The Do’s and Don’ts of Business Process Automation in Today’s World
Business process automation has made numerous aspects of work much easier. Now, you can actually get a robot to do tons of manual tasks for you – from proofreading, invoice processing, customer service management and so much more.
Beyond the world of work, you can even find tray return robots at the food courts or waiters at restaurants in South Korea. You might even encounter Spot, the social distancing robot, at public parks.
If you’re feeling lonely as you choose to stay at home, you could even buy a wired companion.
But… is automating all your processes the way to go in the new world of work?
Sure, business process automation does help your business save tons of time and costs when you get a robot to do the heavy lifting for you. But every phenomenon is a double-edged sword and automation does have its limitations as well.
For one, getting a bot to handle all your customer queries might backfire especially when your customers are not receiving the answers they need.
So what are the best practices of business process automation? Let’s find out.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Automating Your Systems
It might be tempting to let a robot handle all those mundane tasks, but its important that your business does not lose that human touch. After all, it seems like that human touch can make the biggest difference to help your brand stand out.
1. DON’T be Over-reliant on Automation
It’s great to automate various backbreaking and time-consuming tasks that are prone to human errors, but be careful not to go overboard.
Like we mentioned earlier, some tasks need that human touch. After all, while a robot might be able to reduce risks of human errors, consolidate data reports in seconds and provide timely insights, etc, they have limitations too.
For one, a robot definitely won’t be able to empathize as well as a human customer service representative would. Tone and mannerism also can give your business a more professional brand image.
… On the other hand, DO Integrate Automated Processes into Existing Systems
Robot or no robot, your business probably already has an existing workflow and structure.
Instead of adapting your business to a business process automation software, try to find a software that can be seamless integrated into your current systems.
This way, you need not restructure your entire business just to comply with requirements of a new system.
2. DON’T Trade Bots for Humans
First, like we mentioned, robots are limited.
Second, that’s just pretty mean don’t, you think?
Imagine being loyal to a company for 5 years, only to be fired because a robot can do your job for you.
Would you feel betrayed?
Probably. So don’t trade your loyal staff for bots.
If you already have a dynamic and skilled team, don’t try replacing them. Automate your processes, not your team members.
… Instead, DO have a Business Process Automation Strategy
Figure out where your business’ pain points are. Do some investigation to pinpoint where your team falls short and which processes are too time-consuming.
Find out how (or if) your team is struggling and try to find systems which can save them some time and aid them in their line of work. Use the opportunity to get a more comprehensive understanding of what processes should and should not be automated.
Having a plan in mind helps you avoid spending unnecessary budget on automation that you don’t actually need.
3. DON’T Leave Everything to the Bots
“… After they deployed a robot to handle their procurement processes for them, they lived happily ever after. The end.”
Unfortunately, no system is perfect and neglecting your automated processes might backfire. What if there was a system error you were unaware of?
… But DO Have a Backup Plan Ready
What happens when the system is down?
Or a catastrophe – what if someone hacks your systems?
Unfortunately, there are going to be serious repercussions if your business relies entirely on robots. This is where its important to have an offline backup plan ready in case of any system faults.
What to Consider Before Exploring Business Process Automation
We’ll admit it: automation does seem pretty cool. But before you deep-dive into it, here are a few things you should consider before you start automating various processes.
A. Will it Bring Greater ROI?
The main purpose of investing in automation is to make your processes more efficient. Consider whether the system meets your needs and can help improve accuracy, productivity and efficiency across your entire business.
B. Will all Team Members Find it Helpful?
Let’s face it. Some people are just less into tech than others. But if you want to make a smart purchase, you would want to make sure all of them find it helpful in some way.
Some members might have to get trained before they are able to fully maximise the bots. Take this into consideration before forking out tons of money into a business process automation software.
C. Does it Suit my Budget?
Does your business have the financial capacity to integrate a new system into your workflow processes?
Unless you have a tech wizard in the company who can build a robot, you might probably need to engage a vendor to provide these solutions.
And here’s a warning: it’s not going to be cheap.
While we did mention the importance of planning in this aspect earlier in the article, don’t forget the financial aspect of it too.
Should You Invest in Automation?
At the end of the day, even though robots and automated systems were created to serve the greater good, you must pay attention to their shortcomings and consider your objectives as well.
Ask yourself what your priorities are.
Are your priorities geared towards bringing new business?
Has your business been hit hard because of growing competitor usage of automation?
Or is your business struggling because of external factors?
The rule of thumb as far as business process automation is concerned is being able to outweigh the costs and benefits.
Our advice? Do your own research before jumping on the bandwagon.