There’s no doubt that automation and digitization play a huge role in today’s business. If done right, automated and digitized processes can be a great source of competitive advantage. Automation has impacted how we approach our business processes and what our customers expect. How to automate and digitize your business so that it brings the most benefits to your company? And how to face and overcome the challenges that go with it? Let’s dive in.
Automation vs. Digitization
First, let’s break down those two terms. Today, they go hand in hand and most companies strive for both at the same time, but it’s important to know the difference so that you are aware of what you’re actually doing. Automation is improving existing processes with the use of technology to improve predictability, eliminate errors and increase productivity. While some may argue that digitization is not different, but according to Gartner, digitization’s goal is to“create and deliver new value to customers, not just to improve what is already being done or offered.”. Think about it this way: replacing a school grades register with a tablet is not yet digitization. It sure is automation, because the data is now easier to access, track and analyze. However, if you were to create a Machine Learning algorithm which would predict the student’s progress and recommend additional tasks based on the input from the tablet, now that’s digitization. This way, when automation and digitization work together, it’s not only easier for teachers and parents to navigate the education system, they also get additional insights and recommendations.
Why Is It Important?
If you’re noticing that something at your company is not working, it will be easy for you to understand how automation and digitization can help. But what if all is well, up and running? Why should you change anything? The thing is, automation and digitization make things not only work well but also work better than before. And that’s precisely why you should invest your resources into it. To bring new value, new customers, innovation and increased productivity into your business. Not convinced? Here’s the top reasons why automation and digitization are important:
Running a business is not free or cheap. Business operations are costly and can eat up a huge chunk of your budget. With that said, automation and digitization can help optimize your budget and reduce those costs. You will save time, need less employees and be more productive — all this combined is the key to saving money. There’s also a matter of insurance. You need to be prepared for a disaster and errors. With automated and digitized processes, the risk of a catastrophe occuring is much lower and there’s less room for error which will further help you optimize your costs.
Another thing that’s important to every business owner and executive is risk. Specifically, minimizing the risk. When you automate your processes, there’s less room for error. You eliminate the possibility of misunderstanding or documents getting misplaced. Your employees will have a guideline to follow and it will be easier for them to perform their tasks. It also provides a great deal of stability and predictability, which is crucial for estimations and managing business in today’s ever changing environment.
Improve Customer Experience
One of the biggest advantages of automating and digitizing your processes is increased customer experience. If you, for example, automate your customer service processes and enhance them with AI chatbots, your customers will get answers much quicker and your team will be able to focus on the most pressing issues. Besides that, customers nowadays expect companies to be digital and to be present online. But not only that, there’s a certain level you need to be at when it comes to your digital presence. Digitizing your assets can be a great way to cater to a wider audience and bring in new customers.
When all the tasks are clearly defined, can be easily accessed (for example, through cloud) and every employee has a clear view of what they need to do — productivity goes up. Automation eliminates small inefficiencies out of your employees’ day. It eliminates misunderstandings and miscommunications and, therefore, eliminates wasted time.
The Challenges Of Business Automation And Digitization
With all the benefits, automation and digitization can bring some challenges as well. It is important to know about them, before you go deep into changing and enhancing your processes. So, what can you face? First of all, it’s necessary to really understand your existing system. You need to analyze it to see where you can and need to automate or what can and needs to be digitized. Otherwise, it’s pointless. It’s easy to get lost in everything that’s going on but in order for automation and digitization to work, you need to think it through. And, especially for complex companies, it can be a major challenge.
Another obstacle that might come your way is integrating the automated, digitized processes into your business. After all, people don’t like change that much. The key here is to approach it step-by-step and don’t push it too quickly. If you don’t introduce new processes properly, they will do you more harm than good and end up being a chaotic mess. Also, think about how the automated and digitized processes fit into other operations in your business. It all needs to stay consistent and go together well. Think about information inputs and outputs and make sure data doesn’t get lost along the process.
One of the biggest challenges, though, is creating automated, digitized processes that are simple and flexible at the same time. After all, the whole point of automation and digitization is to improve productivity and make your work easier. That’s why, when creating new processes, you need to consider how they might change in the future, what surprises might await in the future, where your company will go. It is all important, because a process that doesn’t adapt to change is worthless, will decrease productivity in the long run and slows down your company’s growth.
If you need help with creating automated and digitized business processes — contact our team. We will help you analyze your existing structure and provide you with recommendations on how to improve it with the use of digital tools.