Automation has become the norm for any organization regardless of the industry or the customer base. Having an Automation strategy is one of the critical steps that companies adopt these days. It is no longer seen as a solution but rather a resource that is a real-time booster for the company in its entirety. According to Zapier’s report, 44% of employees working in SMBs are not productive in their daily work. Moreover, 94% of these employees admit that they perform repetitive and time-consuming tasks. This is where automation stands as a game changer.
We are going to explore what it means to automate your business processes and look at what are the benefits of developing an Automation Strategy.
What is Automation and Automation Strategy?
Automation is an adaptive technology that can optimize the working of any organization. Through automation, a large volume of tasks can be performed using technology, without any human attention or intervention.
Performed through software assistance, these can replace or take over mundane processes like emailing, data entry, and even sophisticated tasks like workflow creation and management, requisition management, expense management, etc. Automating your business entails simple task automation using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to certain Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven processes.
Once you decide to go with adopting automation for your business, you will need to develop an automation strategy. Before developing the automation strategy, you would be better off knowing what does an automation strategy offer you?
The automation strategy is an ideal plan that outlines the company’s installation and utilization of certain automating technologies with existing software tools. Investing in the right automation strategy always provides you an edge over the competitors and attain a monopoly. This ideal plan must be in favor of the company’s vision, focusing on the benefit of the workforce and the overall performance of the company.
The essence lies in figuring out the dilly-dallying activities to automate and orchestrating the right automation strategy.
What are Some of the Benefits of Automation Strategy?
Developing an automation strategy according to your business ideals could show a dramatic shift from the mediocre outcomes received until now. With more available time and resources, procured from the implementation of the automation strategy, your workforce can effectively invest their working hours in performing more crucial tasks.
One noteworthy example would be automating the data entry process. Think about the situation where a person has to manually fill in the data onto a given document on a daily basis. Seems like more of a chore rather than a job. Therefore, devising and following an automation strategy can drastically show a reduction in the consumption of time.
Additionally, the added advantage is that workflow automation software can perform and complete the tasks in an instant, making the data available for further use.
Given this scenario, it is necessary to understand the benefits and master the formulation of one. The following are some of the notable benefits of automating the tasks following the automation strategy:
1. Increase in efficiency and productivity
It is a guaranteed fact that with automation organizations can witness an increase in efficiency and productivity. Data processing has become instant which is much faster than humans can perform. These automated systems can do these prescribed tasks 24/7 without rest or outage. This again fuels the rest of the activities one after the other without causing any delays. This promotes consistency and helps in maintaining the workflow of your organization. Alongside, the workforce is relieved of these mundane tasks which in turn gives them scope to work on other necessary activities that require human involvement.
2. Accuracy in task performance
Lack of accuracy can often lead to insatiable consequences, especially in the areas of finance or data. Therefore the use of an apt automation strategy is unavoidable. With this, your company can gain a competitive edge by reaching a high level of accuracy in the tasks performed. When the processes are automated using the software, the tasks are streamlined efficiently so that it reduces the risk of error causation to zero. There is no space for human negligence or their lack of understanding which can sometimes lead to repetition of the task and loss of time. It maintains the workflow. Employees receive regular notifications and reminders well before the deadline and also when breached.
3. Employees enjoy empowerment and satisfaction
With certain time-consuming tasks being pulled off their shoulders, they are more likely to indulge in much more intellectual activities. With automation, they can overlook repetitive tasks and time-consuming work. This gives them the satisfaction of doing a job. Simultaneously, this also provides the employees with scope for upskilling themselves in more challenging and exciting roles.
4. Zero risk of non-compliance
There is always risk associated with entering data manually, especially in the case of data that deals with consumer data, employee safety, and private communications. When this task is replaced with automated systems, the proneness of non-compliance can be completely negated.
5. Considerable reduction in the cost
Deploying automation strategies considerably reduces the budget investment. For example, with automation certain tasks are now devoid of human touch, therefore, labor costs can be cut down drastically. Moreover, the saved cost can be moved to sections that need additional labor thus reducing employee burden.
