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Automation: A New Method for a Proven Success Strategy

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Automation: A New Method for a Proven Success Strategy

A high-level basic overview on the benefits of automation.

· DevOps Zone
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Enterprises are continuously in search of new success strategies for them to gain the competitive advantage in all aspects of the business. Currently, the new and latest approach is automation.

We know that businesses are trying to achieve greater productivity and efficiency by automating mundane IT tasks, but how exactly does automation contribute towards increased efficiency?

Advantages Of Using An Automated Tool

As long as it’s with the right tools, automation can reap major benefits across all aspects of an organization. According to a recent study conducted by a leading trade journal, some of the primary benefits of automation (the most cited benefits) were reduction of cost, increase in productivity, reliability, availability, and improvement in performance.

For example, job scheduling software can increase the batch throughput by automating the production batch scheduling. Earlier, the efficiency of computer throughput depended on how fast the operators could reset switches on the console. Through automation, the computer does not have to sit idle while waiting for the operator to release the next job. Thus, the organization gets to save a great deal on time and money by eliminating the time lag between jobs and also by reducing the need for operator intervention. In the long run, it can help to save hours off processes, allowing managers to get more work done.

Another major advantage of automation is reliability. Let’s face it, manual tasks and operations, be it in any industry, can be boring, redundant, and highly error-prone. But once you eliminate the “manual” part, a major part of batch processing errors can be avoided. Automation ensures that jobs are performed exactly as per schedule and that no jobs are forgotten or out of sequence. It also makes sure that jobs are completed successfully and any special processing is done if and when required.

When you take the case of MSPs (Managed Service Providers) too, technicians that do not use automation tools and rely exclusively on manual tasks will be able to manage about 125 devices, this can go up to 300 or even 500 devices, if an automation tool is used. This in turn allows MSPs to utilize fewer truck rolls to resolve issues, improve the quality of service to customers, increase technician utilization rates and reduce cost of service delivery.

Thus automation basically helps to improve the overall performance of an organization by taking care of individual processes and operations.

How to Achieve Consistent Results Using Repeated Scalable Processes?

Differentiation has been one of the main source of competitive advantage for business enterprises, and differentiation through repeated scalable processes helps earn more money by performing valuable tasks that are not only different from their competitors, but also in a way that helps serve customers better. Together with the right kind of automation, it can do wonders for your company profits.

Even in the long run, as differentiation starts wearing out more than “reinvention”, it is repeated processes that guarantee success. Most companies that have kept building on their major differentiation, going from one strength to the next, have infact become successful. They have learned how to deliver and sustain their differentiation point over time through continuous adaptations to changes in the business environment, rather than reinventing themselves periodically.

Hence, it has been proved by a number of successful companies that a repeated and scalable business model, supported by the right automation tools, can be applied to new products and service as well, over and over again to generate sustained growth.

Automating the Right Process Is the Way to Go

According to a study last year by the Forrester team, Workforce automation generated an ROI of 176% in just three years.

Now, not all companies may yield the same result through automation. It largely depends on the industry and the business model. Most importantly, it is all about automating the right processes. The question here is not whether to automate, but rather, what should be automated.

You don’t have to go 100% paperless altogether right away. As a matter of fact, the first step in automation does not involve automating any part of your process. It is about identifying the processes that need automation, so that the entire workflow becomes smoother. Not all your processes even need to be automated. 

This is the reason why documented best practices and automated processes go together like a hand in a glove. In fact, identifying the right processes to be automated forms the critical foundation to achieve breakthrough improvements in productivity, efficiency, as well as profitability. Once you’ve got the entire roadmap about what to automate figured out, with the help of best IT practices, you’re good to go.

Tip: Documenting all the process is extremely important as, if the top technician who coded the process leaves the company, and you come to a roadblock, you might not be able to figure out how to get back on track until a new technician is hired.

Trying to introduce a full automation program all at once can bring your entire workflow to a grinding halt, as it can be hard for employees to learn the new system. Besides, you might end up spending unnecessary time on automating tasks that are better left alone.

Why Traditional Approaches to Automation Are “Old School” and Ineffective

Traditional approaches to automation involved product specific workflows and “screen scraping”. While screen scraping was used to capture specific information on the web and placing them in fields on screen, product specific workflows meant that many products, especially large vendors like ERP, bundled workflow tools with their software.

These processes however, are not system agnostic, are unreliable, and often complicated to use. As they are product specific they cannot be easily deployed on a large scale and also need specialists for setup and maintenance.

Modern approaches of automation have evolved from these traditional methods, and are hence more comprehensive and reliable. They are enterprise scalable as well. IT finds modern approaches and tools to be low on the risk factor, low on complexity and non-disruptive as they are a result of an in-depth analysis of processes.

Thus automation is like the lock, holding the doors to smooth and flawless workflow processes throughout the organization, and automating the right processes is the key to open those doors.

A good knowledge of the processes and pain points in the process can enable you to automate the right processes and pave the way towards better productivity and more profits.

This article is co-authored by Bhagya, a technology enthusiast and passionate writer, works at Fingent Technology Solutions, a New York based custom software development company incorporated in 2003.

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Topics:
business advice ,technology innovations ,technologies ,automation tools

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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