Automate — delegate routine duties to a system that will cope with them much faster and better than a person. Today, automation has begun to attract not only large, but also small organizations. The reason for this is to save time and reduce business costs.
Automation and processes
Automation is impossible without processes that would build a step-by-step action of each of the company’s structures.
First, an analysis of the internal processes of the company is carried out — «information survey». There is a collection of information about what structures the organization consists of, how they work and what goals they pursue in the process. From these details, the «mission of the organization» is formed. On the basis of the «mission of the organization» a model of the company’s work and its information infrastructure are designed.
After the company’s internal business processes are sorted out, the characteristics of the system are determined, which would fit the existing model. Requirements for the specifics of future software are being developed.
When goals and objectives are defined, the process of selecting business software begins. Price, flexibility, speed, convenience, etc. are taken into account here. The risks and prospects for the introduction of a particular system are discussed.
After the selection, software implementation and testing takes place. During the implementation process, the company gets to know the system through direct use.
What are the benefits of automation?
- There will be an increase in the coordination of the actions of the staff and the quality of their work;
- A company planning system will be created, document flow will become easier;
- There will be a systematization of data and their automatic analysis;
- Managers have the opportunity to monitor KPI-key performance indicators of employees;
- Workers will reduce the volume of routine work, which will lead to a reduction in real costs by an average of 30%. This advantage can be illustrated by the example of one of our projects, in which, thanks to automation, the company saves about 526 million dollars a year, with a development cost of 108 thousand and annual support of 40 thousand dollars.
The changes mentioned above lead to an increase in the company’s competitiveness in the market, which, you see, is a weighty argument in favor of automation.
How to implement automation in business?
When the company’s business processes have been studied, the main goals and objectives of the automation implementation have been identified, an analysis of which system will be used in a particular case begins. There is a choice between three technological products: “box”, Saas development or custom software. And each of the options has a number of characteristics that make the system more attractive or, on the contrary, repel the customer.
“Box” is a ready-to-use product. It already has a basic set of functions that can be used immediately after installation.
This is, of course, the first advantage. But only in the event that employees do not want to delve into all processes, implement the system clearly and as efficiently as possible. Bought, installed, and then «how it goes.»
The next plus of the boxed choice is the price. If we compare the cost of the «box» and custom software, then the score will be 1:0, in favor of the boxed solution. The price here is indeed lower than that of custom-made solutions. This is due to the mass sales of «boxed» solutions.
Another advantage of «boxed» solutions is the quick purchase of new modules for the system.
As for the main «BUT», they are the disadvantages of «boxed solutions.
- In the process of modeling the solution, the specifics of the business are not taken into account. «Boxes» are arranged in such a way that the business will adapt to the software, and not vice versa;
- There is no individual approach in the development process. The customer should always keep in mind that the developers customize the «boxed» solutions so that more companies like them. The bigger, the better;
- Scaling limited. Such programs are often designed for a fixed number of users;
- Lack of quality technical support. Due to the mass sales, the technical support center simply cannot cope with the flow of calls. Simply put: the number of sales is several dozen times higher than the number of employees in the state who could solve problems.
- «Boxed solutions» do not readily work in integration with other applications. This builds up some restrictions when working with the «box».
SaaS — Software as a service
Gartner (the world’s leading research company in the field of information technology) calls SaaS software that is delivered to the customer and managed remotely by providers. The software is based on a one-to-many model and shares common code and data definitions.
Benefits of using Software as a Service:
- There is no need to install software on workstations, because access is via the Internet.
- From the point above follows such a point as accessibility. Those. If you have Internet access, you will always have access to the software.
- Reducing the cost of deploying software or systems in a company. This includes the remuneration of employees, etc.
- Reducing the cost of technical support and system upgrades. This is because all updates are performed by the vendor. It monitors that you have the latest up-to-date version of the program.
Disadvantages of using SaaS:
- The need to transfer commercial data to a third-party service provider.
- No open source code. This does not give access to view the source code of the program, which makes it difficult to take part in improvements and changes to the program. There is no way to view moments that would threaten the system. For example, hidden tracking of the user of the program.
- In case of problems related to the operation of the Internet, interruptions in the operation of the program may occur. And this, in turn, slows down the processes of the company.
