Posts

Once you have decided which processes you’d like to automate, it is time to build your application. There are several ways to do this: you can deliver it all at once or break down the process into short time intervals, completing small steps every two or three weeks. No matter which route is right for you, at some point you will be ready to launch the first version.

In this blog, we’ll tell you how to go about it – and we’ll explain what’s next.

Going live: from first version to perfection

It is recommended that you launch the first version for a small number of preferred customers or suppliers who are thoroughly familiar with your company culture. By processing their feedback, you will eliminate major hurdles and inconveniences.

After doing so, you can make the application available to a larger group of users that continues to grow over time. Such a ‘phased launch’ is always preferred, as it avoids peak loads (which may occur when you receive all user feedback at once) and allows your organization to gradually switch to a new way of working.

Next steps: one idea leads to another

You are likely to notice potential connections to other systems during the development and launching process. Of course, you can try to incorporate these immediately, but often, it is wise to ensure that the application runs properly first.

Once it does, employees – even those who were initially skeptical about automation – will actually experience the benefits. For example, your application probably speeds up efficiency and eliminates the need for completing tedious manual tasks.

As a result, they will be on board with it. They might even come up with some fresh ideas for your next automation steps. And in this stage, it is easier to start new initiatives or make adjustments to your existing application, which is now running smoothly.

In conclusion, we’d like to repeat what we’ve said throughout this blog series: start small, so you’re able to show tangible results quickly. When selecting a process that will benefit from automation, opt for a department that adopts a welcoming attitude towards it.The rest of the organization will follow once you can show them the advantages of your application in practice!

Now that you’ve discovered your own processes and have a clear idea of processes that can benefit from automation, it is time to roll up your sleeves and get something tangible off the ground. In other words, it is time to automate your business. Answer these four questions and you’re off into the right direction.

1. Can you sketch an overall picture of your processes?

Many people don’t know much about company processes that extend beyond their own department. However, it is paramount to familiarize yourself with processes at the overarching organizational level. Only then, you will know who should do what at which time in a process.

Once you’ve acquired this information, you need to focus on the so-called happy flow: What do things look like when everything is going the way it should? Don’t focus on incidents that hardly ever occur. The effort and money spent on automating these incidents can cost you more than it saves.

Users are often happy with less and simpler options if it results in easier use of the system. Ask your stakeholders the question ‘how often does this occur’ and ‘how much time does it cost you to solve this by hand’, to really estimate the value of automating the step.

2. Why do people perform certain actions (and should you rethink these)?

If a process is carried out in a certain way ‘because that’s the way we’ve always done it,’ you might be holding on to an inefficient flow of actions. Try to track down and rethink such processes early on, because translating analogue or ineffective processes to digital versions is often a waste of time and money.

Sometimes, it is wise to eliminate certain steps or reverse the order in which things are done. A question like ‘Wouldn’t it be more efficient to do this much earlier in the process’ can be very helpful in optimizing the process. Be flexible in this regard, so you can truly benefit from automation.

3. What are your acceptance criteria?

What should the outcome of a process look like? As with the first question, it is important to leave out any details and focus on the big picture. Define a broad yet crisp-and-clear answer to this question to ensure that everyone involved understands the ultimate goal.

Of course, to achieve this, several smaller goals can be defined, for instance for each of the stakeholders.

4. Can you create a simple design to test it with stakeholders?

To explain your plan to all the stakeholders, break down your process into five to six steps (at most) and summarize it on a single page.  At this point, however, you don’t know what your application will look like, so make simple, tangible sketches to add further details to the steps.

This will allow stakeholders and/or key users to visualize the process and ask for any clarifications right away. For example, ask why a form field or button is at a certain place or stage in the application blue print. Not only is this a great way to test the waters with them, you also involve them from the very start, ensuring that they’re on board.

Last time, we wrote that discovering processes is an essential first step if you want to embrace automation. Once you’ve gone through the three-step plan that we described, you’re ready to answer the next question: Which processes will benefit from automation?

In this blog, we have listed five processes that commonly require automation!

1. Repetitive tasks

Every company has to deal with tasks that are repetitive in nature. For example, you probably have an on boarding process in place for new employees. This might encompass a variety of actions, such as setting up a new email account, creating a personnel file, and providing a new employee with company regulations.

If you create an application that takes care of, or reminds people of all these steps, including a check-mark list for must-do tasks, you will work more efficiently and save a tremendous amount of time.

2. Increased insight for customers and suppliers

Whether you’d like to increase the efficiency of your customer ordering process or your contact with suppliers, automation provides the answer. You can build virtually everything: from a web portal which always shows customers the current status of their shipment to an application providing suppliers with all parcel requirements (including codes and dimensions), which smoothly leads them through the shipment process.

