Three steps to introduce automation to your business

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A guide to a successful digital transformation

53% say streamlining processes is a top driver for digital transformation, find out how to reduce inefficiencies

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Introducing automation to your business

For 53 percent of organisations, creating more effective, efficient internal processes is the top driver for digital transformation. Automation is a major tool for achieving that vision: by replacing traditional analogue workflows, businesses hope to reduce the rate of errors, save time, money and free workers from the more repetitive tasks to focus on more rewarding, customer-focused work.

Automation implementation can have a ripple effect across an entire organisation. Marketers can focus on customer satisfaction and track results more easily. For HR, intelligent process automation, which includes artificial intelligence, can help deliver consistent operational HR services. And in the finance function, specific trends and developments in robotic process automation, cognitive computing and Internet of Things (IoT) can improve security and reduce administrative error. But implementing automation is an important part of the journey to transformation, and one where it is easy for many companies to get stuck. Below we share the 3 key steps to introduce automation to your company successfully.

Assess your digital maturity

Every company’s digital maturity is different, so it is prudent to start slow. Assessing the digital maturity of a company involves reviewing a number of aspects of an organisation: its culture, the current adoption of technology, how well adapted it is to support digital governance, and how well it uses customer and business data. This will outline whether your company is a ‘sceptic, adopter, collaborator or differentiator’: enabling you to define your specific automation goals and implement a phased approach to execution. This involves picking small processes that don’t require human intervention to automate, (e.g. travel expense approval), rather than mission-critical ones. Using this as an initial test will help identify the potential impact, roadblocks and arrive at the potential solutions for any problems.

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Get stakeholders on board

Once business process automation begins falling in to place, it is important to establish the roles and responsibilities of every stakeholder involved in the process. Keep every stakeholder on the same page and involve them right from the early stages and set up a transparent hierarchy by identifying the process owner in order to enforce accountability. Choose a human-centric solution, which the business leaders will feel comfortable with and align the automated process with the existing strategy. The strategic alignment is essential and can make or break a technological transformation. Conduct a brainstorming session to understand the pain points so that everybody feels important in the organisation. This way it also becomes easy to leverage automation to solve all the problems.

Invest in training

For digital transformation to be a success it is important to invest in educating staff about the fundamentals of new platforms, the rationale behind the implementation and the desired outcome. But, for the users to get acclimated to the new platform, it is critical to choose a software that is intuitive and easy-to-use and that which fosters self-learning.

Business Process Management

The real success of automation depends on how well the new platform is being embraced and how well users interact with the system. For this, businesses need to introduce Business Process Management (BPM), the process of persistently gauging the performance of automation and making continuous amendments to optimise it. Without continuous monitoring of the results that automation brings to your organisation, it’s very difficult to improve the efficiency of the process.

Introducing automation at some level is an important stage in every business transformation journey. And while its benefits are clear, just as humans make errors, no business process automation technology is impeccable. Getting the best out of it takes a significant amount of organisational resources. Automation must be part of the organisation's DNA; while this can be costly at first, if executed properly, it is worth the investment.

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