Nearly 84 percent of businesses rely on manual processes for key business operations throughout the work day.(1) These processes, while rooted in the comfort of familiarity, pose a grave risk to businesses seeking to improve efficiency and reduce human resource expenses. Fundamentally, manual processes arise organically as businesses encounter productivity bottlenecks and work until such time that demand outstrips the provided efficiency initially confirmed. Thus, it is essential to identify these potential hiccups in system operations and replace them with modern, automated, solutions before they decrease profit margins for the impacted division and the company as a whole.
Why are Manual Processes Counter-Productive?
“[The] reliance on excel[sic] and paper based systems for your workforce is prone to inefficiencies and errors… They can impact an organization’s ability to meet its compliance obligations…”
Andrew Dezius, Managing Partner APAC(2)
Manual processes are developed on an ad-hoc basis by members of a specific team, using metrics often derived from personal preferences and styles. Thus, they typically only work as long as the original team remains intact. The second an individual is promoted or leaves the company the risk of a complete destruction of a viable workflow process increases dramatically.
Imagine an employee developing a custom spreadsheet for tracking hours. It works well up until the moment that someone new has to track this vital metric. Then a single errant keypress and the accounting department is up in arms for the next fortnight. That is the risk inherent in maintaining manual processes.
How to Mitigate the Risks Assumed with Manual Processes
Stepping out from under the shadow of manual processes is a four step process, handling incrementally as the company becomes acquainted with modern automated tools.(3)
- Acknowledge the Inefficiency of Manual Processes – you need to be willing to spot that old practices are creating potential issues in the workplace.
- Determine Why the Manual Process Existed – to replace something, you need to understand its role. The manual process existed to solve a problem. By understanding what it is, the modern solution often becomes self-apparent.
- Evaluate Multiple Modern Solutions – automated solutions come in many flavors. Have a select team evaluate different possibilities and choose the most promising one with the full understanding that alternatives exist.
- Return to Step 3 on a Regular Basis – technology changes. Embrace the change by reviewing new potential solutions on a regular basis.
The Benefits of Automation
“In an age where ‘product’ is no longer the end goal and ‘service’ is the new standard, financial service providers need to be able to deliver the high level of service that customers have come to expect. To stay ahead and deliver meaningful customer experiences, businesses need to be agile and ready to scale up or down as required.”
Marwan Kansoch – Cloud and Managed Services Solutions Architect(4)
Automation takes a business process out of a person’s hands and turns it over to a digital system that is available on demand at a fraction of the cost. This ability enables businesses the opportunity to reduce administrative expenses by a significant margin and employ “freelance” professionals on a more ad hoc basis than is currently employed in the modern marketplace.
To put it simply – it enables you to ensure the application of declared policy in a manner that is unbiased and consistent regardless of the amount of material inputted or the time frame in which it is submitted. From scheduling employees to ensuring the smooth transition of projects from one department to another, carefully implemented and monitored automated process can serve to maximize productivity while minimizing expense.
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