3. Manual data entry work

Optimizing your customer service is always a good idea. If customers email you certain information, it is very inefficient and time consuming to manually enter it into your own system. It would make much more sense to provide customers with login data so they can register their questions, remarks, or complaints in a system, which allows you to respond faster.

Another benefit of this method, is that you automatically have a log of old items and it’s exchangeable between employees.

4. Focusing on people’s interests

Your employees are more likely to cooperate on automation projects if their own interests are involved. So try to find processes that would probably concern them, such as the submission of receipts for work-related expenses.

If you tell them to upload all receipts to your system by the end of the month so you can process these more easily and pay them sooner, it is a win-win situation: they will get paid on time and your accounting department saves time.

5. Deadline-sensitive processes

Wherever deadlines must be met, automation comes in handy. Suppose your quoting process involves multiple people who need to approve a variety of things, from price to delivery time.

As you don’t want to keep the customer waiting for a quote, you can make an application that sets approval deadlines and sends automatic reminders. This makes it much easier to meet your customer’s expectations!

Automation: you’ve heard all about it, and as a twenty-first century company, you want to embrace it. But where to start? In this blog series, we will guide you through the process step by step. First things first: you need to discover the processes in your organization. We’ve put together a three-step to-do list for you!

1. Organize a knowledge exchange meeting with key users

It’s important to sit down and ask yourself what you truly want to achieve with automation. Many decision-makers struggle with this question, because they are not the ones who encounter process-related issues on the work floor.

Therefore, you should organize a knowledge exchange meeting with key users on a regular basis – for example, every four to six weeks. These key users are employees who have been with the company for a while and who thoroughly understand the workings of the organization.

Not only will this allow you to obtain the required information on processes; it will also show employees how automation will help them improve their own processes and prevent problems elsewhere in the organization.

Another plus is that employees will not feel overlooked, which makes it easier to create support for change within the company.

2. Keep a list with points for improvement

There are always tedious or repetitive manual tasks that employees wish a computer could do. Additionally, a new product or service may require the implementation of a brand-new process. List all the points for improvement you can find and set completion deadlines for them, so you can move on to step 3.

3. Prioritize based on several factors

Now that you’ve mapped out all processes that will benefit from automation, you need to prioritize some and postpone others. When determining the value of automation, consider two factors: urgency and difficulty. If automating a process would save you a tremendous amount of time, do it.

However, you should always give precedence to an easy-to-automate process. If changing it is simple and saves a little time, give priority to it over a highly time-saving, but very time-consuming process.

Keep in mind that you are trying to improve customer and/or employee satisfaction. If you can show people the pros of change instantly and approach this change step by step, they will adopt a more welcoming attitude towards it.

Want to step up your game? Listen to fresh voices!

Of course, you need to listen carefully to seasoned employees who know your organization from the inside out. However, you should also take fresh voices into account. New employees often provide a unique look at your processes. They are not stuck in old habits and may spot things that no one else has thought about. Acknowledge their value by allowing them to share their perspective.

Wondering about the next step? We will tell you all about it in part 2!

Simply put, digitization comprises the processing of analogue actions in a system. It is often confused with automation – which, in fact, takes digitization to a whole different level by performing procedures automatically. Basically, digitization is merely a first step – and only after that, things tend to get really interesting. Therefore, it’s a shame that automation is often overlooked!

From digitization to automation: an example

From rental agreements to phone contracts: a company usually enters all its legal paperwork into one system, eliminating traditional binders and increasing control as well as efficiency. But all that digitally available information is just lying there. How can you make it work to your advantage?

Suppose your company is a cell phone provider. All customer contracts have been entered into the system. Now, automation would allow you to indicate that you’d like to receive a notification of all contracts that will expire in three months. As a result, you will be able to automatically send out periodic renewal offers to customers that may be thinking about switching to your competitor – in due time and without a lot of effort.

Today, companies that utilize automation in such smart ways are the ones that perform best in terms of growth and revenue. Not surprising, as simplifying time-consuming processes is a profitable endeavor.

How about your organization?

Would you like to make automation work for your company, too? There’s no need to bring in all kinds of experts – like consultants and programmers – that drag you through months of preparatory work. Triggre abridges the process, allowing you to automate at your own pace. Just register and carry out your first idea. With Triggre, you can take it step by step.

Say, it’s three months later and automation is working great for you. Now, you’d like to automate a range of tasks – for example, in an online customer portal, leading customers seamlessly through all the steps in a purchasing process, making it a breeze to buy your products. To this end, you can create a flow that can be used to perform all tasks from start to finish without the need for additional explanatory information. Such user-friendly solutions can be realized in no time using Triggre.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t stop after you’ve digitized. Automate. Start today!