To Automate or Not to Automate
There is no doubt that we would all love to grow our business. The question, however, is have you taken the time to consider if your business can handle that growth? It is imperative, especially as your business begins to expand, that you have an understanding of your business processes. They must be efficient and streamlined with clear visibility of ownership and potential risks. At some point, you will come to a realization that you probably should have implemented a BPM or workflow solution. Unfortunately, in many cases this realization comes only after a loss of revenue or customers. When you make the leap to automation, be sure to look first…
The first step in automation is knowing which processes are candidates. Below are some ideas or traits to look for:
1. Resource Misallocation
For any business, regardless of size, resource allocation is very important. The mis-assignment or misallocation of resources can lead to losses in both time and money. If your processes constantly need more resources than you budgeted for, something in your process is off.
By having automated workflows, you can accurately forecast what resources are needed for a task, then monitor progress in real time.
2. Miscommunication issues
What am I supposed to be doing? When is it due? Where does it go now? Miscommunication can appear in many forms, and emails don’t always solve the problem. If you recognize this in your process, it’s time to consider automation. We are all bombarded with communications everyday. Missing or overlooking an important notification amidst all the acknowledgments and other junk or spam email is bound to happen. Let’s consider this example. Suppose your project manager sends an email containing new requirements for an application to the development team, but it gets missed under a pile of other emails. The outcome will be a significant delay in the project or application’s completion. Internally this may not be much of a problem, but what if that update is for a customer?
Automating the process removes this potential issue by providing instant notification for each task. All the information needed to complete the task reaches the right person at the right time, making the entire process more efficient.
3. What’s the status.
One issue with manual processes is that they are dependent on manually generated reports to provide updates on the progress of tasks. These reports do not provide real time information about status and make it impossible to make timely business decisions, as the information may be several hours or even days old. To improve customer satisfaction and meet deadlines, you need to be aware of task progress in real time.
By automating processes, you will gain real time updates on task progress, individual & team performance, and be able to review the processes key performance indicators.
4. Who is Responsible or Accountability
None of us are perfect so mistakes are bound to happen. However, in business, those mistakes have the potential to be costly. When you manage your process manually, ensuring someone is accountable for every step of the process really slows things down. If you spend time assigning ownership and/or searching for responsible parties in a process, you have another reason to consider automation.
When you automate your process, you can clearly define and assign tasks to the correct individual or team and view their progress real time. You’ll have the ability to assign accountability to each step in the workflow, without adding to the workload of employees.
Did you recognize any of these issues in the way you’re running your business? If so, it is time to consider automation as a solution. These of course are not all the signs that identify a process as a candidate for automation, but you have enough to get started.
If you are still not sure, iGrafx can help. We have over 400 years of combined BPM experience and would love to put it to work for you. Click here to learn more about iGrafx Process Automation. We would be happy to provide a free demo of what can be achieved with automation, or to answer to any other questions you might have.