Automation of business processes offers numerous benefits for entrepreneurs. We have already discussed how it can improve processes, increase efficiency and competitiveness, as well as enhance customer and employee experiences. Maxim Belyakov, director of sailet.pro, explains the steps to take before automation in 2023.
- Define a Strategy
- Answer these questions for yourself:
- Does your company need it?
- Is it clear how and where to develop the system?
- What will be the next step after a successful launch?
You can use any convenient tool for this — from Google Docs to notes. The most important thing is to have a clear answer to the question: «Why exactly does the company need automation now?»
- Match with Key Business Goals
Every business has key goals. When planning to automate processes, choose one specific goal so as not to dilute the focus.
For example, each item is a separate goal:
- Reduce costs by x%;
- Expand customer loyalty;
- Monitor the process, etc.
A common mistake of entrepreneurs is thinking that automation will solve all problems. This is not the case. Automation should only be launched when the main processes are working and the business is not trying to survive. This is why strategy comes first, then everything else.
- Structure processes
If you don’t have information about the process’s outcome, input data, and the result of each task within the process, it’s too early for automation.
Processes are always constructed and controlled by people. Systems only track and simplify them. If your business has already grown, invite an analyst, give the task to department heads. But it must be done. Without structured processes, you will get endless «automation,» i.e., the contractor will stretch the implementation/development deadlines, employees will use other systems, etc. Use any tool that will be perceived by people, from corporate Wikipedia to BPMN. The main thing is to be understandable.
Entrepreneurs often believe that they can start making a system and build the process on the fly. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. You don’t need to create a process «from scratch» for automation. These will be huge costs.
Each time, the architecture will be redesigned, «crutches» will be made, users will not be able to apply the system due to understanding what to do, and other risks.
As a result, again, endless «automation.»
An entrepreneur who wants to do everything at once will eventually do nothing. The same goes for automation. You have a strategy, structured processes, and a specific goal. Prioritize according to this data.
For example, if you want to automate the warehouse cleaning process, and the business goal is to optimize logistics costs, there is no need to create a system for registering a cleaner.
When setting priorities, rely only on real data. If there is not enough data, go to the «fields.» See how employees work.
Communicate with them. Immerse yourself in the process.
- Strengthen the Strong
After gathering information, analyze which process can be automated most simply and quickly. Don’t complicate things. Test implementation on the most transparent and understandable process according to priorities. Entrepreneurs often believe that automation should apply to the entire company at once. This is not the case. Each automated system is assembled and implemented in modules. Otherwise, you risk falling into endless «automation» and disappointment.
As mentioned above, beware of endless «automation.»
- Study Ready-Made Solutions
Unfortunately or fortunately, businesses are not unique in this world. Often, an entrepreneur does not need personalized development. Try to implement a ready-made product. This will save money and time on testing the hypothesis.
Personal automation (development) is necessary to identify/accelerate/take into account the nuances of the business, i.e., its uniqueness. 80% of the company’s processes are not unique.
Move on to development/customization only if the ready-made product does not take into account the nuances of your company.
With the information listed above, you will look at the automation process differently. The most important thing is to see the final predictable result of automation and how it will affect key people and goals.
We will prepare the next article on this blog.