Three questions worth asking about Process Automation
Process Automation reduces the time and costs involved in many repetitive admin tasks, with increased security and data reliability. That is the short answer to the question: ‘What can Process Automation do for me?’
A more challenging and ultimately more useful question to ask is: ‘What can I do with the time and resources I will save with Process Automation?’ Answering this will provide you with a solid and forward-looking framework for introducing and developing your PA opportunities. Every company must decide its own larger goal based on its unique situation. The key point is to have a goal in mind.
When your time and resource costs go down, the cost price of your goods or services automatically follows, and opportunities arise. You could use your lower cost base to reduce your prices and win more market share. You could beef up sales and marketing, open a new branch, introduce a new product or service, or simply use your bigger margin to pay down debt or increase profits. Or you could establish a charitable institution to help save the world. The list is long. All of these options involve a higher-level strategic decision some distance removed from your Process Automation project. However, this is the conversation that really matters when bringing Process Automation into your organization.
How much PA is enough?
The answer to this question is critical to implementing a successful process automation project. The trap is to think that you must go ‘all in’ or ‘not at all’ with Process Automation. The point to remember is that automation is flexible. It’s not ‘all or nothing’. You can choose to automate only those parts of a process that favour automation. Other parts that are not yet organised sufficiently, and those elements that require judgment, analysis and higher-level decision-making can remain with your human workers.
Working with a suitable PA provider, you will determine which processes or parts thereof are going to be automated – and in what order. From this you will develop an action plan, starting with the low-hanging fruit and moving on to more complex areas over time. You start with the bits that produce the best return – that give you the biggest bang for your buck. For example, if you have a massive monthly bottleneck with invoicing then that will be fixed first to free up time and resources for more productive work.
What are my processes?
Most organisations have a range of processes that have built up over time. Some are smooth and efficient. Some are old and clunky. Sorting through the innards of these various processes is a technical and time-consuming journey that most of us would rather avoid. It’s a hassle. But it’s also essential. You have to know what processes you are running before you can make decisions about which ones to automate. Don’t sweat this challenge. Get help. There are people and organisations with expertise and clever digital tools that can get you sorted in this area and provide reports and recommendations about where to start your automation journey.