4 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Automating Your Business Processes

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There has never been a better time to jump onto the automation bandwagon. The process automation bug is hitting companies left, right & center and these are times when companies that are helping other companies automate their processes are prospering like never before. Hence, it is quite natural that you could do a google search and a flurry of “N reasons to automate your business processes appear on the results. But, what nobody would ever tell you is to ask yourselves why you need to automate in the first place. Because, that would make you think and maybe process automation isn’t for everybody. Let me explain to you some scenarios where you need to ask yourself why it is necessary & here are those.

Does my cost outweigh my benefits?

There is a very old but sensible adage that says “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Truer words have never been spoken. The mother of all troubles is the notion to do something good & eventually get into a rat race that is setup in a way you’d lose. Let us not forget that there is a certain cost associated with process automation. It is not just the cost of the tool but a whole lot of indirect costs. Some of them are:

 

  • Cost of training
  • Cost of consulting
  • Cost of support
  • Cost incurred during downtime if anything goes wrong
  • Cost of reversal if the results of automation aren’t promising enough

 

This is not even an exhaustive list. While there are enough reasons to automate your business process, if the costs outweigh the benefits, then you should reconsider and find better reasons to automate. Until it makes perfect sense and the math adds up, you are not ready yet for automation.

Is it going to complicate the entire scene?

We are living in times when first principles thinking is shaping the world. We have the most intuitive interfaces and companies are redefining user-experiences. When you automate a business process, your business users will be your primary users. It is supremely important to be uncompromising in your approach to try and make their lives easier. At times, the choice of tool may prove detrimental to the overall purpose simply because it is extremely complex to use. Not just that additional training expenditure is incurred - the learning curve maybe too steep for your users and it also could hamper productivity. So, if the tool isn’t intuitive to use and business users love it, it is a bad idea to embark on your automation journey at the cost of user experience.

Does it have full-fledged stakeholder buy-in?

As IT Managers or Process Architects, their day-jobs revolve around empowering their teams with the latest technology that could make things faster for them. But, ultimately it is the users for whom the stakes are extremely high. It is therefore a matter of foremost importance to have the complete buy-in from all the stakeholders involved, especially the end-users for whom the process automation ultimately caters to. It is also equally essential to get the buy-in from the top management because the goals of automation must completely align with the goals of the organization. Hence, double check for complete buy-in from all the involved stakeholders before kick starting your process automation initiatives.

Is it going to kill the human element?

It is important to be aware of the extent to which you are planning to automate your processes. A lot of times, companies tend to forget that it is ultimately humans that businesses deal with irrespective of whether they are B2B or B2C. Hence, a lot of situations depend on human judgement and that is far from the contours of being suitable for automation. Automating mundane, routine, repetitive tasks is fine. But, certain processes that are customer-facing are serious non-qualifiers for automation. Any automation initiative that would make your company look less customer-centric is something you should curb instantly. It is important to apply this due diligence and vigilance before investing time, energy and resources in business process automation. It is essential to be fully convinced with these to realize the full benefits of automation. How ready are you to embark on a fruitful journey of business process automation? Let us know in the comments section.

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