The first step was locking down your annual strategy. Now that you’ve rolled it out to your team don’t let inefficiencies get in the way of execution. By automating the right processes, you can make sure that your team isn’t wasting valuable time in the wrong places.

Now that you’ve defined and kicked off your strategy for the year, it’s time to take a look at your team’s operational efficiency. Where are you getting bogged down? What are the biggest pain points in your processes? Through our work helping leading organizations tackle their hardest revenue growth challenges, we regularly find that manual steps are the ones that cause our clients the most frustration. When exploring opportunities for automation, our Process Automation Selector (available here) can help inform your decision.

 

 

Download the Process Automation Selector Here.

 

And for anyone still putting the finishing touches on your annual plan, be sure to take a look at this helpful article.

 

When it comes to process automation, it can be tempting to automate every manual process that your team executes. But often, that’s neither feasible nor optimal. Whether internal or external to your team, developers are almost always fielding far more requests than can be fit into upcoming development cycles or sprints. As such, you’ll have to make some tough decisions about where you focus your development efforts.

 

Time and again, we see across our clients that smart automation decisions can lead to substantial amounts of incremental revenue growth through increased team efficiency. So how to know where to go next? When deciding what to automate and what to keep manual, consider the following key factors for each process under consideration.

 

Five Questions to Ask Before Making Any Decision About Automation:

 

  1. Repeatability
    • Does your process follow a clear set of business rules that reliably repeat with each iteration? Complexity and branching logic trees won’t usually cause problems. But processes that require interpretation will stop automation in its tracks. If your team makes qualitative decisions and interprets the best course of action based on ambiguous factors, automation likely isn’t the right way to go. But if you can write a manual that gives step-by-step instructions on how to accomplish the task at hand without fail, you might have a good candidate for process automation.

       

  2. Execution Effort and Frequency
    • How long does it take to execute your process manually? And how often does your team run through this process? Separately, these data points don’t tell the whole story. But together, they form an essential factor in any automation decision. For example, your team might spend hours or days executing a process, but if this effort is only performed once a year or once per quarter, automation might not yield much value. Conversely, automation of a process that only takes a few minutes to perform but is executed dozens or hundreds of times per day by a similar number of team members can yield monumental value.

       

  3. Development Effort
    • This factor is self-explanatory. Without knowing the level of effort required to develop the solution that you are envisioning, it’s nearly impossible to make a well-informed automation decision. This usually requires a quick consultation with your development resource based on an initial set of requirements for what you’d like to see built.

       

  4. Beneficiaries of Automation
    • Who will benefit from an automated process? Automation that might seem undesirable based upon the other factors mentioned above can suddenly become much more compelling if it impacts high-cost resources. At times, the opposite can also be true. Keeping this factor in mind can help you make the best decision for your team.

       

  5. Error Opportunity and Risk
    • How likely is it that, when performed manually, your process will result in an error? And how big of a risk does such an error pose to your business? Automation can be a powerful tool to eliminate errors and reduce risk. In some cases, the impacts of a mistake can be so profound that this factor can outweigh many of the others when deciding on automation.

       

Quick Recap: How To Optimize Your Automation Efforts

 

In summary, the first step is to validate the repeatability of your process. From there, assess the expected impact of automation by considering the frequency and level of effort required to perform the process manually. Also, look closely at the specific teams that will be impacted by automation, the level of development effort, and the opportunity for risk mitigation associated with automatic your process. By considering these factors, you’ll be able to make decisions that boost the efficiency of your team and help you make your number.

 

Remember to leverage our Process Automation Selector (available here) to help you along the way. And if you find yourself looking to apply industry best practices for revenue growth within your organization, consider scheduling a visit to our Studio in Dallas, Texas, to accelerate your impact.

 

Download the Process Automation Selector Here.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Evan Graff

Leads key strategic initiatives designed to enhance operational efficiency and position SBI for rapid growth.

As Director of Operations, Evan works across all of SBI’s functional groups to ensure that operational efficiency is maximized. Evan positions our teams for rapid growth through the design and implementation of standardized, scalable processes and governance programs that enable us to meet the ever-changing demands of our business. Evan also drives KPI development and automation across our firm.

 

In previous roles, Evan has led program governance for an array of areas, including enterprise-level strategic initiatives, new product and platform rollouts, key client launches, and the creation and deployment of metrics & reporting frameworks across the marketing, financial services, and legal industries.

 

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