In business, simplifying processes and reducing costs are key to growth and success. Identifying areas that require improvement and streamlining is a skill that not everyone has. The easiest way to make processes simpler and more cost-effective is through automation.
Automation can work well for businesses in most sectors and is a scalable solution with several benefits. With modern technological advances changing the way businesses function, it’s key to understand how automation can help you avoid falling behind your competitors.
With such advanced automation software now available, it’s important to understand what you should and shouldn’t automate. Automation isn’t appropriate in many scenarios, but in others, it can be key to a company’s growth.
What Is Automation?
If you’re unfamiliar with the term “automation”; it essentially means using software to perform tasks for your business automatically. You can use automation for mundane tasks that a human would usually perform manually.
Benefits of Automation
Automating your processes comes with many benefits. These can include cutting costs associated with employees that would normally be responsible for the tasks. Aside from wages, employee benefits and holidays can take up a considerable amount of your budget. You’ll also free up employees to take care of more important tasks, meaning productivity will increase.
Automation can also help to eliminate human error. Human error can cost your company, and the more mundane the task, the more likely mistakes are to happen. Another attribute of automation is its ability to promote consistency and fairness. This is especially important for processes that rely on rule-based or data orientated decisions.
What You Can Automate
There are many tasks that you can streamline with the use of automation software. These include tasks that involve making specific decisions. Some examples of these include:
Tasks that rely on operational decisions include anything that happens regularly throughout the daily operation of your business. These decisions are usually predictable and can include decisions based on statistical analysis or predictive algorithms.
Rule Orientated Decisions
Automated rule-based decisions are important in industries or sectors that require consistency. Tasks that fall under this category include those relating to pricing, processing claims, customer relations, or anything that is subject to regulation.
Automating rule-orientated decisions is especially effective for any task that requires an explanation of the reasoning or process behind it in the future.
Some tasks require decisions that are based on data instead of rules. For example, the outcome of a task may differ depending on the data available. An example of this would be an insurance claim where the outcome changes as the case progresses and additional data becomes available.
What You Can’t Automate
Although automation is a brilliant solution for many tasks, there are some that can suffer without human intervention. These include:
Creative-based decisions should not be something that you automate. Creativity requires human thinking and no form of AI or automation software can replicate this. Any attempt to automate a creative-based task is likely to fail.
Automation works best with tasks that follow rule-based or data-based decisions. This is because the outcomes are somewhat predictable. Any decision that relies on too many variables should be the responsibility of employees.
As with creativity, emotion is something that AI and automation cannot replicate. Any decision that requires empathy, discretion, emotion, or experience is a job for your employees.
This includes any HR decisions, certain customer relations tasks requiring human responses, and any tasks that result in disciplinary action or the termination of employees.
Automation can be a great tool for most businesses. There are many benefits that include an increase in productivity, cost-cutting, and consistency. Automation is an extremely powerful tool that you should be sure to use appropriately. A balance of automation and human intervention is best in most situations.