4 Factors to Consider when Automating your Business

4 Factors to Consider when Automating your Business

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If you own a business, there are a lot of benefits to automating your processes. However, casually deciding to automate your methods is not recommended. Far too often..... 

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it is easy to plan without fully comprehending the risks and efforts required. It is always risky to implement a plan to automate the business operations. It is only with this mindset that the stakeholders can carry out enough internal due diligence to: 

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    document the what 'possible' benefits there could be 
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    consider the time, cost and scope of a plan to 'realise' the benefits
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    examine the risks and plan how to mitigate those risks

The keyword here is 'internal'. Often I have customers who will, and quite rightly, be skeptical about the claimed benefits that get presented to them. And that's how it should be. My view around any benefit realisation is that they are in a lot of cases unattainable unless there is some stakeholder ownership driving the plan to capture them.

So what standard factors should you consider when planning a business process automation plan.

Business Budget

Your Money Bag

Your Money Bag

When budgeting, plan for a gain to be seen and tangible before further budget allocations take place. Seeing a benefit could be as simple as a reduction in call time for customers, reduction in duplicate customer records, increase in retention of customers, simplified sales processes and getting prospects through the funnel quicker and so on. There will be numerous small, tangible benefits that a good implementation plan will document. Look to those as guidance around the decision on committing significant future budget allocations.

Relevancy

Another factor you could consider is whether the processes you are targeting for automation are right for your business in the first place. If a process can be eliminated without significant productivity loss, perhaps elimination should be documented as the benefit.

Understanding the Process

At times the decision to automate a process occurs in a vacuum. I.e. taking decisions without the involvement of the people who carry out the work is seldom a sound idea. Before making any decision, business owners and other stakeholders need an, not necessarily detailed, understanding of the operations. Without this knowledge of the current ways, the decision might create more problems than currently exists, especially for those involved in the process.

Automation Process

Do you know your processes?

Competitive Edge

Often overlooked as an excellent reason to consider automating specific business processes is to stay competitive in your market. If your competitors are automating their business processes, you'll need to follow the trend too. You should also look at unique ways to re-engineer the process in a way that makes it difficult for your competitors to 'copy'.

Explore All Options

Before you set off automating specific processes in your business, it is vital that you

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    target the right processes for consideration i.e., paper-based processes, highly prone to human error processes, costly processes, non-value add processes etc.
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    quantify and document the time and money that can be saved by automating the target process.
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    consider the risks and tangible benefits 

Final Thoughts

Each of these factors is crucial to realising the benefits of automation and can help you achieve a faster return on the investment. 

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imtiaz ahmed

Imtiaz is an enthusiastic and innovative Professional, with over 20 years of experience in the Retail, ERP and CRM business areas in the UK, South Asia and the Middle East. PS. When he’s away from running UnifiedApps, he’s also been known to be a mediocre guitar player.

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