Thanks to the advance of technology that is widely available, automation is taking over the business world. Today, companies of all sizes and industries rely on business process automation to transform their enterprise into a more efficient, productive, and profitable business. In fact, between 2017 and 2019, companies using automation rose from 16% up to 50%. The digital process automation market is worth $6.7 billion and by 2023, this figure is expected to reach $12.6 billion.
If you still haven’t joined the business automation bandwagon, this article offers 5 key steps that will help you create a solid plan and make 2020 your most successful year so far!
1. What Do You Want to Automate?
At first sight, this might sound like a no-brainer but don’t rush it. Selecting the right tasks you want to automate is very important as that’s where you will be setting the base for successful automation.
There are many tasks that can be automated but probably shouldn’t be. For instance, there’s a number of automation tools for content writing, web design, and translation, but they usually fall short of the task. Automation tools for creative tasks like these are simply not able to mimic the complex human cognitive processes.
When it comes to choosing tasks to automate, think about which ones are time-consuming, repetitive, and simple enough for algorithms to handle accurately without human input. Here are a few examples:
- Analytics reports
- Sales/CRM Process
- Customer support
- Automating email responses for different leads
- Social media management
- Invoice processing
- Bulk image optimization and resizing
- Employee task assignments
2. Select Your Tools
Once you’ve decided on which tasks you want to automate, you should take some time to select the right automation tools. The only problem is, there’s a huge number of automation tools. So, how do you choose the ones that are best for your business? Here are a few guidelines you should follow:
- Create a checklist of features of the business automation tool you’re considering.
- Look around for the right quality solutions and mature tools that already have a proven ROI.
Make sure that your newly chosen tool is capable of easy integration with other systems.
- Ensure that you and your team will be able to use the tool without difficulties.
- Think long-term and find a solution that can scale along with your advancing business.
- Choose a tool with all possible security measures applied to repel a potential cyber attack.
- Subject the automation tool to quality control standards to uncover possible bugs.
3. Set Your Goals
After you have selected your automation tool(s), it’s time to set specific goals that you will be using to measure your success and improve your processes. Because, at the end of the day, the point of using automation tools is to make your business more profitable.
In many cases, the aim of automation is to free up time so that your employees can focus on other tasks. So, the first question you should ask is: How are you going to use this time? Define your objective and ensure it is measurable so that you can see the influence of automation.
Try to be as specific as possible, set objectives for each quarter, and use them as a basis to measure success.
4. Make Automation Part of Your Company Culture
Did you know that 90% of employees are being burdened with boring and repetitive tasks that could be easily automated? In addition, nearly 70% of employees have suffered from work overload in which they have too much to do on a daily basis and more than 80% of workforces are anticipated to reach breaking point by 2020 if they don’t tap automation to handle the volume of generated tasks.
Make sure your team members are capable of recognizing repetitive tasks that could be automated in order to free up more time. This time can then be dedicated to creative tasks that can’t be automated, increasing your team’s efficiency.
Once you start seeing the benefits of automating your business processes, you will constantly look for other possibilities to automate and improve your operations.
This is exactly the kind of culture you should strive to build in your company. This mindset is all about maximizing the results by using what you already have. However, bear in mind that this way of thinking won’t happen overnight, so make sure to be constantly present and reward your employees every time they manage to use automation in order to drive better results.
5. Track and Improve
When it comes to automation, one of the most important steps is choosing the right KPIs and setting targets. If you fail to do this, you won’t be able to measure whether automation actually has a positive impact on your operations. What’s more, you won’t be able to identify opportunities to improve your automation and boost your results. Automation is capable of amazing things, so sometimes, even a simple tweak to your workflow may add hundreds or thousands to your profit margins.
If you’re still hesitant about automating your business processes, consider that 73% of businesses using automation are ‘very’ satisfied with the returns.
When it comes to automation, the key is to start small and expand gradually. Once you implement your first automation processes, make sure to track your results, and improve your workflows before you add other, more complex automation tools.