Five strategic ways to automate business processes – News Couple
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Five strategic ways to automate business processes


Written by Brett Varmello, serial entrepreneur, founder of Markitors and terkelIt is a knowledge platform that turns expert insights into articles for small businesses.

If you can put all employees in one car and go to lunch together, automating business processes is a low priority. But if your company needs two or more cars to go to lunch, your company should take a closer look at the business processes that can be automated.

When your team is small, there is less human error. But to scale your business, some of these repetitive and manual tasks need to be automated to improve efficiency and reduce errors that come with business expansion.

What are some strategic ways to automate business processes? What processes should be automated first? Read on to learn more about how to automate critical processes in your business.

1. Define functional areas of operations

It’s tempting to jump into an organizational chart and fantasize about all the cost savings associated with replacing roles with AI, but that’s not how automation works. Human intervention is still needed, and robots won’t replace employees anytime soon.

Instead, the first part of business process automation is to identify functional areas in your business that may have opportunities to improve efficiency. This may include sales teams, accounts payable, customer service, inventory management, and other areas of business operations.

2. Create standard operating procedures

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) document the exact steps needed to carry out and complete responsibilities within the role. To complete any type of automation, the process must be clearly defined with the steps and actions to be taken.

Although standard operating procedures sound great, they always seem to be the least low priority in a small business. This is why it might make sense for business leaders to prioritize standard operating procedures as a quarterly goal across the organization, and to create a global “SOP time” for all employees to take the time to determine how they do their jobs.

3. Define recurring tasks

Once you identify the functional areas in your business, you can begin to dive deeper into the recurring tasks found within the roles of each department. Spoiler alert: This is the really fun part of automating business processes.

For the first time, a business owner or operations manager can put themselves in the shoes of employees and feel their pain over manual and repetitive tasks. Business leaders can gain perspective on the areas in which they are most exposed to operational risks or inefficiencies.

To identify recurring tasks, review employee-created standard operating procedures. Spend time to complete tasks according to standard operating procedures. Next, interview employees about their standard operating procedures to confirm the process and validate repetitive tasks that may exist.

4. Prioritize areas for automation

From the interview and the SOP iteration process, a business leader must have a long list of tasks that have opportunities for improvement. Prioritizing this list will allow progress in automating business processes.

What factors should be considered when prioritizing areas for automation? Think about operational improvements and their impact on customers. Integrating a business automation solution can lead to benefits such as reduced tedious tasks, reduced manual errors, and control over variable costs. Prioritize the list based on the scorecard that assesses the impact on customers, employees, and business.

5. Digital Transformation

You don’t have to spend millions of dollars on custom AI-led codecs to automate business processes. There are many workflow and business process automation (BPA) software out there to help companies design and automate business processes.

Companies such as Appian, Comidor, Outsystems, Signavio, and Process Maker specialize in providing business process management software and low-code automation technologies. Request a demo, and explore how current technologies can support business goals.

Alternatively, if implementing a BPM program seems like too much, explore automation within your existing set of technologies. Project management software such as Asana, Basecamp, ClickUp, Trello and other automation software that may achieve your goals are all available. Schedule a demo using your existing project management software to explore features and functionality that may be underutilized or unlocked in different tiered plans.

Whatever direction you decide to take, business process automation can help a business transition from linear growth to faster growth. Define functional areas of operations, create standard operating procedures, sharpen repetitive tasks and prioritize areas for automation. Look for a technical hack that will boost automation. And after that, keep building a better business.



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