Should You Automate?

March 1, 2013

Volano creates business software centering around workflow. We also consult with our customers about their business processes. From time to time, we get the question – what processes should we automate? This article speaks to that question directly:

“[Track] employee time to determine if employees are spending large amounts of time on processes that can be easily automated. In cases such as these, implementing an automated system often provides a high return on investment by decreasing time spent on tedious activities while freeing employees to work on other tasks.”

An example of this – one of our clients was responsible for creating highly sensitive, data driven personalized emails. Each email had a secure zip attachment that would contain any prescribed number of over 15 forms that had to be personally addressed, populated with unique information, and contained data driven tables. It would have been near impossible to create these manually – not to mention the turn-around-time was measured in hours.

In this case, the need for accuracy and speed demanded automation.

Care and feeding

The article also points out that modern systems need “regular monitoring and updates.” We couldn’t agree more. A friend of mine named Charlie Crabb coined a term for this. He calls it “care and feeding.” As your business changes, your business processes change; and your systems must change too. These changes can cause downstream processes to break – therefore monitoring and updates are a necessity.

Obviously this requires budget. The alternative is to be rigid and stagnant and resist the change process; in the short run this is less expensive. However we often find that stagnant business are soon left behind by their more progressive counterparts.