The automation journey should begin by identifying the mundane, repetitive processes that are essential to a business but that consume valuable staff time.
“Every business has them: dull, repetitive tasks that need to be done but that can be soul-destroying and negatively affect the morale of those performing them,” says Peter Clarke, CEO of LanDynamix. “Tasks of this nature lend themselves to automation very readily, and the benefits can be quite significant in terms of employee engagement, accuracy and, ultimately, business efficiency.”
Clarke says a second category of process that is a prime candidate for automation are the mundane and repetitious jobs that nevertheless require extreme accuracy. An example of such a chore is the manual transfer of data relating to a client’s consumption of a service to the billing system. Any inaccuracies can set in motion a series of costly remediation actions by the financial department and also result in reputational damage.
A third category includes jobs that are highly labour-intensive. For example, IT departments need to deliver software patches to a large number of machines on a regular basis. Doing so manually consumes large tracts of time for technical staff – time that could be spent doing other work that adds greater business value. By contrast, automated patch management takes virtually no human time and runs smoothly in the background, with exceptions being flagged for manual intervention.
Clarke says that LanDynamix itself is well down the road towards automation, particularly with regards to billing, sales, and IT, with IT already highly automated. He illustrates the benefits of automation through the regular month-end task of billing customers for use of the LanDynamix voice platform.
“The manual capture of clients’ use of the voice platform onto the billing system took an average of 90 minutes every month and to make matters worse this was on the busiest day for the accounts department. Removing that 90-minute chore from accounting produced significant positive outcomes – firstly it eliminated the real potential for human error, caused by pressure, and secondly it added productive time into the work picture, time that could be much better spent on more important business tasks.
“As with most automation projects, there was a relatively small upfront cost to create the link between two separate systems, but it was easy to justify and does not need to be incurred again,” he says.
“We have found that by showing clients what we have done as a company provides a powerful way of communicating what we can do for them. It opens their eyes to the potential of automation and what it offers in terms of efficiency gains; intelligent use of staff time and ultimately the growth of their business.”