them, only with greater speed and accuracy. It is, therefore, not difficult to see why 86 percent of CEOs have said AI is a mainstay in their offices.
- Be strategic about where you implement automation
Simply implementing automation for the sake of it is not an effective approach to take. Instead, you need to sit down and strategize what parts of your business would benefit from this the most.
Think about the areas of your business that are most prone to human error and tend to slow down your overall productivity. If these areas could be improved and accelerated with automation, it makes sense to do so, enabling you and your team to put your efforts into other business practices.
- Understand the manual process first
Before you can make a manual process automated, you need to fully understand the manual process and what is entailed. You can then translate every step into an executable strategy, as you will have broken each step down into smaller tactical steps that can be coded with greater ease.
This is a process that needs to be checked and fine-tuned to ensure that automation is as effective as possible. Every step needs to have the flexibility to evolve and interact with other parts of your system to ensure fluidity.
- Perform an optimization audit
If you have not done an optimization audit in recent times, now is the perfect opportunity for you to do so. You will be able to identify the data entry processes, review processes, and approval processes that require the greatest amount of user input.
These processes should be measured in terms of the number of levels and clicks, as well as cycles and interactions. Those with the greatest numbers have the greatest need and return on investment (ROI). Work internally or with your vendors to develop these solutions.
- Automate small tasks for a bigger impact
This leads on from the former point about breaking down your large tasks into smaller tasks. It also makes sense to focus on any small tasks within your business, for example, automating sending emails at times that are most convenient for the recipient.
Something as simple as this is only going to take you a few minutes to set up, yet it will save you heaps of time by ensuring connections are not missed. You can have peace of mind knowing that you are reaching out to people at times that are convenient for them, therefore increasing the likelihood of receiving a reply.
- Automate tasks that are repetitive
Aside from the points that we have mentioned so far, it also makes sense to automate tasks that are repetitive. For example, with businesses that hire a lot of staff every year, adding the names, dates of birth, addresses, and other pieces of information into a number of different systems, including insurance, payroll, expense, and travel, can be very long-winded.
This is the sort of task that could benefit from automation, ensuring all of the details are automatically updated across every software used within your business. This would take a matter of a few minutes, rather than 30 – 60 minutes.
- Automate for external and internal engagement
Last but not least, automation is critical in terms of scaling marketing. Not only is it vital in terms of optimizing your internal workflows but you can also use it to boost revenue, especially if a large chunk of the purchasing process is done online.
Final words on the strategic ways to automate company processes
So there you have it: everything that you need to know about automation and how to implement this effectively. We hope that the tips and advice that we have provided in this posttips and advice that we have provided in this post will help you when it comes to automating your company processes and procedures.
This can deliver huge efficiency gains for companies across all industries but you need to make sure that you implement automation in a strategic manner for this to be the case.