Founder of Predikly, a data innovation company, and venture partner with Z Nation Lab, a startup accelerator.
When certain individuals hear the word “automation,” it strikes fear in their hearts at the potential threat of losing jobs. In my perspective, automation should be leveraged to flip the switch. Let’s say the existing workforce is 70% tactical and 30% analytical, but automation, specifically robotic process automation, can be used to have a workforce that’s 70% analytical and 30% tactical.
All companies want to invest in the betterment of their workforce — as it’s the most expensive asset within any organization — but there is a prevalent myth that needs to be debunked: RPA is an expensive technology that only larger organizations with millions of dollars in revenue can afford.
From the past few months, our company has been focusing on the SMB (small to medium-sized businesses) sector, and we have seen firsthand how it’s possible for SMBs to derive the benefits of RPA. Larger organizations have the benefit of being able to attract more talent and retain desired employees, which is something that SMBs struggle with. As a result, SMBs are always looking for ways to get work done efficiently.
One of our customers is in the home automation space. They were struggling with the inefficiency of the processes where order taking from the customer to entering into their services system was laborious and error-prone. After automating these processes, the company not only increased its overall efficiency but also improved the customer experience.
Here are some of the steps that this company took that your SMB can take as well if it’s looking to implement RPA:
• Rather than building silo automation just for one process, take a holistic approach of looking at how automation can benefit your entire organization. This means everyone from the C-suite on down to those on the lowest level of the food chain should be involved in understanding the RPA process.
• Evaluate your company’s biggest pain points and conduct thorough research to see if RPA can adequately address them.
• Perform an extensive discovery session with whomever you decide to help you with your RPA implementation. Make sure they are able to dentify any gaps in your existing processes.
• Run an ROI calculation for every process, so that you know the exact monetary details.
• Run your bots in production in manual mode so that the performance of the bot can be monitored. For every error or nuance that’s noted, a bot can be changed for the sake of improvement.
It’s important to note that the aforementioned customer, which has fewer than 60 employees, is not a multimillion- or multibillion-dollar organization. From a revenue perspective, they generated less than $10 million in revenue and were still able to embark on the automation journey.
Here are a few more considerations before beginning your RPA journey:
• Look for business processes that involve inputting large volumes of data, such as filling up very long forms.
• Find processes that take a long time to perform and may need to be run for extended hours.
• Have a well-defined set of rule-based steps.
• Have well-defined and structured input and output variables.
Hopefully this article helped reveal that any size of organization can use and benefit from automation. You don’t need to be a multimillion-dollar company or have thousands of employees to realize the benefits of this technology.
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