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How to ensure the success of automation projects

7 minute read

Follow a clear plan during business process automation to ensure a successful outcome.

Business process automation (BPA) involves transferring routine simple tasks to automation services. Thanks to automation, it is possible to take orders, issue invoices, send goods, and do many other things automatically without human participation.

Today, many companies choose automation because it saves time, improves workflow, and cuts costs. However, to get the most out of BPA, it is crucial to implement it with business specific goals in mind. There are a few things you can do to ensure the success of your automation project. We’ll outline them for you here in our digital transformation guide.

Define the goals of the automation project

Not all tasks are a good fit for automation, so you need to be selective to make sure that the project is worthwhile. The first step is to define the business objectives that you hope to achieve. Cost savings, elimination of manual work, and increasing the transparency of the business as a whole are major motivators pushing companies to adopt BPA.

By implementing BPA software, you can process more requests from customers, partners, or employees. As your business grows, you only need to adjust certain settings in your program without increasing your personnel and budget size. You can also eliminate the possibility of human error as all the tasks will be handled automatically. Additionally, you can track any business process by checking the operation history in your corporate software for BPA.

However, if you want your company to see the true value of adopting BPA, you need to adhere to the SMART goals principle. That is, your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.

In the context of using process automation software, the following example will illustrate how it works.

Example of setting SMART goals for process automation in retail

  • Specific: I want to automate payments in my e-commerce store.
  • Measurable: I will be ready to accept my first online payment within four weeks.
  • Attainable: I will research payment process automation vendors and contact the most reputable ones. After discussing the terms of cooperation with each of them, I will choose the provider that is most attractive from a price-quality perspective.
  • Relevant: Enabling online payment in my store will help me improve service, increase customer base, and grow profit.
  • Time-based: Online payment will be running in four weeks. I will be able to process up to 100 transactions daily, including sales, cancellations, and refunds.

Understand business processes

Businesses often rush into automation projects without fully understanding the implications. As a result, they can end up with a system that doesn’t meet their needs or doesn’t work properly. So before you even begin to think about automation, take the time to understand your company’s workflows and what you want to include in your digital transformation timeline.

Remember that BPA is intended to automate simple repetitive tasks that do not require creativity and decision-making. Such tasks include

  • processing leave and vacation requests 
  • inventory monitoring and management
  • assigning and tracking IT tickets 
  • contract management
  • order status tracking
  • account opening
  • etc.

If, conversely, you need a system that can analyze data and make decisions on its own, you need to contact a digital transformation company with vast expertise in developing AI/ML models and tools. Below you can see how companies use digital transformation technologies with and without AI/ML tools.

Examples of process automation in transportation with and without AI/ML

Routine tasks automation

Supply chain management and transportation require ongoing tracking of shipments, vehicles, and other assets. Process automation in the supply chain allows automatic management and reporting on shipment status, delivery time, pick-up location, parcel price, and more. The user has the ability to create a shipping entry in the application, and may then track their parcel from dispatch to receipt.

Process automation powered by AI

If your company is engaged in local delivery, you may be interested in developing a last mile delivery app that will calculate the best routes for your couriers. To implement such a feature, you will need to apply AI to teach maps to detect heavy traffic and suggest alternate routes. You can also identify the roads with the highest frequency of accidents and offer alternatives to avoid driver injuries and vehicle damage.

Identify the right software

There are many process automation providers that offer turnkey BPA solutions. If your company has standard processes, out-of-the-box software may suit you well. The primary advantages of ready-made BPA programs are

  • quick access to the software of сhoice
  • short-term money savings 
  • availability of a free trial (in most cases)
  • availability of customer support (in most cases)
  • no need to bother with product development.

On the other hand, off-the-shelf solutions often cannot cover specific business needs and are not suitable for companies with non-typical processes. Considering high subscription fees, organizations often look for digital transformation partners which can implement custom BPA software tailored to the business needs. The main benefits of custom process automation software for enterprises include:

  • long-term savings (since you don’t need to pay monthly fees)
  • ample customization opportunities
  • no dependence on external organizations
  • easy integration into the existing corporate system
  • proprietary software which you can sell to other companies and make extra profit.

Choose the right development partner

When it comes to automation projects, it’s critical to choose the right development partner. This will ensure that your project is successful and meets all of your expectations. Here are a few things to keep in mind when searching for digital transformation experts:

1. Experience. A reliable technology partner has at least 10 years of experience in the IT market and proven automation projects under their belt.

2. Quality. The partner provides top-notch solutions which have been successfully used by their clients for many years.

3. Flexibility. The company of your choice offers different cooperation models to meet any client’s needs.

4. Scalability. The partner has sufficient human and technological resources to scale your business and help you grow and disrupt the market.

5. Communication. The partner is interested in building trusting relationships, easily builds communication, and delivers excellent results.

Set up a pilot project

The best way to ensure the success of your automation project is to start with small-scale software that allows you to test out the new process and make sure it’s working the way you want it to. It also gives you a chance to train your team on how to use the new system and iron out any kinks before you roll it out to the rest of your organization.

For example, if you intend to automate accounting, you may want to implement contract management software first. If you see that the productivity of your staff is increasing and the number of human errors goes down, you can move on to automating the remaining financial processes.

Go live and monitor the results

Once the automation project is complete, it’s important to go live and monitor the results. Make sure to track key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure that digital transformation technologies are meeting their objectives. If you’re not seeing the results you expected, it may be necessary to make some changes or tweaks to the automation process.

It’s also important to be patient and give the new workflow time to prove itself. Don’t expect to see overnight results; it may take a few weeks or months for the automation process to have a noticeable impact on your business. But as long as you stay committed and track the KPIs, you’ll be able to see the positive effects of digitalization in no time.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that automation can improve efficiency and speed up processes in any organization. But without careful planning and execution, digital initiatives can quickly become expensive failures.
To ensure the success of your business process automation, you need to do careful planning, partner with experienced engineers and develop software that 100% meets your goals and needs. If you follow the guidelines provided in this article, you can be sure that your digital transformation will be successful and will deliver the desired results.

August 11, 2022
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