Ask The Expert: The Power of Automation

Jonathan Anderson, managing director of razorblue Business Software discussing why and how businesses can benefit from automation.

Most companies have already made great strides in improving customer experience, maximising profitability and increasing efficiencies.

But many are still missing out on huge opportunities even with direct access to the most valuable asset available to them; data.

For organisations to recover and succeed in 2021 and beyond, business leaders must seriously consider integrating automation into their business operations and supply chains.

Neither are possible without first putting data at the centre of everything.

How to become data driven?

To be data driven, it is important to “tune out the noise”, no easy feat given the sheer volume of data available to you.

After years of collecting, storing, analysing, and reconfiguring troves of information, it’s hard to know where to start with cleansing, managing, maintaining and analysing.

As a priority, you need to recognise what is business-critical data, identifying and separating financial, marketing, consumer, and master data.

Then look at how this data can help you, what trends you can identify, what forecasts you can create, what success looks like and where the gaps are.

Why automate?

Digitalising mundane, manual tasks means that resource and time can be reallocated and remain focused on the important and human-centric roles such as relationship-building or creative tasks.

Automation is not about cutting jobs, it’s about getting the most out of your workforce, increasing productivity and reliability.

Automating operations ensures that essential tasks are not forgotten or run out of sequence, that data input is correct, and that risk of human-error is eliminated.

improving efficiency and streamlining processes.

How to get started?

  1. Start small – if you’re still at or near the starting line, looking at your entire pipeline is inevitably daunting.

So, begin with the low-skilled tasks that gobble up time and resource. Mundane, repetitive administrative tasks are a great early candidate for automation.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the easiest and cheapest cognitive technology to implement and can bring quick and high ROI. Examples include help with updating customer files with address changes or service additions.

Products such as Microsoft’s Power Automate are particularly useful for automating simpler tasks, such as document approvals, timesheets, and holiday requests.

Starting small also gives you and your workforce time to adjust and grow trust in automation.

  1. Look at the bigger picture – it’s vital to have a long-term strategy in place with the intention of driving sustainable change.

Embedding automation into your processes and supply chains is a journey, you must identify priorities and create a detailed roadmap before taking the plunge.

Misconstrued automation creates as much new manual work as it eliminates and often this comes from unrealistic expectations.

It’s vital that you treat automation as a long-term investment, target tasks that add significant value to the business.

  1. Don’t waste money – automation can play an instrumental role in your business growth, but only if used and implemented correctly and with purpose.

The marketplace is saturated with off-the-shelf automation tools, but many are flawed with poor error handling capabilities and fragility.

If you are looking to automate critical tasks or processes with several components, bespoke ERP solutions would be better suited.

Regardless, it’s always best to get expert advice and guidance from software experts. They will work with you to identify a long-term strategy with realistic goals and offer options to suit your organisation’s specific needs and budgets.

Get in touch with razorblue’s business software team today to find out how we have supported businesses like yours in adopting automation to drive growth and productivity, improve efficiency and enhance customer experience and trust.