Automation as a Service – Turn Process and Productivity Into Scale and Profitability (Hard ROI Dollars)

There are many ways to go about automating various processes in a company of any size. Larger firms are more open to these processes not just because they can afford it but also because their scale of operations forces them to get newer, quicker and more reliable resources in place.

Now, automation is all about enhancing productivity by working with the employees, not instead of them. One of the biggest factors to take into account in that process is team morale.

You want to put processes in place that ease the workload of your employees. That might require a little bit of restructuring. In a world where a four-day week is being said to be more useful than a six-day week, automation can help you with restructuring and boosting morale. That, as they say, is two birds with one stone.

For example, retrieving data from different systems is a rather tedious task. This is the perfect task to be divided between personnel and bots, especially in terms of customer service. When you deploy an app to do that for you, the employee can use the time the bot spends retrieving that information on improving customer relationships.

Of course, they will need to be trained beforehand for a smooth experience. And this can also promote an environment of learning which pumps fresh energy into the ecosystem.

As long as your employees feel that artificial intelligence is making their life easy and they have time to focus on professional growth, they feel like they are in good hands. That’s a win-win for everyone.

What It Entails

Automation is not just about comfort. It is a huge revenue driver when any organization can identify the right process to automate. It increases profits by way of freeing resources that can be put to better use. There are many next-generation technologies that depend on automation and with good reason.

Of course, there are still two major challenges in the way. One is the challenge of the time it takes to deploy any of these services and two is the infrastructure needed to support the running and maintenance of the services.

These are primarily the factors that are stopping many companies from relying entirely on artificial intelligence. And that’s valid because it is a complex and sometimes an expensive process. In fact, there are plenty of opportunities in the process of deploying these services for things to go wrong due to human error.

But here’s how it works. When an organization starts to grow, you need more resources to meet the needs of the increased demand. You need speed and efficiency to meet those demands and maintain the reputation of your brand.

This means you need to take note of missed opportunities and minimize them. Now, when you are trying to keep up with growing needs and concentrate human resources on innovation, the requirement is intelligent automation solutions that can keep up with your expectations. What better solution than automation to maintain quality and speed? When it comes to IT services, there are two ways to go about this.

First is service assurance which means your services will be made available at all times or however long you need them to be. This is done by combining app-based service monitoring and using analytics in real time to recognize and diffuse problems.

The second is service automation. This is the process of identifying everyday tasks that can be repeated without having to innovate. So, if it is the same task that needs to be done repeatedly, it can be automated and that humanpower can be diverted elsewhere. It also reduces the margin of human error.

If you look at the big picture, this kind of automation seems like a small step but it shifts the focus from maintenance to innovation.

Advantages of Automating Business Processes as a Service

If you are an organization—no matter the scale of operations—there are a certain bunch of tasks that can always be automated. If you have already been thinking about it, here’s a small list of basic results that you can expect to see once you deploy the services.

  • You can monitor processes in real time without having to worry about human errors. You can also do the monitoring without interrupting anyone’s work and fix them on the go.
  • You will get very precise performance updates that will help you avoid mistakes and also plan ahead.
  • Overall, there will be more transparency in the processes which means better visibility. And it improves accountability without any human-to-human complications.
  • There will be an increase in productivity thanks to better access. That is possible because you are likely to store all your automation tools in a cloud-based central database that can be accessed from anywhere at any time.
  • You will be able to do better allocation of your humanpower because the mundane tasks will all be taken care of and even automated out. So, you can use your thinking individuals to do actual thinking which is also exciting for them. It improves morale too.
  • Your growing business will continue to remain efficient thanks to business process automation. And with time, you can take the next step without worrying about the basic building blocks being disturbed.
  • In the long run, turnaround time will decrease, your need to attend to manual requests and your dependency on manual monitoring will go considerably down.

The Value of Humanpower

People are the most important part of any organization. A lot of work goes into finding and hiring the right people for a job. And you have to do it all within a budget. That’s not the toughest thing to do on the planet, but it takes effort and you want results.

People are also your most expensive resource in a company. If you are lucky enough to have a hardworking and dedicated team, you have an excellent shot at getting places. But there is a limit to how much they can do. A good leader recognizes every individual’s bandwidth and tries to make the most of it without exhausting them.

Now, if your employees are spending too much time managing menial tasks, it is not only frustrating for them but a waste of their time and abilities. When you switch to automation, you give them the time they need to put their creative energy to good use instead of burning out getting mundane tasks done.

