In the dynamic realm of modern business, the use of automation is undeniable. Whether it is for streamlining processes, minimizing errors, or boosting efficiency organizations have enthusiastically started to embrace automation. However, not all processes are ripe for automation, and plunging into it without due diligence can lead to significant setbacks.
Imagine a scenario where an organization hastily automates a process without considering its suitability. Let’s say this process experiences frequent changes, rendering the automation obsolete with each alteration. The organization invested time, effort, and resources into creating the automation solution, only to find it crumbling under the weight of evolving requirements. The losses incurred here are multifaceted. Valuable resources have been squandered, and the anticipated gains in efficiency remain unrealized. Worse yet, if the process involves compliance regulations, errors stemming from the automation breakdown could lead to legal complications, fines, and reputational damage.
According to recent statistics, a surprising number of businesses face failure even before embarking on their automation journey due to poor planning. In fact, up to 70% of automation projects fail to deliver expected results due to a lack of strategic alignment and inadequate selection of processes.
This is where a thoughtfully crafted checklist for selecting the right use case for automation becomes invaluable. An automation checklist acts as a compass, guiding organizations to identify processes that are not only technically feasible to automate but also aligned with their strategic objectives. It serves as a safeguard against costly missteps and ensures that automation efforts yield substantial returns.
To help you avoid such issues, here is a comprehensive checklist for
selecting right use case to start your Intelligent Automation Journey:
The first criterion for selecting a process for automation is its stability. It is the bedrock upon which successful automation is built. Consider a customer order processing system. If this system undergoes frequent modifications due to changing business needs, automating it becomes an exercise in futility. Each adjustment would necessitate reconfiguring the automation, eroding any gains in efficiency. An unstable process with frequent changes is not conducive to automation. If a process undergoes constant modifications, automating it can result in higher maintenance efforts and costs, negating the benefits of automation.
Alongside process stability, it’s important to consider the applications involved in the process. Take the example of a finance department using an accounting software. If the software vendor frequently updates the application, it might inadvertently disrupt the automation’s functionality. Thus, automation candidates should involve applications with a stable roadmap. Applications are the tools with which automation interacts. Automation scripts often rely on specific interactions with applications, and any changes could break the automation flow. If the applications used are likely to change in the near future, automation might become problematic.
Rule-Based and Well-Documented
An automation-friendly process is one with clearly defined rules and comprehensive documentation. Clear rules and documentation help in understanding the process logic, making it easier to design and implement automation workflows. Consider a procurement process that involves varying approval hierarchies based on purchase amounts. A well-documented rule set ensures that the automation accurately mirrors the decision-making process, leaving no room for ambiguity.
Defined Process Steps and Paths
The complexity of process steps can be a make-or-break factor in automation success. Complex and unpredictable processes with multiple branching paths can be challenging to automate effectively. Think of an employee onboarding procedure. If the process entails multiple variations depending on the role or department, automation becomes intricate. On the other hand, processes with clear, linear paths are more likely to yield desired outcomes.
Clear Input and Output
Clarity in input and output parameters is pivotal. A crucial aspect of automation is defining clear input and output parameters for the process. If the input and output are ambiguous or vary significantly, it can lead to errors in automation and unreliable results. Imagine a data migration task where information flows from one system to another. Without precisely defined input formats, the automation might mishandle data, leading to erroneous outcomes.
Certain processes demand unwavering compliance adherence. Automated workflows can ensure consistent adherence to compliance rules and regulations, reducing the risk of human errors or oversights. Consider a medical billing process where errors in coding could lead to rejected claims and financial losses. Automating such processes ensures that every transaction adheres to the established compliance rules, mitigating potential risks.
Complexity and Time Efficiency
While considering a process for automation, it’s important to assess its complexity. Highly complex processes might require extensive effort to automate and maintain, which could outweigh the benefits. Additionally, the time required to automate the process should not be excessively long; otherwise, the initial investment might not yield timely returns. Take a payroll processing system as an example. If automation demands more time to configure and maintain than the time saved by the automated process, the benefits are nullified. Thus, balancing complexity and time efficiency is critical.
Clear Post-Automation Benefits
The true value of automation lies in its post-implementation benefits. For instance, automating a customer support ticket routing process could lead to faster response times and improved customer satisfaction. Quantifying these benefits guides the decision-making process. Always, analyze the potential benefits of automation after implementation. Will it lead to cost savings, increased efficiency, reduced errors, or improved customer satisfaction? If the benefits are not substantial, the effort put into automation might not be justified.
Third-Party and Government Portals
Dependency on external portals can introduce vulnerabilities. Think of a tax filing process that relies on an external government portal. If the portal’s functionality changes unexpectedly, the automation might break, leading to missed deadlines and potential penalties. Processes that heavily rely on third-party portals or government portals can introduce compliance challenges and dependency issues. Avoid such processes unless there’s a strong case for automation, considering the risks associated with external dependencies.
The volume of transactions impacts the feasibility of automation. Imagine an inventory management process. If it involves frequent tracking and updates, automation can prevent errors and streamline operations. On the contrary, a process that occurs rarely might not warrant the investment in automation. Automation tends to be most effective when applied to processes with a certain volume. Processes that are performed frequently or involve a significant number of transactions are better suited for automation. Processes that occur infrequently, such as once a year, might not provide sufficient returns on the automation investment.
Navigating the intricate landscape of automation requires expertise and a proven approach. In the quest for automation excellence, a well-constructed checklist is your guiding light. It guards against ill-advised automation endeavors and steers organizations towards processes that promise optimal returns. The consequences of automating the wrong process can range from wasted resources to compliance breaches, both of which come with tangible and intangible costs.
This is where AG Tech comes in. With a wealth of experience, AG Tech specializes in helping organizations make informed decisions about their automation initiatives. By leveraging a robust framework built on the principles outlined in the checklist, AG Tech assists in identifying the most suitable processes for automation. Through careful evaluation, AG Tech ensures that processes selected for automation align seamlessly with your business goals, technical capabilities, and compliance requirements. With AG Tech as your partner, you can embark on your automation journey with confidence, knowing that every step is well-planned and strategically executed.