Streamlining Business Processes with Automation
Arleen AtienzaMay 18, 2021
Automation has become a buzzword in the past few years. AI has made the business of running an enterprise or start-up easier and more efficient.
Business processes have evolved to include automation. Integrating automation into various workflows have resulted in higher productivity and greater efficiency. It also helps companies save or generate more income in the long run due to improved efficiency and productivity.
A study in the UK found that 26 percent of employees’ time is wasted on avoidable administrative tasks. If that 26 percent was allotted elsewhere, to more productive or at least more empowering tasks for the employees, the company’s bottom line could have a more robust figure.
Integrating automation in existing workflow processes
Undeniably, starting to integrate automation into an already established but manually geared workflow will take some time, research, and possibly hiring developers to help out. And it will also involve a lot of work. But the time it will save everyone once it is fully integrated and the newly automated workflow is established will benefit not just the employees working on the workflow, but also the company at large.
Robotic process automation can help integrate automation into corporate structures. This helps automate manually repetitive tasks that take up a lot of otherwise productive time. But this is not an end all be all answer. There is no one size fits all solution to automation. This is why identifying what is needed in your workflow or in your processes, the input and output and the necessity of the actual workflow is an important initial step to integrating automation into your workflow processes.
Once you have established the processes you need to automate and where to start, you will need to map out the process. List the steps and the deliverables of each as specifically as possible. For example, you are looking into bringing accounting automation into your payroll process. You will need to list down all the steps in your payroll process with the corresponding desired result for each step. This is crucial to the next general step which is to understand the whole process.
Taking a close look at how a process works, how each step paves the way for the next one, and identifying the steps that are redundant are already steps towards streamlining the process. This will provide a clearer picture of what automation will do to the process and ensure that the final desired result of the whole process will match the resulting product of the new automated one.
Once you’re shaved off the unnecessary steps, you can take a look at which parts of the process automation is feasible. Automation can occur either in the entire process or in specific steps of the process. It really depends on which steps or processes make sense to automate and which ones don’t. Once you get the buy-in from the people in charge of the budget, you can start involving software developers and getting the creation of the actual automation tool started.
From there, it’s all about testing and tweaking and having a test group run against a control group to see if there is any difference in the final product, time spent, errors in the results, etc. Once the tool has finally been created and optimized, you can then implement the use of the tool in the process.
Implementation is not the end step. What comes after is measuring how effective the automation was. Did it cut down on the time spent on the process? Was there a significant reduction in errors? Were the target results met? And from there you can start improving on the process if there is a need.
Automation can save a business time and money. This will free up your employees’ day for other things. In a way, it will declutter your process, streamline it, make it quicker and more efficient.
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