They get the chance to pitch and execute some of their original ideas, which will tell you about their capabilities. That can only be good for the company. This is easily done with automation and you get tangible results too.

Here are some examples of what you can expect when automation is done right:

  1. Dramatically reduce human error by up to 100%
  2. Make up to 40 percent more room for employees to pay attention to customer outcomes
  3. Reduce processing costs from 30 to 80 percent
  4. Decrease cycle times by 40 percent or more

And that’s just a few examples of what you can get from automation, especially in a time of crisis.

Things to Keep in Mind after Deploying Automation Services

The first step is to sign up for these services. But that is just the beginning of a few more steps that you need to incorporate into the system for smooth flow. Let’s talk about the best practices that will help you make the best of automation.

  • It’s not enough to deploy the tools. You need to actually incorporate them in processes.
  • Help those who have been working around that step in the process by training them and consider the fact that they will need an adjustment period to acclimatize to the changes.
  • Be clear about the tasks that are being assigned to personnel and bots. Make sure someone is responsible for its smooth flow during the initial days.
  • Do frequent and random checks on the success of the execution.
  • Define the goals you want to achieve when you add automation to a business process. It will help you avoid mistakes and give you clarity when you make changes in the future.
  • Have short- and long-term deployment phases and wait patiently for the results. Change does not happen overnight.
  • If there is a readymade solution for a problem, take a chance.

If You’re a Small Company…

There is enough data to indicate that even smaller organizations can benefit greatly from automation. In fact, the sooner the better. This way, you can put processes in place before you grow. It is a great way to add structure to the organization before it blows up into a multinational.

Now, research has shown the smaller companies are not as inclined towards artificial intelligence as big corporations. If it is because of budget constraints, that is understandable.

But there are so many reasonably priced services and tools even for a small firm. And the success rate among those who can accommodate these tools is higher than some of those big companies. That is an actual figure.

In a survey, 65 percent of respondents from smaller firms have said they have had success with AI. Whereas the larger companies have reported 55 percent success. That’s because the markers of success are similar irrespective of the scale of operations.

But the smaller companies have an edge because they don’t have to get a huge assembly line of employees to get used to newer techniques. Smaller companies also have the advantage of shifting their entire process to an automation program with a smaller budget.

The thing smaller firms must keep an eye out for is that their goals must be tangible. Chances are, you have a long way to go, which means you will be scaling your operations more frequently than the larger counterparts.

This means, if you don’t make long-term plans or neglect taking them into account, no matter how much automation is done, you will not be able to get ahead of the curve.

How to Use Analytics to Your Advantage

If you are looking towards fully integrated automation services, you need to be able to make the best of the analytics you will get, like performance reports. The aim of these services is to power your IT operations with tools that will be available on all platforms from desktops, laptops to mobile devices.

You will also have access to cloud apps that will keep you in sync with what’s happening in a particular automated process at any given time. That’s the access factor we talked about.

Analytics is also a great way to keep the results of a specific task predictable. Because you have the capability to monitor them at all times, unlike human resources. You can also make sure the services meet the bar you set for them from applications to infrastructure needs.

You can set a higher bar with asset and performance management. When you deploy sophisticated tools, the execution is flawless. You can predict problems and resolve them before any actual damage is done.

You also deploy self-healing technologies. Automation tools come up with solutions that help keep the operations reliable when you make changes to your execution strategies.

Predictive analysis is another key component of automation. You have the ability to reduce service outages because you can predict the increase or decrease of resources to manage client needs or to manage the changes in your budget.

When you are ready to deliver services, you can make rapid changes, which is the speed element mentioned earlier in the benefits section. You have scalable solutions that can be easily hooked up with the cloud.

This accelerates meeting client and team requests. Some tools can run tests on available resources and give you an estimate of your delivery time. This keeps you in the game while giving you the ability to develop a competitive edge.

With automation services, you also reduce risk, which means more peace of mind in an otherwise volatile environment. Once again, this increases the efficiency of your operations. The analytics will be specific to your business and the tools will work towards incorporating the feedback you receive from the data at hand.

You can create newer tools and also put methodologies in place by devising templates. This is easily done by integrating the existing infrastructure ecosystem with automated services for better results.

You can calculate costs of infrastructure and operations thanks to consumption-based pricing. You can adopt the pay-as-you-go pricing technique to manage those costs and avoid wastage. It will give your business the agility it needs.

