Time is a precious asset. Nobody has enough of it, and we certainly can’t afford to fritter it away.
So why is it that so many businesses have yet to jump on board with automation?
Maybe it’s because most of us don’t realize just how much time we spend each day on menial tasks. Take a look at these stats from M-Files:
* Employees spend 20% to 40% of their time searching for documents.
* Professionals spend 50% of their time searching for information.
* It takes 18 minutes on average to locate a document.
* Companies lose $19,732 per information worker per year due to time wasted on document-related challenges.
And those statistics are just dealing with document management.
What if you could cut the time you spend monitoring processes manually in half? What if you could regain those hours and invest them in critical growth processes?
Are you starting to see how valuable this kind of automation could be?
9 Processes to Automate ASAP
Today’s automation technology can improve processes across the spectrum of your company, from marketing to network administration. In fact, 86% of managers say automating their work processes would make their departments more productive (and therefore improve efficiency and profitability).
Here are nine processes that you should stop monitoring manually and automate ASAP for better business results.
1. Database Performance
Database performance monitoring keeps a finger on the pulse of the database, both hardware and software. Analyzing performance indicators at regular intervals can identify bottlenecks and other problems in various portions of the database. Automated monitoring takes snapshots of these indicators and uses historical data to pinpoint potential problems. Alarms and notifications alert the database administrator when something needs attention. Automation is also a great solution for 24/7 monitoring in high-volume applications. It can identify problems like slow response times, load issues, locking problems, and performance spikes.
2. System Configurations
A majority of network issues result from faulty device configurations. Automated configuration management can reduce configuration-based outages from as much as 90% to just 10%. The software analyzes changes and catches errors before they are applied, identifies security vulnerabilities, applies standard configurations to multiple devices, and documents all changes. Simply put, automation drastically reduces the potential for human error.
3. Risk Management
Risk management requires careful attention to a multitude of complex details as well as consistency in measuring, assessing, and reporting. Automation gives business leaders the tools they need to remain compliant, promote transparency, and identify potential threats. Real-time event logs, reporting, and assessment helps businesses protect not only their networks, but also their financial assets and business processes. With this information, they can take proactive steps to mitigate risk.
4. Application and Server Function
Application and server outages can hamstring your customer service, employee efficiency, and business process profitability. And when a failure occurs, checking the hardware, OS, server, hosting, and other factors manually can drain even more resources. Monitoring servers and applications automatically not only stops the drain on your resources, but can also identify problems before they cause your system to go down. At Worthwhile, we use Sentry as a line of first defense for our tech stack and for our clients.
5. Equipment Maintenance
Preventing equipment downtime is essential for optimal productivity and profit, but it’s not always easy to predict when a part is going to fail. Automation keeps tabs on regular predictive maintenance processes and schedules so your team can focus on other pressing concerns. Incorporating artificial intelligence capabilities into your technology takes automation a step further, enabling you to monitor equipment function and identify potential problems before they happen so you can fix them with minimal downtime.
6. IP Infrastructure
Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trends and IP address transitions make it necessary to monitor IP infrastructure to reduce network downtime. But it’s difficult for IT personnel to manually keep an eye on every domain or address. Automation helps reduce costs and reclaim productivity by monitoring infrastructure and sending alerts when there is a problem.
Successful marketing relies on analytics to determine where traffic comes from, which channels generate the best leads, and where sales team members should invest their time. All of these metrics and many more can be tracked automatically with software. You can also set up your system to score leads, post to social media accounts, nurture prospects, and manage your email communications.
Analytics hold the key to making better business decisions in every part of your organization. From marketing to IT to the executive suite, monitoring and analyzing data gives you the detailed insight you need to achieve the best results. With predictive analytics, you can use past data to predict future behavior. But no one has time to sort through all that data manually. Automating data analysis helps you capture actionable trends based on performance indicators like efficiency, capacity, productivity, quality, value, and profitability—all without investing hours of time combing through reports. This allows you to dive deep on key issues instead of spinning your wheels working through data that’s not actionable.
9. Business Processes Validation
Business process validation ensures that your processes function as intended. It usually requires a detailed, step-by-step analysis of each process. Automation software can execute the various processes using business data and log any discrepancies or defects in the system, reducing the potential for error and improving process efficiency.
4 Ways to Build a Culture of Automation
As technology evolves, companies have become more aware both of the need and the opportunity for automation. It’s an essential step toward reaching your full productivity and profit potential, and it’s one of the best ways to gain an edge over the competition. However, it’s not always possible to automate everything right away.
So how do you take the next step?
1. Identify opportunities for automation
Once you start looking, you’ll probably see these opportunities everywhere. But these are missed in most organizations. One of the best ways to identify these opportunities is to ask your employees how software could make their jobs easier. They are the ones doing the tedious work, and they can provide good insight on how to make a process easier. You can also take note of ideas from industry publications and successful competitors. Just be sure that the software or other solutions you consider fits your business processes and organizational structure.
2. Start with one business function
Choose processes that deliver the greatest ROI and see how automation could make them more successful. Start with straightforward tasks that don’t require judgment calls or decision-making.
3. Document your current processes
Detailed documentation makes it easier to automate a process from start to finish. Define the process, create a step-by-step structure, and build that structure into the automation. This helps to ensure that automation serves your business processes, instead of determining them.
4. Cultivate a culture of automation
Sell the benefits of automation to your employees, and over time they will become your best source of ideas. Ultimately, your goal is to automate away the menial tasks while training your employees for business critical functions. Pursuing automation incrementally is often a good way to get the most impact for your investment and to promote employee buy-in.
Automation delivers three high-level benefits: increased productivity, higher ROI, and reduced costs. Of course, within those categories you’ll see many other benefits too, including greater efficiency, improved process effectiveness, shorter turnaround times, and fewer errors.
The flip side of the equation is that not automating drains time and resources. The more time your employees must invest in any given task, the more that task will cost and the lower your profit margin will be. Plus, they’ll work from a well of frustration that reduces efficiency as well as customer satisfaction.
Automation helps you plug the drain caused by manual processes and positions your company for growth. Isn’t it time to take the plunge?
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