6. Developing an effective automation strategy
With the benefits being discussed, we can understand that implementation of a company-oriented automation strategy can attain results beyond expectations. But also consider that the automation strategy employed can effectively be the sole reason on which the potential of your company might rely. Indecisiveness in strategizing the right one will come with consequences. Therefore, this process demands everything you can invest. First and foremost, have surety that your devised automation strategy is feasible. Otherwise, you are most likely wasting a lot of time and resources.
What is the First Step in Automation Strategy?
Understanding the need and reason behind your automation will guide you in coming up with the perfect strategy for your organization. This is done by knowing your what, why, who, and how. Let us look at the first step in developing an automation strategy.
Have a Clear Vision
Similar to your organizational vision, setting a vision in building your automation strategy is important. For this, begin by understanding your goal and how you want to leverage automation. Figure out the problems in the running that you intend to solve through automation. Having a vision also helps in shaping the future of your organization. It provides a space for your vision to be unbound.
Analyzing the Readiness of Your Workforce
You must have an idea of how committed your workforce is, how ready they are, and how they will perceive such an upgrade. Involving your employees at an early stage of planning is crucial to the success of automation. Assessing and evaluating their capabilities and skills are an essential part of this process. This lets you decide whether a training program must be set up to upskill your force and ready them for the upcoming change.
Set Up an Automation Center for Excellence
Your automation strategy must be governed at regular intervals. You need an Automation Center of Excellence (CoE) as it easily helps you find an inclusive solution that could match your company’s culture. When you set up the CoE, the goals and the skill set of your workforce must be kept in mind.
Some responsibilities of CoE include:
- In charge of creating standard policies regarding automation
- Coordinator between the systems to ensure the automation and workflow
- To arrange training sessions, reach tracking and reviewing of the KPIs
Develop an Approach for Automation Tool Selection
Not every tool might be the right choice for you. Each tool has its own merits and demerits that need to be studied to formulate an approach that could be the primary stone of your automation strategy.
Steps to follow in the Implementation of Automation Software
Once you construct an apt automation strategy, your organization is ready to go ahead with the implementation of the workflow automation software. The following are some important steps in the process.
1. Identify the Business Processes
Scrutinizing and identifying the business processes that need to be automated is the primary step that you should carry out. Examining the current processes and the technological infrastructure that are in use. This will help you choose an automation software that would go with all of the other applications, systems, and files that already exist.
2. Evaluate the Automation Technologies
Some of the most common types of automation include Workflow automation and Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Evaluating each of these types by going through their features, functions, cost of implementation, and most importantly their capability to integrate with the existing setup. This will give an upper hand in going for the right one.
3. Draft an Implementation Plan
Once you conclude what type of automation setup your company is looking for, it is the right time to draft an implementation plan. This implementation should lay out an overall framework of your approach to this automation. The plan that you are implementing should list out the timelines, the available resources, and their allocation for the given automation system.
4. Run a Test: Key Performance Indicators
Right before implementing the automation technology, it is mandatory to determine the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will give you the success rate of the system installed. These indicators may include a company’s revenue growth, revenue per client, profit margin, account of client acquisition and retention rate, and even customer satisfaction.
KPIs let you deduce the set targets, and the progress and even give you insights that help organizations to go with the best option. Parameters like productivity, efficiency, accuracy, and even customer satisfaction can be withdrawn using them.
It also becomes necessary to refine the testing process continuously by making adjustments to technology when required. During this time it is also necessary to get feedback from your workforce and customers to know whether the automation standards are meeting their expectations and needs.
What is Automation-First Strategy and Why is it Essential?
An organization that has adopted an automation-first strategy has a completely different approach and ideals when compared to a traditional organization. Automation-first insists on a hybrid workforce that can address any issues.
For instance, an automation strategy like Business Process Automation (BPA) is formulated to automate all the repetitive and time-eating tasks, and they do not take over the precious time of your employees. Therefore, this is the transformation that happens in the dynamics of the organization. This is referred to as the automation-first mindset. This mindset becomes the primary ability to achieve technical transformation and always remain adaptable in times of need.
