Based on a recent Gartner poll, approximately 60% of firms are actively pursuing four or even more contemporaneous hyper-automation programs on average. Automation has the potential to increase quality, efficiency, or cost. However, to reap these benefits, CEOs and IT leaders must devise a strategy that avoids frequent blunders.
Whenever automation is not properly implemented, it can have a detrimental influence on data utilization, operations, staff morale, & client satisfaction. Managers should always approach automation as a philosophy to be adopted instead of a project to be completed. They must also be informed about the most typical errors that might result in automation failure.
What is workflow automation?
Workflow automation is the process of managing, automating, and optimizing business processes. It is an important aspect of any company’s operations. It helps in reducing the workload and increasing efficiency. Workflow automation can be done at various levels, like an individual, group, or enterprise level. At an individual level, it is done by using tools like task management software or calendar management software to automate their workflows.
At the group level, it is done by implementing workflow tools that are specific to a particular process to automate it more efficiently. At the enterprise level, it is done by automating the entire business process with the help of workflow tools that are integrated with multiple systems like ERP, CRM, etcetera.
Attempting to automate everything at once
One common error that organizations make using workflow automation is automating everything all at once. In principle, this seems terrific; in fact, it frequently causes issues.
It is preferable to automate only one procedure at a time. Starting small is also a good idea here. Starting with the most complicated or large workflow first, even though it will spare you the most effort and time in the final. Why is this the case?
Workflow automation may be difficult to master, particularly if your organization is inexperienced with it. If they continue to question, "What is marketing automation?" have employees work with a small workflow to iron out any faults and optimize the process. You may apply the automated workflow to additional processes if it is running properly & your team knows it.
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Having a crush on a single technology
This is a fairly typical issue we find while aiding with the implementation of automation. Purchasing a specific permit for an automated process is frequently a business choice. This places a significant strain on the division in charge of implementing as much as feasible with the acquisition. The goal is to provide a return on investment while eventually resolving all of the present issues.
The urge to compel the use of a tool frequently results in a less-than-optimum workflow.
Workarounds are devised to account for missing functionality, as well as the too many commitments that raise displeasure with the tool's limits. A solid working relationship with both vendors helps eliminate everyday friction & suffering. The point to remember here is don't allow the tool to lead your solution-finding process; instead, define the issue first & choose the technology appropriately. Implementing too many permanent workarounds that make it difficult to adjust what is already an established workflow reduces the agility of your technical staff & locks you into a procedure that limits your ability to change & adapt.
Not giving context to the process
Companies do not always adhere to a procedure as it does not exist. Often individuals just do not follow a procedure because it is not interesting or simple. Assume your company has an event reporting/harassment protocol in place.
Can your staff immediately check your misconduct policies? What happens if someone ignores an encounter due to their doubtfulness if policy represents workplace harassment?
When it concerns incident workflows, including things like a description of business values, references to bullying rules, or privacy promises may quickly enhance employee experiences. It is critical to ensure that your process is not just planned, but also clear and simple for any employee to follow, regardless of their experience.
Failure to calculate ROI
If you utilize technology as everyone else is, you're repeating a blunder that many firms have indeed made. Participating in automation simply cause it's the newest fad or because you have excellent technology to execute a certain activity is not a good choice.
Don't invest money in automation unless you assess the return on investment:
What is the price of the tool?
How much will it cost to maintain and run?
How much will staff development and training cost?
Is it truly more effective than your current workforce?
These are several queries that should be answered with data.
Emphasizing tools then instead of people
The automating technologies utilized by enterprises all around the world are more efficient than ever. They are designed to be utilized by people, therefore rather than mindlessly adopting the tool, you must adapt it to the individuals who will be using it.
A 100kg hammer may help you pin the nails quickly, however, it is useless if no one can lift it. This is an implausible situation, but it illustrates the point: the fundamental objective of automation is to assist people with specific jobs, thus it should be developed around people rather than the opposite way through.
As a result, while streamlining and automating processes, it is sometimes necessary to incorporate all personnel who will be working with automation. You'll have a better concept of how to handle automating & make it simpler for your employees to utilize.
This brings us to the following problem.
Failure to Educate Your Employees
Automation exists to help workers by simplifying tasks that would typically require significantly more dollars & time. Automation, like any new & rapidly expanding technology (or combination of technologies in this case), may appear frightening to people who have no past familiarity with it.
As a result, training everybody on whatever automation is and the way it operates is frequently necessary to increase general morale. Furthermore, it is critical to train people on how to deal with automation & what their duties may be if only a portion of the process is automated.
Another issue may occur as a result of a lack of knowledge. Individuals who do not grasp the aim of automation may be concerned about losing their employment and begin looking for alternatives. However, the goal of process automation is not to reduce the number of personnel. It is about removing laborious and tedious duties, making people's life simpler, and increasing the pleasure of your company's clientele.
