Smart Automation is defined as using technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), bots and robotic process automation (RPA) to automate complex business processes. The end goal? Improved productivity, accuracy and consistency with minimal human interaction and therefore lower costs.
As the popularity of automation concepts and technologies continue to increase, more and more companies are wanting to get in on the action. But before you jump in, it’s important to have a clear plan of action to ensure that you’re investing your time and money in the right place.
Get an understanding of where most of your time is spent
Automation has the most significant impact when used to automate processes that are resource-intensive, time-consuming and repetitive. In order to identify these processes within your business, you have to talk to the people actually doing the work. Find out what their major pain points are and get an understanding of how their day-to-day could be improved. This is important not only as a fact-finding mission, but also to take people on the automation journey with you from day one.
Think big but start small
Automation needs to be seen as a long-term strategy rather than a quick fix. It needs to support your strategic goals and ambitions, and it needs to be flexible enough to grow and develop with your business as it evolves. One way to ensure that you get it right is by selecting one process to start with and then using it as the prototype for the rest of your business. By starting small, you can take the time to evaluate technology options through trial and error. You can also use it as a learning experience to gain a better understanding of what works for your business and what does not.
Only forge ahead if the return on investment (ROI) makes sense
Automation is a challenging and complex undertaking which should not be pursued unless it makes good business sense. Before you start investing your time and money into automation, you have to compare the cost of implementation to the value of the time and cost savings you will be able to enjoy as a result. If what you get out does not outweigh what you have to put in, automation is only going to end up being a regret purchase.
Bring in and build up automation expertise
Understanding and adapting to automation technologies isn’t going to be a natural progression for most. At some point, you will have to look at bringing in outside automation expertise to help guide the transformation process. Automation experts can also be leveraged to draw up a training plan to upskill your existing workforce, while also playing the role of a neutral party where others may be too personally invested to see the bigger picture.
Are you considering a shift to smart automation for your business?
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