Despite all of the advantages of office automation, many organizations hesitate to take the first step. Where should you start on your digital journey? How do you choose which process to automate first? What are some best practices for designing your process? Will there be disruption of tasks that are necessary to keep your organization running?
In this blog post, we offer 12 guidelines to enable you to launch a successful digital journey.
12 automation best practices for taking the next step
- Identify which manual processes you would like to automate by implementing a document management system.
- Evaluate how automating these operational processes will improve response times to internal and customer requests, save administrative costs, improve collaboration among staff and departments, or enhance the customer experience. This will help you build a business case for your digitization efforts.
- Find out who oversees the processes you want to automate and seek their endorsement.
- If you have no existing automated processes, pick one department to start in. Accounts Payable and Human Resources are good choices because their manual processes are usually well-defined. Be careful not to get locked in by purchasing a single-point solution such as a line-of-business system that only handles the needs of one department.
- Once you've chosen a process to automate, analyze how information is funneled into it. How do the documents and data come into the process from a email, physical mail, phone calls, web forms or paper documents or a combination of two or more formats? Each point of entry offers you the opportunity to intelligently capture information so it’s searchable and usable in related business processes.
- Assess where process slowdowns happen and find out why these bottlenecks occur.
- Identify how your process could integrate with other software in your technology infrastructure.
- Look for ways to extend capture, access and approval processes beyond the office walls by using mobile and cloud applications.
- Gather feedback from process participants, review it and begin to design your automated process.
- Once your process is almost ready to implement, create a test system. Then test early and often. Resolve outstanding issues and demonstrate progress in regular review meetings. You should also begin training IT administrators and power users.
- Roll out automated process and go live. Now you can celebrate and share your success.
- Establish a continuous improvement program with periodic reviews to refine your initial process design. When a digitization project ends, it should be the beginning of an ongoing process improvement practice that looks for ways to improve upon the foundation you have set.
Every journey starts with a first step, and the digital journey is no exception. Get started today!