Believing that businesses can automate without IT
More and more business users believe that the adoption of RPA and low-code/no-code applications don’t require the assistance of IT. But business users may lack knowledge of how customer and data records work, for example, and there’s a risk of mishandling the information.
Additionally, those applications are integrated with other systems, which require regular upgrades. When the IT team isn’t involved, changes during upgrades don’t pass through, causing failed processes.
Action: Establish and fund an automation center of excellence, much like a DevOps center of excellence, that includes individuals who collectively possess a variety of organizational skills and knowledge, such as analytical and process mapping skills, technical skills, business knowledge, and IT governance experience.
Investing time and effort in unnecessarily convoluted processes
When it comes to automating a process, companies often become bogged down. This is particularly common when procedures aren't well-documented or understood, the workflow is inconsistent, or the decision-making process has too many versions. Don't squander energy & time by neglecting to stop such procedures as soon as possible. You must create a set of criteria or guidelines to eliminate procedures & tasks that seem to be unsuitable for automation. Base recommendations, for instance, just on the number of functional stages, the number of integration necessary, or the intelligibility of the present process.
Spending money on data gathering but not analysis
Organizations are enthusiastically spending on automated data collecting techniques as data shows to be incredibly beneficial to organizations throughout all sectors. Although it is critical to spend on info, it is also critical to comprehend it. "Numerous firms invest heavily in data infrastructure but fail to invest in insights," advises Kelly Parks, a professional business editor at Paper Writing Service. "The quality of your data is just as excellent as your capability to extract meaningful information from that."
Information is simply meaningless without insights. Data insights enable businesses to learn more about their consumers & their inclinations. This well-educated decision-making offers businesses a competitive advantage. As a result, it is critical to engage in analysis and interpretation as much as its collection.
Checklist for Business Process Automation
We've gone through the most prevalent & detrimental mistakes to avoid when designing company automation, & now it's time to synthesize and identify the key points.
If you've decided to automate the first process, apply the guidelines underneath to keep on track & prevent errors:
1. Select a qualified individual
Before you start automating, you require an individual to oversee the full procedure who might analyze, record, implement a new workflow, or deal with feedback.
2. Determine your "Why"
We emphasized automation solely to automate. The process of determining reasons is where you must explain the purpose to automate.
What is the point of automating? Do you want to lessen your workload? Do you want to save both effort & money? Do you wish to eliminate repetitive paperwork? Declare the key "why" underpinning the approaching automation & keep it in mind throughout the procedure.
3. Collect information
This is a time-consuming yet effective process. Learn details about the procedure or work you intend to automate. How was it handled previously? Were any adjustments done to make it better?
You will be required to gather all of the information from linked data sources, such as CRMs, sites, workforce/resource/asset management software, & so forth. Furthermore, inquire about just how employees experience the procedure, what irritates them, what other processes it affects, what so numerous people it typically involves, and how long it takes to accomplish. The more specifics you provide, the greater.
After that, you must assess any potential obstacles that you and your team may experience when the procedure is finally automated. You may face rejection as well as difficulty adapting to changes. It is critical to listen to individuals and ensure that each step is understood and demonstrated, with the procedure being recorded and executed.
This stage is also essential for determining the true necessity of automation. It could eventually become clear that subsequent adjustments may do more harm than good, necessitating more discussion.
4. Create an action plan
When you've gathered the information, you can start working on the approach. It is critical to plan out every phase of the procedure to guarantee that you are heading on the right path and anticipate any potential problems. Employees will also benefit from the action plan since they will comprehend exactly how & when things will shift.
5. Carry out
After you have completed your planning, you may begin the execution step. It's a good idea to put things through their paces & observe how they operate (or don't). The overall process must be flawless, with no outages, faults, or problems. The more trials you do, the greater the results. Check that now the procedure includes following the correct path and doesn't collapse in the midst.
6. Collect Feedback
Acknowledging a mediocre outcome is a key step throughout testing. Assume things work however not in the manner you would like them to; go back in time & figure out what went so wrong.
Don't dismiss unfavorable criticism once you've gone live and begun training folks. Investigate the problem and run further tests. Check that you are not adding new problems to the workflow.
Find ways to enhance if things are generally going well but have a few flaws. In addition, monitor outcomes & examine analytics to assess how significantly you were able to improve & perhaps your main aim (your "objective") was met.
To compete effectively, company operations must be automated. However, automation may only be a disadvantage if its possibilities or constraints are not understood. Finally, you must recognize that automation is meaningless if indeed the procedures that are meant to be automated aren't streamlined to the greatest extent feasible, or if your employees & clients fail to understand the advantages of automation.
It's no surprise that there are numerous considerations to make to maximize the benefits of automating your company operations. If you are looking for marketing automation you can consider Swipecart to automate all your mobile marketing workflows with AI and less manual intervention plus great accuracy.