- Low security of data transfer through a third-party provider. This can lead to «leakage» of data. Such problems, in recent years, happen even to eminent companies in Silicon Valley. What can we say about small organizations.
- Lack of high-quality integration with external systems.
As in the case of the “box”, the name speaks for itself about the principles of creating a custom solution. There is a certain order for software that needs to be implemented.
The development of a custom solution is a longer and more detailed process than all the others.
Thanks to a detailed analysis of the company, which is based on the «information survey», the strategy of working with the client is built individually. Each of the stages of a well-thought-out strategy is agreed with the customer: from the moment of planning to implementation and implementation.
The main advantage of custom solutions for business is personal work with each customer. The manager will not get a “pig in a poke” when buying a solution. And all because each custom solution is created for business. Each stage of development includes individual work with the customer: discussion of system functions, interface, etc.
Such development boasts the presence of open source. This, in turn, makes it possible to make improvements and adjustments to the software at different levels.
Individual work implies more advanced functionality. Especially if you compare it with “boxed” solutions, where only the basic set is presented to the customer.
In addition, the advantage of custom software is in the speed of processes and optimal load tolerance. These are the indicators that are responsible for the quality of the functioning of the system.
High-quality technical support from developers is another plus of a custom project. The developer will come to the rescue in resolving all emerging issues regarding the system. Depends on the terms of support, which are also discussed in advance.
Another plus of extended custom software is the possibility of its pairing and integration with other technical products (applications, databases, etc.).
Thus, the customer has a system that optimizes and increases the efficiency of his business processes. Is this not happiness?
But then a quote from Evgeny Chichvarkin comes to mind: «Nothing works as well as a bicycle invented by oneself.» Can not argue with that. If we want to ride a cool new bike, then the best thing is to build it from the parts that you need, so that then it fully meets your expectations for cool driving. Yes, it will be more expensive than the bike that is sold on the market. But the vehicle will suit you perfectly, unlike ready-made purchased ones, in which something will definitely not suit you.
Demonstration of «bicycles»
And how without examples. To make the systems clear, the current projects that most companies are now automating will be presented below. Software has different approaches to automation, just like companies themselves.
Examples of our developments for clients
Automated platform for customer interaction
The platform was created for a holding that is engaged in accounting outsourcing.
The system is built as follows:
- There is a personal account in which the client can send requests to the company, set tasks and monitor their progress;
- Calls are automatically sent to the right employee. Each request is assigned a status that changes depending on the stage of the task;
- Correspondence and file sharing are also conducted through the platform.
- It is possible to generate reports on the work done and control the work of specialists.
- The conclusion of contracts for service, the choice of tariffication, payment, control of documentation of employees is also inside.
Additionally, you can set tasks within the company, adjust the KPI of employees and automatically calculate wages.
With the help of the platform it was possible:
- to increase the transparency of processes of work with clients;
- implement the ability to form and track KPIs;
- reduce the number of incoming information channels: — reduce the number of incoming information channels.
It is also worth noting that, thanks to the implementation of the platform, the holding company reduced costs by 6 times. Payback period 7 months.
The product functions as a marketplace: product and service providers publish ads, and other users submit offers. The suitable one is chosen by bidding.
The application presents 3 roles — a supplier of agricultural products, a logistician and a broker. Each of the roles has functionality and fields.
Provides statistics on transactions and purchases and sales. But partially. The full amount of information is available only in the customer’s admin panel.
With the help of the implementation of the application, it was possible to:
- make the market for agricultural products more transparent by collecting information on purchases and sales;
- eliminate intermediaries between suppliers of agricultural products and buyers (the supplier of the product contacts the buyer directly).
The result was a product that is now successfully implementing itself as a start-up and attracting interested people in Kazakhstan and other countries.
Think for yourself, decide for yourself
You yourself choose the «bicycle» that will carry your company around the market. Agree, the best solution in this case: a quality product that is designed personally for you.
In addition, I would like to note that if we kept score during the article, then the custom solution would be the winner. Here the score is for open source, and for high resistance to loads, for speed and integration with external systems. Lost custom «bike» only in the speed of implementation. In other respects, the undisputed leader.
Isn’t this a reason to think about the choice of this particular way of automating the company?