How to Identify the Best Opportunities for Process Automation
Find the right automation opportunities to streamline workflows, improve responsiveness, and increase profits.
• Not all processes can be automated, so finding the right use cases is important
• Look at your current processes and outline goals for automation
• Repetitive tasks are ripe for automation
• Ask yourself qualitative questions
• Get stakeholder buy-in
• Proper implementation is essential for best results
If you’re relying on manual processes across your enterprise, you’re probably managing workflows in a reactive way. Whatever communication you get, it’s about something that’s already happened, which means you’re already behind. Process automation puts you ahead of the curve and the competition.
There are many benefits of process automation, including improved efficiency, streamlined workflows, reduced operational cost, and improved productivity. Automation also minimizes errors, maximizes resources, and improves your bottom line, while giving your staff more time to spend on improvements and innovation. Automation even increases customer satisfaction.
However, not every process can be automated. So how do you identify potential opportunities for automation?
Find the right use cases
Not all tasks that can be automated are worth automating. To have a positive impact on your business, automated processes must outweigh the resources you’re currently spending. This means automation should reduce cost, increase accuracy, and eliminate human error.
Some processes that fit these criteria include:
• Those that are time-consuming with critical timing
• Repetitive tasks
• Tasks that are mistake-prone and lack quality due to human error
• Currently siloed systems that use the same data
• Tasks that involve sensitive data
• Rules-based exception handling
• Those with large transaction volume
Outline current processes and define goals
Look at everything your business does when it comes to data collection, usage, and modification. What processes does your organization currently use? What are your business goals, and who are the key stakeholders? Your current process might work well, but automation could still improve outcomes and save time.
Automation is especially valuable for customer service, where it reduces both response and resolution time
Observe current processes
By watching how things are currently done, you can find areas for improvement. Take a pragmatic approach and apply innovative thought. Can some steps be removed from your employee’s workload?
Query stakeholders about their pain points and ideas they may have to make things work better. Of course, any suggested changes should be aligned with business goals.
Also, ask yourself qualitative questions:
• Where are you finding underperformance?
• Are there processes that require new hires or have to be scaled back?
• Are highly paid, highly skilled staff members doing time-wasting administrative tasks?
• Are you finding data-entry problems that create rework or exception issues?
Note the use of human resources
Repetitive manual tasks are ripe for automation. Staff time is best spent on high-value tasks instead of repetitive administrative details. Manual functions like data migration, data cleansing, and data manipulation can be done quickly, easily, and error-free via automated processes.
Judge task complexity
If a task takes a long time to complete, requires human intervention, or includes a lot of steps, automation may be useful, but it will require more complex processes.
Automate simple tasks first, assess how well the process is working, and then move on to more complex issues.
Look first at rote tasks
Repetitive tasks are a great use of automation that frees up staff time, improves reliability, and eliminates human error. This can include anything from emails to data collection.
What’s your volume?
If your enterprise has a large number of transactions or data processing to do, automation works while you and your employees sleep, creating a 24/7 business environment.
Do you outsource?
Outsourcing can create compliance risks. Replacing outsourced processes with automation will alleviate risk and ensure all work is logged for audits and regulatory inspections.
Implementing process automation
The enterprise benefits of process automation are myriad, but companies are still staffed by humans, so it is important to get buy-in from all stakeholders. It’s also important for everyone to realize that process automation is in itself a process that involves trial-and-error and takes time.
Following the proper steps will help you make sure automation is rolled out properly across your entire organization:
- Begin with analysis: Set priorities and work first on automating the processes that will have the largest impact.
- Build a roadmap. Assess how automation, once it’s implemented, will affect the entire enterprise. Document each step, the responsible employee, and the business goal.
- Set things in motion. Once you’ve outlined the process and mapped out how the software will function, it’s time to implement it. Observe how the tool is performing and whether it is meeting business goals.
- Look for areas to improve. Can you get rid of any steps or make the automation more efficient? There may be ways to eliminate even more human intervention. Increase transparency by using your automation tool to share information and analytics with all relevant stakeholders.
- Protect your future. Because automation streamlines workflows and efficiency, your staff can focus on high-value tasks that will have a larger impact on the enterprise. Seeing how their contributions adds value will boost employee retention. And faster responses and improved information will increase customer satisfaction.
enosix: your partner for process automation
We’ve developed patent-pending integration solutions that are instrumental in the customer experience economy. Those same solutions can help enterprises deliver on their customer promise, ultimately accelerating the digital transformation of your business.
Our proprietary framework integrates and automates complex business processes across boundaries, resulting in accelerated implementation and immediate value for enterprises. Schedule a demo today.