I have always believed human potential to be unlimited. You only must look at what humans have built, painted and written to marvel at humanity. That’s why I am a strong advocate for automation as a tool to unlock your workforce for more value-added activities, where human´s creativity is unrivaled by computers. On the other hand, humans suffer the most where computers thrive; repetitive and stable activities. My goal is to identify those activities at a company.
Consequently, I examine three important criteria to determine the automation´s feasibility. The first one is the nature of the work performed, which in plain words just means: How complicated are the decisions derived from the tasks in the process? Computers are not suited for fuzzy logic; they do not perform as well as humans.
The second criterium is the stability of the procedure: it is important to consider the process changes, how often and how profound they were and the company´s plan to change or restructure its processes in the future. It wouldn´t make much sense to automate a process that is constantly changing since the respective tools are still not on a level where they learn automatically how to apply to change. Therefore, I wouldn´t recommend automating processes with high volatility.
Finally, the last dimension I look for to analyze when it comes to process automation is the kind of data that the process uses. Computers are good at processing numbers, and to some extent also plain texts, but where there are images involved their performance and reliability decrease substantially. Of course, all these criteria are subject to change and difference weighting according to the customer´s resources and necessities.
The viability of a process to be automated is not the only factor to evaluate when one is working in a project with a customer – business benefits are equally important. Therefore, it is also crucial to calculate the benefits the automation would generate. I would say that there are four possible benefits from automating a business process: time saving, increased efficiency, cost savings, and error reduction. Robots can work 24/7 with a lower error rate than humans. Considering this work rate the investment tends to pay for itself within less than one year.
Another important question to ask is how many working hours the process automation is going to unleash for more value-added activities. Hence, you are unlocking your employee´s true potential.
From my experience, there is not a perfect, common blueprint for all companies to automate their processes. Even with customers in the same industry and with similar size we have noticed that the potential for automation is completely different. System landscape, process development and history are some of the reasons for this divergence. That´s why it is important to take a deep dive into this journey with flexibility and an open mind. There is no standard solution to use process automation as opportunity to help your employees. What is important is to choose a systematic and comprehensive approach. Contact me (or us) to help you unleash your employee’s true potential while leaving computers to do what they do best; repetitive and burdensome processes.