Organizations that want to make the most out of automation initiatives need to have a strategy. Without understanding the goals that you want to achieve through automation, you won’t know whether you have succeeded or not. Having a strategy gives you a focus for your automation implementation. It clarifies the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will need to measure to understand if you are succeeding.
Ultimately, effective automation needs a long-term focus. While putting a bot or two in place can improve your processes somewhat, automation with a bigger strategy in mind is more likely to improve your productivity. Part of the strategy process is creating an automation road map, which is key to achieving business growth goals.
If you want to see some quick automation wins, you need to start with your long terms goals in mind.
Identify Quick-Fix Problems
Many organizations being by looking at ways that automation can help them fix short-term problems. This can be a good way to test out the technologies. By identifying small issues that can be fixed through automation, organizations can achieve some early wins. These smaller scale automation projects will help you get to know the technology better. It can also benefit you as you come to better understand how to scale automation processes up so you can reach your organizational goals. Furthermore, this information will help you reduce the obstacles you could face with larger projects.
You can start by identifying low-skill tasks that seem to take up a lot of employees’ time. These manual processes are often ideal for quick-fix automation solutions. Consider time-consuming tasks that are repeatable. Getting a few automation wins under your belt will better prepare you to take on wider-scale automation projects.
However, it is important to know that organizations that take this approach may find it frustrating. Without a plan or road map to guide the overarching process, automation solutions may seem slow to implement and even slower to produce results. To successfully implement automation processes, you need to have an end goal in mind.
Create an Automation Road Map
Maps give us direction and help us to get where we want to go. This is true whether you are driving or attempting to automate some processes in your organization. Without a road map to guide you, you may easily get lost along the way.
Creating an automation road map can take some time. You will need to take many steps before it is completed. These include:
- Define your goals: What do you want to achieve by automating your processes? Increased productivity? A safer workplace for employees? Whatever your organization wants to accomplish, be sure to define a timeline. This can help you measure the results of your automation testing as you move forward.
- Create steps: Each goal that you defined should have some steps that you can take to get there. This is where you can get more specific. For example, if you are looking at how automation can help your marketing team consider ways this could happen. Could you begin by automating marketing emails? Perhaps some lead generation activities? Create a road map for your team that can help you take these smaller steps.
- Set your KPIs: Once you know where you want to go and the steps you’ll take to get there, it is time to identify the KPIs. By knowing your KPIs, you will be able to gauge whether your automation projects are heading in the right direction. KPIs need to be something that you can easily measure. For example, if you are automating some of your marketing tasks, such as emails, you may want to measure customer responses to the emails. Are more customers opening the emails? Following the links?
Remember that implementing automation can take some time, effort, and money at the beginning. But, if successful, it will save you time and money in the long term. It is important for you to keep the long-term goal in sight.
Leverage Design Thinking Techniques
While small automation successes are important at the beginning of your journey, there are more large-scale transformations that can give your organization a bigger return on their investment. One of the ways to achieving this bigger ROI is by applying design thinking techniques.
Design thinking is what many companies that focus on consumer experience use when they are working on new products or services. Essentially, this approach moves you from simply thinking at a task level to thinking about a larger outcome. In other words, using design thinking can help you shift from quick-fix automation projects to larger scale, more transformative ones. These are the projects that will be driven by your strategy and automation road map.
There are a few tips that you can use to bring design thinking into your automation approach including:
- Understand your employee actions: Get to know how your employees achieve their business tasks and goals. Find out why they do it that way. Then consider how automation might make the task easier or more efficient.
- Look at departmental processes: To get even more from your automation efforts, examine all the actions that are involved in achieving a departmental goal. This can help you see what parts of those processes could benefit from automation. Creating these group tasks that lead to the same outcome can help you identify automation that have a higher ROI.
- Create a journey map: Visualizing the individual tasks that lead to a larger outcome can help you identify other areas that automation may improve processes. You may be able to identify smaller tasks that can be automated or even larger processes that could benefit from some automation assistance.
If your organization is looking to leverage the benefits of automation, let us help you create a road map to get there.