I’m currently remodeling my home
and I keep seeing parallels with my work life and the ways that I help businesses use hyperautomation to transform how they operate.
In both our business and our personal lives, it’s often easier to find reasons not to do something than finding a reason to start. Overturning the status quo to transform our lives can seem like a daunting prospect with too many risks. Believe me when I say there are mornings when I look at the dust and mess of my building work and wish I’d never started!
With both fixing a house and improving business operations, you need to start with the people and the processes – not the technology. Builders don’t talk to their customers about cement formulations. Good builders listen to what you want to achieve – more space, more light, more warmth – and then offer ways of getting there.
A successful house renovation, or hyperautomation project, needs careful planning and design, the right people and skills, the best tools and materials and – no matter how hard you try to avoid it – coping with a certain amount of responsive change as the project progresses.
Automation starts with people and processes
Businesses, and especially business leaders, always believe that their work processes are streamlined and linear. But the truth, especially for the people who actually do the work, is that business processes are messy, manual things filled with workarounds.
They rarely follow the handbook – in the uncommon event that a handbook even exists. If you genuinely follow a business process step by step, you will almost certainly find a point that relies on Kathy from Accounts who knows how a PO actually gets transferred to the relevant finance system.
This kind of workaround works perfectly until Kathy takes a holiday, leaves her role, or has work that takes her focus away from the support you need. Even worse is when your boss asks for an outline of trends within your invoices for the quarter, and you realize that getting hold of the data, analyzing it and providing sensible recommendations will take you at least another three months.
Even when processes start out with the best intentions and seem logical and well-designed, over time steps get added and speedbumps are inadvertently introduced.
Focus on real pain points
So how should we approach these things? Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way which should help you achieve next level success…
Begin your hyperautomation journey with a discovery phase and identify a key part of the business to focus on. But remember: just like house building, every decision has upstream and downstream implications. Installing a new bathroom requires a water supply and pipes. If you only automate your finance department without considering connections and interfaces to other parts of the business, you will see limited benefits.
Maybe I’ve been working in automation for too long, but I actually find this one of the most rewarding parts of any project. You get to really dig into how a business works and look at it from a fresh point of view.
But you have to start somewhere. And it’s best to start small to demonstrate the benefits not just to senior managers but also to the people doing the work. Automation can sound very much like a way of cutting staff numbers unless it is properly communicated. But really it’s just a tool to make people more productive. You wouldn’t want your builder cutting all the wood for your project with just a handsaw – you’d surely question why they weren’t using an electric one. The best automation projects should leave staff happier, with more time to focus on more valuable, and valued, work.
Find a single use case. Ideally, something which is time-consuming, and repetitive. If it is something especially irritating and painful to complete because of the amount of manual work required, then even better! Repetitive tasks do not bring satisfaction to people’s working lives. And if your team have to repeat such tasks hundreds of times a week then errors (and frustration) will inevitably creep in.
Automating repetitive tasks will be faster and more accurate. And if you can successfully solve that single process, you can provide evidence to stakeholders about the value of a wider program of transformation through hyperautomation.
Pushing the business forward
Putting your people first also means thinking about the cultural changes involved in transformation. Get automation right and you can give your people back the time they need to focus on the strategic objectives of the business – now and in the future.
Harmonious, connected, and hyperautomated workflows combined with your human talent supercharges your business – it’s what we call the power of Human+. At Roboyo we work with companies and organizations all over the world to make this happen.
And remember, just like fixing up your house, the best time to start is now. Book a meeting with one of my colleagues today.
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