Many entrepreneurs believe digital technologies will transform the way their companies work. By 2022, the worldwide hyper-automation technology market is expected to be worth $596.6 billion. And by 2055, almost half of today’s jobs will be automated.
This influx of sophisticated technologies will enable organizations to view work in fresh, innovative ways. Companies with business models that combine automation with human creativity are likely to see higher profit margins.
Gartner predicts that by 2024, organizations that merge redesigned operational processes with hyper-automation technologies will lower operational costs by 30%. More and more organizations are prioritizing strategies to exploit emerging technologies and enhance operations, products, and services.
How to Prepare Your Organization for Automation
A 2020 Gartner poll showed that 24% of organizations increased their automation investments that year. The pandemic period has been difficult for businesses that were hesitant to embrace automation. They’ve experienced delays in production and interruptions to their workflows. Since automation is here to stay, here’s how you can prepare for the automation revolution.
Move Away from Paper & Spreadsheets
Using outdated systems makes your organization inefficient. Obsolete technology or processes such as paper and spreadsheets slow down processes, hinder progress, and are major roadblocks to productivity. Use automation to streamline processes and to complete repetitive processes with less human intervention.
Review your existing systems and plan updates early enough so you’re not caught off guard when your systems become obsolete. And because automation relies on good data, examine your data infrastructure before automating processes. Eliminate duplicates and bad data to ensure you have clean, complete data.
Every company will face an “evolve or die” moment at least once in its lifetime. Automation can prevent your business from closing up shop. Automate with the future in mind and learn from your past mistakes. Technological advancements are allowing organizations to launch new products and services in shorter timelines, accelerating innovation.
The need for workers to have basic digital skills has grown by 69%. To fully implement automation, encourage workers to learn more technological skills. They should also develop empathy, creativity, leadership skills, and people management skills–skills machines may not master soon.
Weed Out Redundant Processes
Change is the only constant in today’s business environment of continuous technological disruption. Automation allows companies to keep up with changing market conditions. It offers them a quick, effective way to eliminate mundane, repetitive tasks. Take time to identify manual, time-consuming employee workflows you can augment with automation.
As automation solutions become better, use them to enhance human performance and to boost business productivity. You don’t need to automate entire employee roles. Only automate parts of their workflows so they can focus on tasks that add more value to the company.
Inclusive and Diverse Design
Many organizations now apply diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. While inclusion and diversity in technology involve developing and nurturing these practices internally, businesses should also consider the diverse needs of their customers.
For software developers, it might mean building products that address use cases and also user profiles. While the inclusive and diverse design is not a new concept, it can get overlooked as software becomes more sophisticated. Automation allows companies to adopt the two design concepts.
Invest in Training
Despite the fear employees have of being replaced by technology, almost 70% of them are hopeful about higher-skilled employment. 57% of employers also believe automation’s primary goal is to enhance employee performance. Before adopting automation, train workers on how they’ll transition to new roles.
Training your team on how automation will improve their performance and boost company productivity. Provide the right information and resources and review your company’s goals for effectiveness. Training future-proofs your business and prepares employees for future advancements in technology.
Consider the Company Culture
Change doesn’t happen overnight. Create a culture of automation and communicate automation’s positive aspects to encourage employees to embrace it. Help them identify ways to automate tasks and free up their time. Have regular conversations with them about how automation has impacted them.
Be honest when addressing employee questions and concerns. Allow them to speak up and consider their ideas. Carefully plan your automation strategy to ensure it aligns with the company’s culture and mission. Openness and transparency will help employees become loyal to you and your company.
Leave Room for Future Scalability
If you want your business to grow, you have to build with future scalability in mind. Profitable businesses grow by doubling down on their core offerings and their operations. They deliver and help more customers by enabling their teams to build more, market more, and sell more. And they do that through automation.
Automation can help a company to deliver more value to clients faster, and happy clients equal more business. The company can take on more work and retain its existing clients, growing sustainably. Analytics and reporting software can help a company minimize churn, manufacture the right products, and create repeatable processes that enable it to grow, and scale.
Factors Affecting the Extent of Automation and How to Overcome Them
Automating Processes Before You’re Ready
Automating everything at once may not meet your business needs. Before you automate, do your research. Assess your current organizational processes and carefully select the tasks and processes that can be enhanced by automation. Automate one process at a time instead of making broad changes.
Not Integrating Your Automation Tool with Existing Platforms
Simply automating processes isn’t enough, you must also merge the software with existing platforms. Integrate the automation tool with platforms you already use; not doing this may create more work later on.
Choosing the Wrong Software
Selecting the wrong tool means you won’t achieve your automation goals, and this will mean wasted money and effort. Find the right solution for your business needs. Find out the automation solution companies similar to your use and get a tool with the right features.
Case Study: DKG Insurance Brokers
DKG Insurance Brokers embraced the change caused by Covid-19 and transformed into a more competitive and future-ready organization. Before the pandemic, the company hadn’t adopted automation. It previously used internal CRM systems to manage underwriting processes and insurance claims.
Brokers were spending 80% of their time on manual, cumbersome business tasks. Over 6 months, DKG integrated 3 automation solutions into its existing CRM systems. The company has now automated debtor management, claims management, and renewal of retail motor policies.
Automation is here to stay, but how you implement it will determine if it will transform your organization. No matter the industry, adopting automation with the future in mind is crucial. But the big question is, how prepared is your company for an automated future?
By Dinesh Varadharajan
Dinesh Varadharajan is the Chief Product Officer(CPO) at Kissflow. He leads the product management team at Kissflow, the first unified digital workplace for organizations to manage all of their work on a single, unified platform. Dinesh is a hands-on executive with a wide range of experience working with bleeding-edge technologies, developing great products and mentoring highly productive teams. He has profound knowledge in the design and technical implementation of BPM solutions. He was recently named one among the Top 100 Great People Managers 2020, by Great Manager Institute & Forbes India.