We answer: Common questions about automation

15 Nov, 2019

How do you know when it is worth automating a specific process? And what are the most common mistakes companies make when they are trying to automate an existing process? We have met two of our talented business consultants, Emma Nilsson and Henrik Lillhage, who help us answer common questions about automation.

What processes can be automated?

 – You can more or less automate all processes, whether you work within sales, marketing or service. Many processes in these areas contain many manual and repetitive steps, where there is great potential for automation. All digital data can be automated, says Emma while Henrik continues:

  Automation projects often become a cost issue. Therefore, it is very important that you start by asking yourself which processes that are worthy of automation. What processes do you have with repetitive tasks performed in large volumes? What is it within your business that takes a lot of time? How many FTE (full-time employee) would you save if you automated that part of your business? Can you reduce costs with the help of automation? Well, then it is worth trying to automate the process.

Can you give some examples of specific processes that can be automated?

  Sales processes can be automated, for example in the aftermarket. There we have helped customers like Ferronordics Machines to start using data, that their vehicles and machines are sending out to create service activities as needed. For example, it may be that a machine needs to be replaced or that a service action needs to be performed, Emma explains and continues:

 – It is also possible to automate administrative processes that require a great deal of effort because they are not digital. A common example of an administrative process that in many cases both needs to be digitized and automated is application processes at banks. They need to be simplified and improved for both clients and administrators.

 – Talking about specific processes is difficult. As mentioned, you can automate most things in customer communication, information management and FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), says Henrik.

What positive effects can a company achieve through automation?

  A company can achieve many positive effects with the help of automation. For example, they can increase their conversion rate and availability, make big time savings and make time for process and quality development, also set clear routines and guidelines for different processes within the organization. Automation also makes it easier to secure and comply with legal requirements (applies to companies within banking and finance). Another positive effect that automation can bring is that it creates added value for your employees because they can spend time on things they want to do, says Henrik.

What should you consider when you are automating a process?

– There are a lot of things to consider when automating a specific process, Emma says, and continues:

  1. Start by considering which processes are suitable for automation. How much should you automate? Is it a whole process or a specific part?
  2. When you know how much to automate, it is important to define what conditions you have for an automation project. Consider:
    • What technical conditions do you have? What kind of system support do you have today? Are your processes digital or analog?
    • What are the legal aspects? How do you ensure that you comply with all regulations?
    • Do you have organizational conditions? Who should secure the requirements and what resources are available internally?
  3. Once you have mapped out the processes to be automated and the conditions that exist – make sure you take the help of an external expert to create a complete picture of the project and what challenges you face.
  4. Before you begin your automation project, it is wise to involve the entire team to securing, so that you do not miss anything important. The consequences can be big if the automation initiative is a failure – therefore it is important to have a good monitoring and a clear view of who is doing what.
  5. During an automation project, it is important to be open to that things can happen that you have not planned for – you will not have thought of everything, no matter how much you try to plan.
  6. Once your automation project is up and running – you need to find ways to measure and monitor the results of your automation initiative.
  7. Do not forget to appoint a process owner who can receive suggestions and develop the process further.

What are the common mistakes companies make when they are trying to automate their existing processes?

  There are many mistakes that companies make when they are trying to automate their existing processes, but to give examples of some, I would say that many companies forget to define and prioritize what should be done in an automation initiative. Many times, they also try to automate complex processes and sometimes they even forget to appoint a management organization that can continue to work with the process and quality development. Once you have started an automation initiative you must not forget to ask yourself: How can we redesign this process? And how can we develop it further? It is very important, says Henrik before continuing:

  Another example is that companies do not use the help of external experts to create a whole picture of the project and what challenges they face. So, my best tip for anyone thinking of starting an automation project is to take help from external experts – who know what they can and are doing.

 

Do you want to know more about automation? Contact us!

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