To executives outside of IT, automation might seem like a no-brainer.
After all, if, in theory, you already know what works in your company and know that machines can handle those processes faster, cheaper, and more reliably than humans, why not dive right in?
The fact that automation is so powerful is exactly why it pays to plan carefully. If automation glitches can surprise Amazon, Google, and Facebook, they can happen to any company. The more detailed your strategic consulting services planning is now, the fewer problems you’ll face later. Business automation consulting experts have witnessed far more of what works — and what might unexpectedly fail — than even the most experienced IT executives have seen.
More than half (54%) of companies say that their biggest challenge in automating workflows is mapping complex processes. So starting an automation project is the ideal time to leverage SaaS consulting to gain an outside perspective on those processes and workflows, your existing technologies, as well as your overall business goals. With a clearer understanding of how all these factors work together — how they might work better — you can lead your company to a far smarter, far more elegant, and far more robust implementation.
A well-conceived automation solution will deliver speed, scalability, and repeatability. But it also shifts dull and repetitive work to machines and frees your team to focus on the more critical and complex issues facing your business.
Avoiding employee burnout is more important than ever in the “Great Resignation.” Nearly half of employees are still looking for a new job or plan to soon. What’s more, by 2030, more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled because there aren’t enough skilled people to take them.
What questions should an expert consultation aim to answer ahead of an automation and integration project?
How does the business work today?
This step aims to understand how the business works today, map current workflows to learn what is being done, what triggers the process, and note all the inputs/steps required to complete the process successfully.
A good analysis should include:
- Overall state of the business, including organic growth plans and/or growth through acquisitions, as well as plans for future processes as the company grows
- Current workflows and capabilities
- Current system security and cyber risk
- Current pain points (e.g. “everything I do means switching between multiple screens”)
- Current technologies, toolsets, and platforms. This should include a review of your API program, current SaaS tools, and internal web apps, especially to understand how well they communicate and “play well together.”
How should the business work in the future?
Having gained an understanding of the current state of the business, the team can begin outlining potential improvements and efficiencies. When considering automation, it’s important to remember that if you automate dumb stuff, you’ll just do dumb stuff faster.
A good analysis should include:
- Potential processes to automate. As Ian Campbell of Nucleus Research points out, these processes should be “well-defined, highly repeatable, and relatively static.” Too many exceptions or changeable processes risk failures that can wipe out the cost savings.
- Proposed new workflows and capabilities that can be integrated across departments or the entire enterprise to avoid siloed efforts
- Potential new system security and cyber risks
- Possible technologies, toolsets, and platforms to consider, with the goal of avoiding technical debt
- Ability to enable future scalability
What is the proposed tech stack and implementation?
- Evaluate the pros and cons of different technologies
- Advise on DevOps best practices
- Define roles and responsibilities for implementation
What is the business case for change?
- Calculate savings (both from a cash flow and team utilization perspective) from automation over time
- Calculate value from new/improved capabilities
How Terazo can help
As part of every customer engagement, our strategic consulting services ensure we take the proper steps to assess your current system to evaluate its strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to improve. We do a root-cause analysis to illuminate possibilities.
Together our team has worked on dozens of automation and integration projects, so there are very few back-channel systems we haven’t encountered yet.
What’s more, since every backend system is unique, we take a workshop approach. Instead of starting with pre-conceived, cookie-cutter solutions, we work to thoroughly understand the very specific challenges you face and build with those realities in mind.
When all the right questions have been asked, you end up with a better answer. Smart automation and integration can enable users to navigate cloud-based apps and integrate them with one another. Often, these can often be combined into a “single pane of glass” or platform solution that provides a serious productivity boost.