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How to approach business automation

Strategic steps for long-term success
Monika Stando
Monika Stando
Marketing & Growth Lead
October 13
7 min

Unique business processes are what make a business great. Often, however, these processes are manual, driven by spreadsheets or policies that are passed from employee to employee and stored in their heads. These human-driven, manual, or complex process approaches are not scalable.

To keep up with the fast-changing environment and to scale quickly, business processes need to be free of redundant tasks, bottlenecks and repetitive activities. Optimal levels of operation are necessary, and modern technologies allow for agile automation of business processes. To automate successfully, a strategic approach and a broader view of what processes can be automated are needed. How to approach business automation? You can learn about it in the article.

Table of contents
What is the purpose of business process automation?
Keeping processes lean
Creating a successful business automation strategy
Cloud, new technologies, cyber security and UX

What is the purpose of business process automation?

The aim of business automation is to boost workflow in the organization. Manual processes in business are usually tedious tasks that are time-consuming and brain-dead. As a result, they generate a lot of loss of time, money, and opportunities to take advantage of the potential of the engaged employees.

The link between boredom and quitting is very clear. According to an Udemy study, employees who are not engaged at work are twice as likely to leave their jobs.

Workflow automation helps employees focus on important and strategic activities. It increases employee engagement and the organization’s level of competitiveness. However, for automation to truly benefit, it must be done with a strategic approach.

Keeping processes lean

Developers and DevOps teams for years have been automating repetitive work. But automation is too often overlooked by non-technical departments. Natural resistance to change, a lack of knowledge and a false view of the whole undertaking keep businesses away from seeking automation solutions.

Any process selected for automation should have tangible, long-term value. An additional benefit of automation is the ability to review whether business processes are still relevant to the core line of business. It’s easy to get stuck in a loop of repetitive tasks when you don’t have the knowledge about process automation. When auditing, it’s worth evaluating the usefulness of a process.

Development teams have done an excellent job over the years of deciding where to apply automation in their continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines. CI/CD automation can support the entire business process that flows across multiple teams. It saves time, is less tedious for developers and Quality Assurance, and is seen as one of the best practices for modern software development.

Creating a successful business automation strategy

Probably one of the biggest mistakes organizations make is the rush to automate the enterprise. As a result, the idea backfires. Taking action without planning will automatically be a waste of time and money.

Proper planning of process automation should take into account the company’s strategy, the needs of individual departments and technological capabilities. The entire process of well-executed business automation can be wrapped up in five steps.

#1. Start with a business strategy

Improving business continuity is an ongoing process. In its original sense, digital transformation meant moving processes from paper to a digital environment. The first IT systems, on which many companies still base their operations today, made it possible to streamline and standardize many business processes. However, advances in technology make it possible to update legacy, and implement modern solutions, including those based on automation, with some regularity.

It is rarely the case that automation is carried out comprehensively throughout the organization at the same time. Each department has grown at its own pace over the years, applying various ad hoc solutions and accelerating the productivity of its unit, thus contributing to the organization’s strategic goals. However, data needs flow. Information processed daily on the production line requires flows within the organization whether for accounting, billing, resource management, marketing, process optimization or integrity validation.

Check the case study: ERP integrated with POS to bring benefits to the organization

Enterprise automation projects with various stakeholders require significant effort and communication. It’s a good idea to take small steps. But an initial global focus is necessary to keep up with the company’s long-term strategy. The point is not to get buried in technological options.

Business automation is a consequence of progress

When approaching enterprise automation, you may find that several systems can be swapped for a more efficient one. An audit and preparation prior to automation allow validation of the technology stack, optimization of costs and a broader view of distributed systems. This enables the organization to create greater integrity and minimize frequent audits.

The challenge posed by a smart approach to business automation is to evaluate resources and apply off-the-shelf or custom solutions to achieve optimal utilization of enterprise resources. Performance, optimization and future-proofing are the three pillars of agile automation.

Strategy from task automation to end-to-end, comprehensive process automation enables flexible implementation in line with budgets and resources.

It requires considerable skill and awareness to determine which of the tasks and processes will provide the most value. Hence the boom in IT consulting services. Combining business processes with technologies requires a fusion of expertise at the enterprise and IT domain levels.

#2. Identify technological factors

The next step as a follow-up to a strategic view on the organization is to assess its technology stack. How many systems does the company use, what is the tech debt, whether licensing costs can be reduced, at what level does this technology (often distributed) become a blocker, what solutions will be optimal, if and how systems can be integrated, how to design data flow and automation, which technologies will be optimal.

Check out the business benefits of the cloud

When approaching automation, it is advisable to seek IT expert knowledge. It’s easy to get lost in the maze of diverse automation options for business. A fresh and conscious insight from an experienced IT partner can help you evaluate the overall implementation’s performance and future-proof it.

#3. Determine architecture

Today, the IT industry is moving towards modular software development. We have moved from monolithic applications to microservices and component-based architecture. It’s about the clever use of the stack with the capabilities of modern front-end technologies. Once again, IT consulting comes into play.

Case Study: Check how to achieve transparency
through the digitization of processes

Automation tools and solutions offer functionality that most people don’t know about. They involve orchestration, credential management, contextual document object recognition and retrieval.

#4. Don’t ignore the roadmap

Proper planning and risk assessment at an early stage, even if the implementation is fragmented, captures the timing and scope of the investment. A clear roadmap and flexible approach to business process automation help keep work agile.

The roadmap will always function as a reference and if kept simple, will allow for easy modification.

Learn more about what’s causing the delays in the product roadmap

#5. Implement the strategy

Start small, show value, continue integrity. This is the essence of implementing a business automation strategy. Whether it involves a single unit or the entire enterprise. Adequate planning, a broader view of the overall processes and maintaining consistency with the strategy determine the success of the entire venture.

Find out what business opportunities the Azure cloud offers

Consequent execution based on strategic thinking, smart approach, testing strategies, maintenance and future-proofing allows the company to increase its long-term efficiency.

Cloud, new technologies, cyber security and UX

The possibilities are many. It’s all about connecting technology with business goals. Consulting and entrusting your automation strategy to independent contractors is a good idea. Clear goals, budget, right technologies and toolsets, implementation timeline with risk evaluation, a flexible approach and employee-focus are the components of good strategic business automation.

A development team with a business approach driven by experience, best practices, up-to-date knowledge and a variety of skill sets such as business analysis, UI design, QA, and cloud solutions will allow your organization to get the most out of new technologies without overcomplicating the process.

A properly designed business automation strategy will provide ease of use, new functionality, scalability, compatibility and performance boost. If you’re looking to automate your organization’s business processes, learn more about our unique approach and get in touch to discuss the details!

Monika Stando
Monika Stando
Marketing & Growth Lead
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