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How to start your automation journey

Rob Gethen Smith
Rob Gethen Smith

What a tricky and treacherous year it has been for businesses across the globe. It has truly changed the working world as we know it and companies have been looking at how to react and enable remote working environments.

For some businesses, the pandemic has been a wakeup call. A wakeup call that it’s vital to keep up with digital.

And for these businesses in particular, it has been a time of complete stress, uncertainty and endless hard work to keep their business up and running when employees cannot work from the office.

To be frank, enabling that remote working environment has never, ever been so important.

Yet, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. When are business related projects ever easy?…

The reasons many companies struggle to enable remote working may be due to inefficiencies that simply make remote working so ineffective, it’s easier to just not support it.

But all of those inefficiencies can be reduced, if not eliminated.

We’re now seeing many businesses turning to automation to improve processes, reduce costs and technical debt that can be supported to effectively offer systems remotely.

So, if you’re looking to start your automation journey, first the business must own the project.

Let’s be clear – it isn’t an IT initiative. It’s a business-wide initiative that aims to improve operational inefficiencies and therefore isn’t passed on to the IT department to ‘deal with’.

Again, the business must own the project.

 

Get started

To start your automation journey, you need to highlight the areas where there are a lot of repetitive tasks. You want to focus first on the low skill high frequency tasks. Every business has them because every business has administration to do.

You need to remember that automation isn’t just about cutting costs.

And it’s certainly not about replacing employees with automation.

It’s about eliminating those arduous, repetitive processes that take up too much valuable time and suck the life out of employees.

It’s about boosting productivity and focusing on the real high value, engaging tasks that give them a sense of importance and purpose and ignite great work morale.

It’s also about your customers and the experience they have with your company. Obviously, you want it to be a good one, so make sure you review these business processes that will have an impact on the customer experience, too.

One you’ve outlined at least 20 processes that need attention, capture the volume and how long they take, then shortlist this down to 5 you think will add the most value.

You won’t need to tackle them all at once – but with prioritisation you can start working through the things you want to change, adding the most value first. Successful automation projects are those which aren’t rushed but are carried out over time.

Once you know what processes you’re dealing with, you’ll need to engage with vendors to build out an ROI. Yes, it’s an investment, but you can guarantee you’ll see a good return.

Next comes budget approval. Probably the hardest hurdle to jump, but if you have a good business case with good, effective vendors, then you’ll be flying.

Got budget sign off? Put together your POC to test whether the concept is feasible, considering internal and external impact. Remember that communication with the teams involved and who will be using the automation tools is vital for mitigating any disruption when it comes to rolling it out.

 

Roll it out…

Make sure you roll out the automation project with a measured, steady approach. This is the best way to make sure deployment goes as smooth as possible.

Communicate and work together with your teams. After all, they will be ones using the automation tools and getting the most out of them.

It’s as simple as that.

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More about the author

Rob Gethen Smith
Rob Gethen Smith - Director, Business and Digital Consulting

Rob is passionate about enabling organisations to increase their impact through strategic business and digital transformation, with a focus on customer experience, growth and innovation.

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