More and more projects keep coming. The deadlines are tight and getting tighter. It seems that regardless of how much effort and time you put into your work, there is no way you can come out ahead. This vicious cycle must break at some point. Working longer hours and adding staff is not the best solution. It will only complicate things and is not a long-term answer.
The solution to managing a growing flow of projects is to automate as much of their handling as possible. Having an automated system means that the amount of work to be done is independent of the number of projects. That makes your business scalable.
But where do you start ? Trying to automate all at once seems like an overwhelming task. Don’t worry – every journey starts with the first step. But keep in mind the handful of guidelines below.
Automation is all about having the proper tools. Getting to know them at the beginning is crucial. The first projects you automate should be neither large nor critical. It will reduce the cost of the mistakes that have to be made when learning. This initial phase is often overlooked. Many automation projects have failed by trying to do too much too soon.
Be wise about your priorities
Automating should always be about maximizing business impact. There are always more areas that can be changed. Things that bring the most value with the least effort set the automation priorities. This approach will help get fast results where it matters. A more straightforward approach is to answer two questions.
The first is to ask where you lose effort on tedious, manual labor that could be automated. The second is where automation can be introduced the fastest. The answers should give you a good idea where to place your automation efforts.
Focus on one area at a time
Introducing a new tool is neither fast nor easy. As automation changes the way you work, you should avoid making too many changes at once. To not disrupt your organization, it is best to focus on automating one area at a time. You will get the fastest results, new insights and it will help you to determine the next steps.
Adopt a constant improvement mindset
Introducing changes in your processes impact your whole business. You should always keep in mind that change should be for the better, not just for the sake of the change itself. To ensure good results, adopt a constant improvement mindset.
Ask yourself if the changes improved the business. That, in turn, means that you need to have a way of verifying it. If you can measure something, you can control it. If you cannot measure the improvement made by a change, it is better to not change anything. Avoid doing things if you cannot verify that they have not harmed your business.
Automation is a journey, not a destination
And last, but not least, remember that a process change is never finished. There is always something that can be done better, faster and cheaper. But that should not stop you from trying to improve with each step. A constant improvement mindset is just that – constant. The work on improving the processes never ends. But there is a world of difference between working on automating and improving the processes rather than working manually.
Process Automation sounds like a buzzword, but it brings real benefits. With the increasing pace of everything around us, it is the only way of getting ahead.
Start automating today. Some of your competitors already have. Do not let them reap the automation benefits before you do.