Why Automate Business Processes?
They say good businesses are not run by people, but by systems. They go on to explain that in good efficient businesses, people run systems and the systems run the business. A system can be anything from a method of doing something, to a time and place of when and where the business process is carried out. The more you systemise your business the easier it is to predict and also it makes it easier when onboarding new people because the training aspect is much simpler. Some would even say it is easier to manage a system than people. Many businesses that do not automate or systemise their business processes struggle during change or growth, because of the chaos aspect. It is easier to document a system in operation than systems in people’s heads.
Let’s say John Bloggs every Monday pulls together data from three different sources and compiles a report which then gets fed into a software system which then gives some Management Information (MI) to the directors. When John Bloggs leaves or gets sick, the process stops because there is no system. Nobody knows how John was pulling the data, what additional steps he would make to format it, what hurdles he would jump over in doing that, and so on. Also, there is no resilience because John is the single point of failure.
Now let’s put a system into place. We first document the process, step-by-step of what John does, how he does it and finally when (the schedule). Now we have a documented system, we need to add some resilience, we need to train another person on this particular process, which will give us the resilience we need and eliminate the single-point-of-failure.
The final step is to add the new system to the general calendar or task list on a schedule and then tick it off as done every Monday morning. This is efficient and resilient. Now if the people concerned keep running and monitoring the system in place, the system will ensure the business is running smoothly.
Whilst the above example is a huge step forward from the chaos stage where there is no systems and no documentation and no knowledge of who does what, when and how. This approach does rely on people, and we all know that human resources are expensive, or scares in many cases. The challenge is always cutting costs which makes a business more competitive. And so how do you make a good business with good systems in place more competitive?
Software! Someone said “Automate or go home!”. Businesses that fail to automate their business processes find it more and more difficult to stay competitive because the human resources are expensive and are getting more and more expensive. Bespoke software solves that issue.
One of our customers had the requirement to collect a payments from their customers from distance. The process they had in place was to log into WorldPay, manually create a payment link, then email it to the customer. Afterwards, keep checking if the payment has been made by way of logging in again. When the payment has been made, then process the order. Logging in and creating the payment link and then checking every now and then, is estimated to take on average about 10 minutes per order of human resources costs.
We automated the process by giving the users a button to click, the software would then collect all the information from the internal system that it needed (costs, email address, etc.), it would then talk to the Stripe API, create the link automatically, then email it to the customer. Once the customer makes the payment, Stripe would then inform the internal system and the internal system would automatically progress the order through. 10 minutes per link has been reduced to about 10 – 30 seconds. If you time it by 100 links per day, then we have reduced 16.6 hours (2 full day’s work) to about half an hour. This is the power of automation. 2 days work reduced to 30 minutes or so. How much is that in salaries? How much is that per year? How many more orders could you make with the same human resources.
After we implemented the above automation, the feedback was “This is a huge improvement!”. Things like these are noticeable and companies who see the benefit and invest in such software automations are gaining the edge over their competitors.
Bespoke software development and support does cost. But in the end, it pays for itself and more. The future of any business does depend on its efficiency. Automating business processes through software is a no-brainer.
The advice is to go on a hunt within your business and find out which processes can be automated. If a person has to spend 3 hours to generate a report every Monday, then when your business doubles, it will likely take not 6 hours but 8. That is one person out of action one day a week when software can do it in seconds and on demand. Are human resources (the most expensive resources) being deployed efficiently?
Automation can be like salt; a little bit goes a long way. A car when it gets its oil changed it works better. A well-oiled machine works much better. Automation can be like oil to an engine. It makes your business engine work much smoother and better with less effort.
Here at Poole Software Limited, we specialise in Business Process Automation (BPA) through bespoke software development. We spend time with you to understand the challenges and then device innovative and modern software solutions to perfectly fit your business process. Every business is unique and that is where bespoke software comes in. Business Process Automation through bespoke software eliminates potential bottlenecks, time wasting and most importantly revenue. It will also eliminate human error which is very prevalent and much improve efficiency.
The upfront cost does put business owners off or cause procrastination, but taking a long-term view, it will cost more money in the long-run if not automating. Also, the sooner you start automating the better, because this is not an overnight task. It does take analysis, planning, development, implementation, testing, support. And once you start, do not stop there, but try to fine-tune the automations as you go along.
If you find people doing the same thing regularly in your business, ask yourself, “Could a computer do that?”, chances are, it could. Then call us.