September 21, 2022

What is a Best Practice When Approaching an Automation Effort?

Automation technologies are becoming the norm of the today because of higher productivity gains. Although, it is important to understand your own requirement and approach an automation effort for higher throughout. This article helps with assessing the automation effort for the same.

Automation is a hot topic among businesses. It’s supposed to save businesses time and money while ensuring that customer service is of the highest quality. For the uninitiated, it is defined as automating repetitive tasks that drains employees of time and skills to focus more on valuable tasks. It allows businesses to cut costs and increase productivity.

BPA focuses on automating day-to-day IT processes and business functions to maximize efficiency, reduce costs, and ensure smooth operations. As per a report by Markets and Markets, the global business process automation market size is expected to reach USD 19.6 billion by 2026 from USD 9.8 billion in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 12.2%.

Benefits of Automation

Automation of activities can enable businesses to improve performance, by reducing errors and improving quality and speed, and in some cases achieving outcomes that go beyond human capabilities. Automation also contributes to productivity, as it has done historically. At a time of lackluster productivity growth, this would give a needed boost to economic growth and prosperity and help offset the impact of a declining share of the working-age population in many countries. 

With that in mind, let's have a look at some of the key benefits of automation

Removes Redundant Steps in Workflows 

Streamlining workflows is a crucial part of improving the bottom line for any business and automation plays a significant role in removing redundant steps from business operations. 

Improves Operational Efficiency

Every business has specific habitual tasks, such as sending and receiving emails, scheduling meetings, and generating reports. By incorporating an automation strategy  in your workflow processes, you can reduce the amount of time it takes your employees to complete a task while also cutting down on paperwork.

Increases Data Accuracy

Automation efforts help businesses to be more data-driven, which leads to better decision-making. It also helps to gather more accurate data about your customers, which can improve your customer service.

Examples of How Automation Works in an Organization.

A few common examples of how automation efforts work in an organization are-

Employee Hiring

Hiring new employees is not a straightforward process, as it includes extensive paperwork and training. Filling out applications, information forms, benefits agreements, and setting up new accounts, among other procedures, are very time-consuming. Without an automation solution, forms can be misplaced, filled out incorrectly, or completely forgotten.

Therefore, implementing  automation can streamline the employee onboarding process by-

* Reducing paperwork with electronic data sharing

* Ensuring all forms are complete by identifying empty fields

* Increasing service speed

* Improving productivity

* Promoting employee satisfaction

These advantages ensure that introducing and training new employees is a smooth transition.

Marketing Efforts 

Marketing can be a costly and time-consuming process, but  automation tools help companies streamline their marketing efforts and manage leads more effectively.  For example, they can automatically generate and nurture qualified leads for the sales team to engage with, saving them time on qualifying those leads manually. As per a report, 17.4% of marketers said automation was the single most effective digital marketing technique in 2020. Further automations, such as personalized emails, can move leads through the marketing funnel and beyond to their post-sale customer journey. An automation capability can  also allow you to automate, monitor, and measure the success of your marketing campaigns across all channels — from email marketing to social media. You can create a smooth customer journey from when a prospect first sees your ad until they’re a loyal customer.

Finance  And Accounting Activities

By automating financial planning and accounting functions, companies can free up time for important tasks like analysis, strategy and collaboration with stakeholders. In accounts payable (AP) management, for example, data capture is automated, invoices are automatically matched to documents and approvals are automatically routed. This reduces data errors and helps prevent fraud through background controls.

How do we Approach an Automation Effort?

Step 1: Identify Strategic Reasons for Automation

When integrating an automation effort  into your business, the first place to start is to ask “why?”. In this step we look at some of the strategic reasons for business process automation. Besides the obvious reason of eliminating  mindless tasks that could easily be repeated at scale, automation efforts also provide a means to scale efficiently and consistently across processes such as customer interaction, internal processing or other tasks that are repeated at scale. 

Step 2 : Identify Automation Opportunities

The next step is to identify the exact processes that could be automated within your organization. Generally, it’s best to focus on low-hanging fruit — that is, processes that will bring the greatest benefit when automated. Consider questions such as the following, as they can offer some useful insights into which processes you may choose to automate first.

* Which processes are the most complex?

* Which processes require a lot of time and attention from human resources?

* Which processes are mission-critical and have the greatest impact on your business?

Step 3: Analyze Existing Processes

Your business processes need to be properly considered before you implement automation. This is a really critical point. Oftentimes businesses want to implement automation immediately so that they can experience the benefits earlier. We believe that automation should only be looked at for mature processes that have been running for an extended period of time, at a relatively stable state, or in some circumstances relatively new processes but only if they are expected to remain quite stable. Organizations often overlook or underestimate the power of non-automated processes. Manual tasks, although slower and less reliable, can generally be changed quickly and easily. If you feel there is a better way of doing things, you can demonstrate to workers and easily change course. However, if you have implemented machine driven process automation, recalibrating can be more costly. It is much easier to change the method used by a worker than to reconfigure a software system. That is why we recommend deeply analyzing processes and only automating those tasks that have stood the test of time and proved themselves to be reliable, efficient and accurate.

Step 4: Create an Automation Model

An automation model is a representation of the different steps or sub-processes that comprise the process. In some cases, you may continue to use the same steps in the same order. In other instances, your developers may recommend a process redesign, with new or altered steps to improve the process flow.

Step 5: Implement an Action Plan 

At this point in your journey, you should have a well-defined process that is expected to remain stable. You have outlined strategic reasons for automation and identified the key areas that require automation. This step is important, as it allows you to see how the automation process operates, while allowing you to identify any problem areas or opportunities for improvement. This beta version of your automation efforts  is basically  a work in progress.  This phase also involves feedback and may require a bit of planning depending upon the nature of the processes and the number of human team members who are involved. Training may be required, while others may simply be informed that they will no longer be performing a specific task as of a certain date. 

Step 6: Continued Monitoring & Updates

Automation efforts of an organization cannot be created and simply allowed to operate without any sort of monitoring or updates. In fact, you should budget and plan to perform regular updates and maintenance on your automation  efforts. This allows for more than just updates and improvements; it also ensures that all integrations are maintained as other interconnected platforms are periodically updated.

VisionERA- Helping Organizations in their Automation Efforts

VisionERA is a leading Intelligent Document Processing platform to help you experience the unmatched power of AI. It offers advanced insights that help you improve your decision-making process. The platform does not have any third-party dependencies. It allows you to experience seamless performance when you automate the processing of shipping documents.

VisionERA offers an advanced AI-HI collaboration that automates your workflows with human-like capabilities. The platform offers end-to-end automation capabilities that suit document-heavy businesses like yours. VisionERA has training on real-world documents. It ensures excellent speed and accuracy in document processing. VisionERA keeps adapting itself to the changing business needs as it comes with a continuous learning mechanism. You can use the platform across the organization and help your team members collaborate better to improve the results.

Powered with smart data extraction and verification capabilities, we make it easier for organizations across industries to unearth the data that lies hidden in colossal amounts of documents and improve their automation effort. Loaded with a series of compelling features such as custom DIY workflow, downstream apps integration, cloud infrastructure,  and leveraging capabilities such as AI, ML and computer vision, we help organizations  automate their boring and redundant tasks at the click of a button. 

To know more about us, schedule a demo with us now using the CTA below or click here.

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