How to Use Automation to Your Advantage

The best thing about automation is that not a lot of it is intuitive. But to get the best results, there are a few fundamentals to keep in mind. Without that, you might be able to get work done, but you won’t have the edge you need to beat out the competition. And some of these are often forgotten or neglected, even by companies that have been using automation for a long time.

Make It a Strategic Priority

To make the most of automation, you must make it a strategic priority. That, surveys have shown, can lead to twice the amount of success compared to others who haven’t adopted it yet. It is critical to have a strategy for automation and integrate it with the rest of the strategies.

Companies have said in the past that one of the reasons they are pursuing automation tools is because their strategic planning processes saw four times more success than the competition.

They have also said that making it a priority has been one of their most accomplished achievements. The idea is to have cost savings in the long term and stay competitive in the market. It also helps some of them address any concerns they might have had about effectively running the business.

Successful companies always prioritize automation across the board—this happens five times more than their counterparts who are not as successful. There’s a hint.

Use the Models to Enable Scaling

A lot of companies have made automation a part of at least one of their key departments: IT, finance and customer service. These are critical aspects of any organization and artificial intelligence can help untangle complex transactions.

This removes any performance roadblocks that the employees might have been dealing with, which enables you to make flexible scaling plans for the future. These departments also work closely with all the other branches and giving them a clear structure is intrinsic to running your business successfully.

In fact, in any organization, employees will tell you that effective coordination between these units has the most impact on long-term outcomes.

Integrate People with Tech

Automation isn’t a standalone entity. You need to integrate it with the people working around the process. Surveys have shown that artificial intelligence is successful only if you use it to cover skill gaps. This can be done in three ways:

  1. Bring in automation that fills the gaps that your employees can’t. This way, the workload is divided. It also makes them feel supported and not replaced, which is critical to maintaining morale.
  2. Companies that successfully gather experts before adding automation to the process have a better shot at improving productivity. Use experts to train the staff who will be interacting with the platforms.
  3. Communication when bringing in these new processes is at the heart of success. When done right, it has seven times more impact than without effective formal communication.

The Future of Automation Is Here and Looking Good

Now, automation is not a different department in one organization. It is a part of all branches of the organization and that’s how it should be looked at. Integration across the board is the best way to make the most of artificial intelligence, whether that is one step in a process or the entire process as a part of a larger chain.

It is also important to remember that integration with personnel is the only way to make it work for you. For those who want to be market leaders, titans of industry, it is critical to act on it and capitalize on this power of technology.

Everything you read so far is great. But if you are still not clear on where to begin, it’s quite simple. Figure out the most important business processes in your organization. Remember that automation is here to support your endeavors and not replace personnel.

With that in mind, create a strategy specifically for automation. In this context, treat it as a separate department that is going to merge with all the departments that involve the processes you have identified. You can take a cue from our previous mention of finance, IT and customer service.

Let’s look at an example here. If you are dealing with healthcare, you will find that claims processing is a critical process for your customers. When you view this part of the operations with critical thinking, you’ll notice that there are many steps in this process that only require those in charge to be accurate.

It’s a great place to systematically start automation. You can use those data entry personnel to oversee the processes. This way, you will eliminate human error but also have a backup in case there is a need for attention to a special case. That’s just one thought.

Organizations must also determine what skills the team members possess before zeroing in on any automation services. Otherwise, you will fall into redundancies and before you know it, there will be more problems to solve.

When you deploy automation services, you will need to create new roles and goals or modify existing ones. This means you need to take another look at talent management, team by team and department by department, wherever you plan to execute these tools and services. It might also call for reskilling, which means you will need to do some consultations with experts.

Parting Thoughts

And finally, the ultimate integration of human with machine. Automation provides teams with a great opportunity to collaborate. Whether it is customer service or analytics or business structure design, there are many elements that require people with a wide range of skills to come together.

So, you might need someone from IT to explain things to the good folks in finance. And this kind of deployment, no matter how small, is not accomplished from start to finish in a day. This means it spawns an environment of collaboration and cooperation.

It is also a great opportunity for teams that would have otherwise never interacted to get to know each other and discuss ideas. That’s a breeding ground for exciting new projects.

In some situations, you might also need third-party collaborators which brings in additional talent to the fold. And that’s what success by combining humanpower with the intelligence of a machine is all about.

A2K Partners