We all want our lives made easier right?
Automation makes everything so much easier,
But is it really worth the investment? What makes it actually work? What are the considerations we need before we implement automations? And what do we need to make them work?
Why invest in automation in the first place?
Many entrepreneurs and professionals often find themselves grappling with the decision of whether to invest in integration and automation tools or stick to manual processes.
While it might seem cost-effective to rely on a trusty notebook, there's a lot more to consider when it comes to the scalability and efficiency of how you work.
When you implement automation, tasks become repetitive and consistently follow the programmed workflow, minimizing the chance of human error.
Because we all make mistakes! (Yes, even me…)
While initial setup might have its challenges, the long-term gains in terms of streamlined processes and reduced errors make it a worthwhile investment.
Selecting the right tools for automation involves understanding the value they bring to your specific tasks - I’ve tested over 300 tools and you can read about them in my other articles.
Start by questioning who is currently handling the task, how long it takes, and how frequently it occurs. This analysis will help you gauge whether the task is worth automating. Additionally, consider the cost of the automation tool versus the cost of having an employee carry out the task manually.
A thoughtful evaluation will guide you in choosing the right tools that align with your business goals.
3 P’s of automation - purpose process people
Before you even consider automating think about:
❓what is the purpose of this automation?
❓what is it supposed to accomplish?
❓am I supposed to be saving time?
❓am I supposed to be saving money?
❓am I supposed to be saving human error?
❓am I supposed to be just making data entry easier?
❓am I doing it for scalability?
Understanding the purpose is what's going to give you that extra leverage and help you understand what the automation needs to look like, what the different steps are, and what tools to use.
The purpose is where everything starts.
But purpose alone isn't enough.
The second P is process.
The process is made up of the steps in the workflow, and those lead to the steps in the automation.
Once you understand your workflow you can easily identify the steps you want to automate.
Automations are triggered by an action. The trigger is defined in the workflow
What triggers the automation? What causes that first step in the automation to go boom?
Is it placing a file somewhere?
Is it somebody marking a task complete?
Is it money being deposited in a bank?
Is it someone signing up?
One action can trigger the next action so you have one trigger and that can lead to any sequence of events.
The third and maybe the most important P of them all.
What's most important is to understand is who will be using this process and how will they be using it?
You have to understand who the people that are using the automation are and what may be stopping them from using it. Get their buy in.
Let’s say a company has one employee who doesn't like to check that he's completed a task. He could just forget, or he just replies to emails that he’s completed a task, but he won't go into the project management tool and click that the task is complete.
This could be a huge problem because completing a task could trigger other tasks. It could start or stop a lot of automations, it could not release dependencies, a very simple automation but it is an automation.
If you want your automations to work, that trigger, even if it's a manual process, that first manual process has to work.
If you don’t accommodate for this employee, it could hurt your entire workflow.
The people need to be onboard!
Without people automation doesn’t work.
Timing Your Automation Journey
Knowing when to automate is equally critical.
Begin by identifying areas where manual processes may lead to errors or inefficiencies.
Evaluate the cost of not automating and leaving tasks in the hands of employees or yourself. If a task is repetitive, time-consuming, and prone to errors, it's a strong indicator that automation could significantly benefit your workflow.
Consider your business's growth stage.
If you're just starting, focus on understanding your processes before diving into automation.
As your business matures and you identify repeatable patterns, you'll be better equipped to decide when to introduce automation for improved scalability and efficiency.
Plan for the future
Investing in the right integration and automation tools can revolutionize the way your business operates.
While there may be upfront costs and challenges in implementation, the long-term benefits far outweigh them.
Automation not only enhances efficiency but also frees up valuable time, allowing you to focus on tasks that contribute directly to your business's success.
Setting up the right systems can help you scale your business smoother. It may seem a huge investment now, but doing it while you have the bandwidth makes it easier than putting the pieces in place when your back is to the wall.
In conclusion, the integration of automation tools is not just a trend but a strategic move toward ensuring smoother operations, better customer service, and overall business growth.
So, as you sip your coffee and contemplate your next business move, consider the untapped potential that automation holds for your success.