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Utilizing business automation to maximise investment returns

We need to understand the benefits of automating certain processes over others.

A fully automated production line at Volkswagen's Wolfsburg headquarters. The German car giant has launched a programme to retrain workers as software developers. — © AFP
A fully automated production line at Volkswagen's Wolfsburg headquarters. The German car giant has launched a programme to retrain workers as software developers. — © AFP

With technology constantly evolving and automation becoming a vital part of business task management, it can be challenging for smaller businesses to assess what to do or how to implement their plans.  

Automation is a ‘catch all’ term for technology applications where human input is minimized.

Presenting some options to Digital Journal is Head of Strategic Marketing, Rob Mead at Gnatta. Mead discusses some essential insights on the details of automation, especially in terms of taking care of multiple repetitive tasks in different parts of the business unit.

According to Mead, many businesses can save time and money through the application of automation as part of the wider digital transformation strategy.

Mead states: “If you need to take care of multiple repetitive tasks, then automation is an obvious solution – especially if your most talented employees have been slogging their way through endless busywork.”

There are also benefits to be made in terms of human resources, as Mead points out: “By taking care of the more mundane aspects of their day, it gives these team members the freedom to focus on things that are a little more engaging.”

The range of applications is also extensive. According to Mead: “With automation available for sales, customer care and marketing to name but a few, where can you decide to add automation to your business?”

In terms of making the correct choices, Mead advises: “You need to understand the benefits of automating certain processes over others. For instance, you might start by identifying the workflows that are complicated, repetitive or time-consuming.”

Mead also recommends seeking a consensus: “Ask your employees for insights here. After all, they’re the people who’ll be most well-versed with such tasks.”

Further with personnel, Mead says: “It’s a good idea to get a hold on how your staff interact with any systems or apps. If any employee has to bridge the gap between a pair of software platforms, then surely the human element can be automated? There really shouldn’t be a need for them to interfere in this process. Similarly, if there are departments that communicate with each other or access information from the same sources on a routine basis, then consider whether automation makes such actions easier for all the involved departments.”

Any automation project needs to be sold to a corporate board. Here Mead advises: “Don’t forget to calculate the return on investment of any planned automation either. Estimating the time/cost savings of automating a process, and then comparing the time/cost it will take to then actually automate that process is well worth doing before you make the investment. And remember, be sure to prioritise the processes that will save the most time and give you the biggest return on investment.”

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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