Get the right toolsets. A successful and ongoing programme of automation is dependent on easy access to the right tools. Many IT services applications have automation tools built into them, but it might be necessary to invest in a good automation toolset. Evaluate the various packages through the lens of what your automation goals are.
Train your staff. Having acquired the right toolset, it is essential also to train your staff not only to use it, but also in the principles of automation. The expense of the application and the training are upfront expenses that will taper off over time—but the benefits will continue to mount up. In the long run, these costs will be more than justified by a reduced salary bill thanks to the more productive use of existing resources.
Focus on change management. Humans’ innate conservatism combined with fears about job security can work against the success of an automation project. Innovations will not deliver the expected benefits if they are not used. Project teams should, therefore, not omit the essential business of demonstrating the benefits of automation and training users. Business owners will have more time to focus on improving the business and refining strategy, while employees will be liberated from mundane tasks and given the space to take on more valuable work and acquire more skills.
Initiate a culture of continuous improvement. By freeing up staff time, automation provides an excellent starting point for a new culture of continuous improvement. Make it clear that the idea is not to reduce head count, but rather to provide more opportunity for existing staff to take on more demanding jobs, gain skills and better their career prospects
Look at the business as a whole. Automating business processes can deliver huge benefits, but organisations should also take an integrated approach. For example, automating the sales process can make it much more efficient in all sorts of ways, but the automation should bridge systems and business processes so that once a sale is made, the same information is pulled into the billing and CRM systems without the need to capture this information again. This approach eliminates silos and improves the customer experience, thus helping create a better company all round.
Automation is all about efficiency, but it should not stop there.