Before we dive too deep lets talk about some of the benefits of automating your processes. If we boil down everything, you want to automate processes to increase your revenue/profits and cut expenses. This could be an increase sales, in knowledge, in leads, in conversion rates etc. Directly relating to increasing any number of the aforementioned metrics is decreasing the time it takes to complete those tasks. Simply put, the less time you spend accomplishing a given task, the more valuable that task becomes.
A simple real world example of this would be;
- A team of 10 people takes 2 weeks to complete a proposal that is valued at $100,000
- Each of those 10 people make $52,000 per year
- So you have now spent $20,000 dollars worth of your employees time to submit a proposal
- $100,000 – $20,000 = $80,000
Automate a few processes and now your team of 10 takes 1 week to submit a proposal and you’ve made an additional $10,000. So what are 4 thing should look at first when trying to automate some of your business processes?
Start with the Easy Ones
Many companies begin to look at automation because they have a big unyielding process they know takes up too much time and money. So they start with their most complex problem and work backwards. What they should be doing is looking at their most basic processes and automate those first. Are you consistently running reports that should be automated, put in a dashboard and sent to stake holders on a weekly basis? Are you emailing a document back and forth with revisions when you should be building an automated workflow? There are probably tens, if not hundreds of these simple processes that should be tackled before you take on your “giant.”
Don’t be Afraid of Automation
Many times an employee who is not overseeing an automated process is afraid of it. Why? They think they will be “automated” out of a job. You must build a culture of support around automation and get your employees to understand just because part of their job is now being assisted by an automated process, it doesn’t mean they are any less valuable. It means they have more time to utilize their expertise instead of figuring out how to get the job done within their job.
Define Your Processes
Write them down. Every step of every process you are looking to automate should be written down in detail. This will give you clear picture of each step within a process and will allow you to red-line every aspect that has the potential to be automated, combined or in some cases eliminated. This step may seem a bit tedious but, guaranteed if you have more than 1 person working on a process, they will all have a different idea of how that process works so getting everyone on the same page regarding your processes is a must.
Pick Your Tools
Now that you understand where your gaps and needs are, you can begin to search for the tools that will help you accomplish your goals. These might be in house or you may need to bring in technology partners. Remember to not only look for what you need NOW but also what you will need in the FUTURE. Understand your long term plans as well as your vendors long term plans. The partnership will only get better if you are each heading in the right direction.
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