While major corporations understand the significance of automation in controlling costs and accommodating scalability, most small to mid-size businesses are still learning about automation.
However, the SMEs who have embraced automation have seen dramatic improvements in their businesses compared to their competition - both in terms of sales, and just as importantly, efficiency and effectiveness. They know that to remain competitive, you need to automate - or someone else will automate you out of business.
Lumi IT is a business process automation specialist. Here are our 7 practical tips for introducing and implementing automation into your business:
Pick the tasks that you would consider as ‘admin work'. Popular starting points are data entry, report generation, and calculations generation from specific rules and formulas. Automation lets you avoid human error while saving time in execution.
Automation is hugely beneficial to a business owner, but some employees may be concerned that they'll be automated out of their job.
As a leader, it's very important to help them understand that automation is an effective process towards their role's upward progression. In fact, in most businesses, the highest performers tend to automate the most, whether formally or informally.
So let automation free up time for them to think about the strategy and growth of the business, and leave all the boring data entry behind.
For example, Lumi IT worked with a company that relied on manual phone support to process individual quotes, which meant that their Sales people weren't able to immediately process any sales. This process took up to a day! After automation, they cut the time to five minutes. The business value was huge.
Pick a process with a solid ROI. Start small and experience the benefits and returns of automation before moving onto another process. Once you see the improvements that have been made to your business and you have eased your employees' concerns, it will be easier to get the team on board to decide on the largest value-add for your next automation.
Okay, you've decided to automate a specific business process, now what do you do?
When you first start, it's very important to define your business process properly. For some businesses who have never done this, seeing your process laid out on paper can be a cathartic moment.
After that, you'll need to codify and automate it into a software system. Then before you know, you and your employees can do that task with a click of a button.
Many of Lumi IT's customers find it financially helpful to engage us step by step, with the first step being to define their business process. This way, they can start small and automate incrementally.
You'll find that there will be one or two employees who are particularly interested in automation, especially once your business starts to see the undeniable benefits of automation.
Acknowledging and rewarding these champion employees will help you see long-lasting results that will pay for themselves.
It's easy to forget the life we had before technology. It's important to document where you started, what you spent, and what the results are. It's incredible to see the ROIs on your decision to automate, and it will help to get all the decision makers on board for other results-yielding process automation.
Celebrate your success - and document your success. We guarantee you will find that you accomplished more than you thought.
If you reach the point where you want to engage a vendor, the key is to look out for experience and specialisation in business automation. While many developers can code, only a business automation specialist can understand your vision and the economics of improving your business.