Process Automation

Automation of the process

In experiences in process automation projects over the years.  As may have worked in the field for a long time can attest to, many things begin to look the same after a while.

For instance, in a typical office, you may notice things, such as stacks of folders on desks, copier placement, fax machines, boxes being filled with folders of documents getting ready for storage in some off-site facility or taking up space unnecessarily in your office.  It’s a habit that’s hard to break.

Immediately you can see fundamental things that could be improved to speed things up or reduce waste and feel compelled to bring it to the attention of management. Many businesses are overwhelmed with issues running their business and fell like there is no time to streamline processes. However, you should not underestimate the benefits that process automation has.

We’ve all heard the quote, “The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does exist.”  The challenge with that statement with most customers is that they don’t know they have a problem and zero in on the main issue.

Let me illustrate; if you were to say to me, “I can build a car in 2 days.” Should I be impressed?  Maybe.  The first questions I would ask are, “Have you ever built a car before?”  “What type of car?”  “Do you have the right parts?”  “Do you have the right tools?”  “Do you have the right space?”

There are a few more questions that would need to be asked before agreeing it can be done.  These are fundamental questions and have nothing to do with the technology you might use to build the car.

Should you be looking to buy a socket wrench with artificial intelligence, or a special drill with a cognitive understanding of hole sizes before knowing the answers to the questions above?  No, of course not.  If you have never built a car before, the first thing you should do is understand the fundamentals of building a car.  If you had a friend that knows how to build cars, the most valuable advice they are likely to give you is what not to do.  It’s no different with technology solutions for your business.

Of course, not all processes can be automated with a simple solution.  Some processes are quite complex and require deep thought and advanced technology.  However, a recent survey by McKinsey showed that more than 77% of general accounting processes can be “easily” automated.

The question is, do you know where to start looking?  It’s the equivalent of asking, “Have you built a car before?”  Sure, you can Google it, but it’s difficult to look for a solution when the problem may not be obvious.  You may end up buying a solution that doesn’t really solve the problem yet frustrates everyone that must use it and/or manage it.  That’s one reason why McKinsey also tells us that 67% of all technology projects fail to deliver on the expected result.

The real question is, do you have the guts to say, “We don’t know where to start looking, our what would be best for us, so we should probably get help from someone that does know.”?

Get the fundamentals right, before you go into one more magic-product demo. Process automation can streamline a business for simplicity, achieve digital transformation, increase service quality, improve service delivery, or contain costs.