From UX to scalability and security, choose a platform that makes the most sense for your business.
Implementing and realizing the benefits of automation is high on the CEO agenda. Especially as COVID-19 is changing the world of work. Now, an estimated 40% of companies world-wide are increasing their use of automation as a response to the outbreak.
The competitive landscape across all industries continues to grow, and customer demand is at an all-time high. In both the B2C and B2B spaces, if you fail to provide exactly what a customer wants—and when they want it—one of your competitors certainly will.
Automating routine, tedious work has emerged as one of the most effective ways to streamline processes, empower your workforce, keep costs low, and sharpen your company’s competitive edge.
So often though, choosing the right automation provider and understanding where and how to apply automation within your business can be confusing—so much so that some companies continue down the path of status quo.
But with the right evaluation, you can choose the platform that makes the most sense for your business. Let’s explore seven factors to consider before implementing automation.
Your company’s automation needs
Just about every organization can benefit from automation, but it’s easier to choose a platform when you have a deep understanding of which processes and departments most need it.
A good place to start is surveying your employees to identify which department processes are most error-prone, where employees’ time isn’t maximized, and where the largest concentration of bottlenecks are. This may be document creation or processing, email communication, invoice approval, or the myriad other tasks necessary to keep your company’s productivity on track.
Comparing your organization’s needs to a service provider’s slate of capabilities can help you best identify which type of solution is needed, and which automation provider will help solve your problems.
User-friendly experience and design
Platforms that involve significant coding require tech-minded employees—often from your IT department. If your IT team is small, or if they have a heavy backlog of work, this can stall implementation, preventing you from realizing the ROI as quickly as you otherwise could.
When looking to deploy and scale automation across teams, departments and branches, look for a platform that has a strong UX, requires little to no coding, and is easy for any employee to use, regardless of their tech-savviness. This allows your automations to ramp up more quickly, and enables department experts, who have the deepest understanding of manual process issues, to solve problems more quickly.
Automation streamlines your processes and ultimately empowers your growth. But as you grow, the value of those automations are only as good as their ability to expand in larger volume and to other parts of your business.
A cloud-based, flexible platform that services both your industry (the vertical), as well as the many processes that comprise it (the horizontal), is ideal to deliver on this need, compared to its on-prem, point-solution counterpart. Your automations should contour to your particular organization, as well as the specific needs that require improvement, not the other way around.
A robust set of integrations
As your company grows, often times you rely on the legacy processes, systems and software that made sense when they were implemented, but no longer serve your business as you’ve grown. Ripping out those systems and replacing them takes a lot of time, requires a large upfront cost, and ROI is not immediately realized.
The ideal automation platform should integrate with the systems that you use currently, like email, marketing automation, your sales database, project management tools, and a slew of others. This way, you can maintain the infrastructure that you’ve already invested in, but it’s now newly optimized with the help of automation technology.
Keeping your company’s sensitive data safe and secure should be a top priority, and it should be a top priority for your automation provider as well. As data theft becomes more ubiquitous, it’s important to maintain a reliable system of defense and protection.
As you weigh your options, make sure your chosen service provider has all necessary systems in place to protect data storage, prevent loss or leakage, and retain all appropriate compliance certifications. This is particularly important around financial data and confidential company details.
Artificial intelligence/machine learning
One of the many benefits of using an intelligent automation platform is not only that it streamlines your current processes, but can predict future needs, and forecast ways to make your processes even smarter.
Using both structured and unstructured text and data, this can include automatically consolidating and generating accurate customer data, making data-driven decisions around approvals and exceptions, and identifying risks.
As more data is entered into an automation platform with AI and machine learning capabilities, the more it understands about your processes and your business. From there, you gain actionable insights to make better decisions for your organization.
According to Accenture, poor customer service is one of the top reasons consumers switch service providers.
When you incorporate third-party vendors into your business, technical issues on their end equal technical issues on your end. And with customer demand at an all-time high, few companies can afford a failure to deliver on those customer needs.
When choosing an automation provider, make sure that they see you not simply as a customer, but as a partner in your journey toward digital transformation. Make note of your technical support needs, how the service provider manages product updates, bug fixes, and the company’s overall approach to product improvement and evolution.