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How to Automate Processes to Achieve Digital Transformation

Business.com / Computers / Last Modified: July 5, 2018
Image credit: Zapp2Photo/Shutterstock

Digital transformation is a huge opportunity – perhaps the greatest of the next three years. Automating your day-to-day business processes should be the first step in your journey. If you haven’t yet invested in a workflow automation platform, consider making it a top priority.

By now, you’ve likely heard of digital transformation, but what is it and how can it benefit your business? 

Digital transformation is not any one project, but rather a combination of many things to “instill” digital into your organization at every point – from servicing customers on mobile to incorporating them into product design and production to digitizing your processes to free up time for your employees.

Ultimately, it’s about organizational change at every level for the purpose of improving performance through digital technologies.

Process automation is foundational

Think about it. Companies are mobilizing in the Cloud and taking advantage of lower costs and increased velocity to roll out products and offerings at record speeds. With digital at the heart of their processes, they’re collecting and analyzing vast amounts of data and using technologies like artificial intelligence to conduct an array of operations. Inventions like driverless cars and robotic surgeons, which used to be the stuff of sci-fi movies, are already here.

If your everyday operations rely on paper or email, how can you hope to survive, let alone compete?

Five things that will help you in automating your processes

1. Don’t wait!

Automation is already here and the speed of change is only accelerating. The worst thing you can do is nothing.

I recommend you start with a small core process – something that your employees do fairly often that’s not too complex – and generate a quick success story by effectively utilizing technology. You’ll learn from the experience and the rest of the organization will start buying into the benefits of implementing automation aggressively.

2. Prioritize a world-class user experience design (UX) on mobile

When choosing a solution, focus on usability as your No. 1 priority. Your users (employees, customers, students and patients) are also consumers who use mobile apps every single day. A slick, modern user experience is critical.

World-class UX isn’t purely about look and feel. Of course, it does have to look good, but the interface also needs to be fast, consistent (buttons in the same place, similar labels etc.), use sensible terminology and provide self-service help.

3. Deploy a modern IT framework and empower your citizen developers

Process automation is not easy and there are plenty of barriers, including the UX alluded to above, complex routing for approvals, business rules, dynamic behavior, integration and so on. Mobile apps can be enormously time-consuming and expensive. Even if you have the time and money, it’s practically impossible to find people with the needed skills.

I recommend you investigate alternatives. Visual, low-code platforms offer a modern IT framework based on progressive web technologies. They do not require the same skill set as native app development, and citizen developers with existing skill sets in your organization can drag and drop, setup basic routing and use visual wizards for dynamic forms and integration. These platforms allow development to be spread out among more people in the organization thus addressing one of the most important barriers to process automation.

4. Embrace the Cloud

According to Harvard Business Review, businesses now clearly see the advantages of the cloud. It has become the de-facto repository for collecting data and analyzing it using new technologies such as machine learning. Businesses are now even designing and building products jointly with their customers using cloud-based systems.

Powerful workflow automation solutions are available in the Cloud. These systems securely integrate with your cloud and on-premise business systems. Cloud vendors invest far more in the security, penetration testing, disaster recovery and scalability than the average IT department. Using cloud, you can try new things and respond much faster to customer needs. The advantages are simply too great.

5. Reinvest savings into digital

Automating everyday workflows offers massive potential for cost reduction. We’re talking about the potential for 50 percent efficiency gains in addition to allowing employees to focus on work that matters – satisfying customers and helping patients – rather than chasing paperwork.

If you’re smart, you’ll take those savings and reinvest them right back into digital initiatives so you can continue to reap the benefits of digital transformation. Failure to do so is like imposing a tax on the future of your business.

Still not sure?

With change happening at a rapid pace, do you just want to make incremental changes to your business? Will your employees still use innefective manual processes?

The technology exists to increase efficiencies. At the heart of all this is process automation. You owe it to yourself to understand your processes, automate and connect them across the various informational and departmental silos in your organization using a modern, low-code platform. Digitize your processes now and you too can reap massive benefits from automation.

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