Automating repetitive processes is one of the easiest ways to improve productivity and free your team up to focus on activities that are more engaging and that clients value (and maybe knock off a little early in the process!).
With no shortage of opportunities to turbocharge your engine room efficiency, perhaps the hardest part is deciding what to automate.
To help you do so, here are 6 surefire signs a process needs to be automated:
- You’re getting angry. Processes or tasks that cause frustration within your team are the proverbial low-hanging fruit when it comes to identifying and prioritising automation potential. Run a brainstorming session with your team or department to get everyone involved to get a good understanding of what’s really happening in your engine room.
- You have to complete the process more than once. Regular and repeated processes central to the business operation are prime candidates for automation. If someone in the team is having to complete the same task multiple times per day or week, map out the steps involved to highlight opportunities for workflow automation.
- You get an inconsistent outcome each time. By building business rules into your automated solution, you can often make some decisions once (rather than every time the process is performed!) and ensure the consistent quality of the outcome of the process, no matter who on your team completes the work.
- You’re not the only one involved in the process. If three or more people are actively involved in a workflow it’s more difficult for the process to run efficiently. Processes tracked by email or manually updated have more opportunity to be mishandled, and there is potential for communication lines to be crossed, making these processes the perfect target for automation.
- You’re in a hurry. Whenever time plays a part in a process (for example getting a proposal out to a client), automation can not only streamline the workflow, but can also provide the ability to more easily track and manage when events or issues occur.
- You need transparency over the process. When something goes wrong within a manual process it is difficult to access a full and accurate trail of what happened (think searching through email trails). Automated processes provide greater control and more accurate reporting of audit trails and workflow incidents – particularly important if the process has compliance implications.
Once you’ve used this criteria to help identify your biggest opportunities for improvement, make sure you get the right support to help you implement the automation, prioritise improvements and make larger projects more manageable.