To be Automation First, here are a few important things
- Need to be outcome-oriented – The automation first strategy is a mindset of working backward. You begin with your desired output and then move to construct the workforce that you require to get there.
- Encourage every possible Opportunity for Automation – This should be the ideal of your company, that is, automate everything possible. This way, every ounce of extra resources can be put to use in alternative ways.
- Establish an environment that supports this change– Make sure to set up a space where this change is welcome completely. When looking at the process of automation, the generalization is that it is a C-level responsibility. It is because you hold the power and authority to make these organizational changes. When you, as a high-ranking professional consider automation, you directly drive your workforce and company values.
- Empower the employees with automation – Make an automation shift that empowers your employees. Employees are the backbone of any organization, therefore, any change in the working environment must be accommodative of your workforce.
Why is it a Must to Develop your Automation Strategy with Cflow?
Cflow is among the top no-code workflow automation platform available for your organization. Cflow is designed to be majorly focussing on ease of use, making workflows intuitive and seamless. With zero coding it has a deep sense of clarity and streamlined workflows. Integration aided with more than 1000 essential business tools helps you relieve the stress of managing all the organizational tasks.
Cflow holds the added advantage of seamlessly integrating with some of the essential third-party applications like SAP, and Zapier among many others. If the organization demands more features or external support outside of the software, Cflow leaves you with an option to always choose to integrate other applications with simple steps.
Therefore, third-party applications along with Cflow can be integrated into your business processes without disconnecting the user interface. This ensures the continuous flow of work alongside incorporating outside application features.
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Features of Cflow that Makes your Workflow Automation Exceptional
Cflow works extremely well both as a standalone workflow management platform and at the same time integrates well with more than a thousand other applications according to your specific need. Cflow creates a user-friendly front where you can connect with external databases without writing or indulging in any code and move data effortlessly.
1. Create Flowchart-Based Workflows
You can build new workflows with a simple drag-and-drop interface. It is available with tools to build your workflows quickly and easily. More configuration options are open for you in the Control Center once the workflow is published. Additionally, pre-designed templates for a wide variety of processes.
2. SLAs and Escalations
With this feature, it is possible to create rules and ensure you never go out of compliance. It is easy to set specific task goals and timelines for your organization. In this setup, employees receive reminders and notifications of the tasks and deadlines. Employees remain aware of the happenings and the milestones within the company. At the same time, escalations keep the stakeholders on par with the pending and overdue which helps manage expectations.
3. Vacation and Delegation Process
The built-in system easily notifies if an employee goes on vacation. This aids in creating a streamlined environment where work never gets delayed. The scheduler lets you define multiple delegate rules for different periods.
Cflow’s most intrinsic feature is its ability to seamlessly connect with SMB applications like Slack and Quickbooks, including Enterprise applications like Salesforce and SAP. Its ultimate goal is to offer a space where you can perform easy integration, allowing your employees to work more efficiently and communicate better. Cflow works at your pace and needs. You can connect to external systems via technology that you prefer and are comfortable with – API, webhooks, or direct connect.
5. Customizable Reports
Customizable reports can be obtained. You can easily create graphical reports for actionable insights using the report builder to assess your performance. The dashboard reports are colorful, easy to use, and can be customized.
Want to know more about the features of Cflow? Click here.
Workflow Automation: From a Nice-to-Have to a Must-Have
Workato reports that 64% of professionals are in the thought of building automation that focuses on improving employee experience. Moreover, 94% of professionals at companies say they would always prefer a unified platform integrating the applications and building automation than relying on so many systems.
With the current advancements in the industry and the pressure on the competitive front, it constantly urges companies to stay ahead of each other in all technological aspects. With the technical input from this automation software and strategies, organizations can maximize their goals and outcomes, simultaneously minimizing resources.
Therefore, it is crucial and beneficial to know what are the benefits of developing an automation strategy. This is where Cflow stands as a perfect partner for workflow automation.
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