Three things to think about before automating your business processes

Companies were forced to automate their business processes much faster than planned by the COVID pandemic. How do they do it?

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More companies switched to digital operations after the COVID-19 pandemic. They also adopted business automation. Companies continued to move forward despite the onset of major pandemics, adopting new technologies and automating their operations. Staff were no longer needed.

Jan Arendtsz is the CEO and founder at Celigo. Celigo offers automated integration.

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Arendtsz points out these success stories in business process automation:

  • One company said it was able to cut down its workload by half. This allowed its resources and focus to be on developing the product, not integrating applications.
  • After implementing an automated cash management system, another company noticed an increase in payments of 5%. 
  • A third company saved hundreds on manual labor and obtained accurate financial statements in a timely manner. 
  • Implementing an automation solution between their ERP and CRM systems led to a five-fold increase of transactions for the CDC Foundation. This organization saw time savings, which allowed it to concentrate on its mission-critical work supporting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

IT-wise, these integrations were a success because they allowed for rapid integration of a variety of applications. Large portions of the integration process could be automated. Pre-built integrations were available to popular systems like ERP, CRM and Salesforce.

Arendtsz stated, “It’s an essential point.” Arendtsz added that many people misuse the term ‘automation’ when they really are just integrating one application with another in a point to point fashion. That is not a unique situation. [integration]Although it may connect, the process still leaves behind data silos, manual work and coding to connect with other parts of business. The process can be automated by connecting multiple apps using pre-built integrations and embedding business logic to impact downstream flows.

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Automated integration can help IT to break down silos and build and revise business processes. IT will also be able to provide more information for everyone in the company.

Software tools can have a negative impact on automated integrations of business processes. However, there is a caveat to using them.

  1. No automation tool can replace human interaction and IT work hand in hand.Business process redesign or design before any applications are integrated or modified.
    Before a project can be started, it is important that business process modeling, design, testing, and projection of results occur first.
  2. IT must continue to play an integral role in software implementation when business processes change.
    Arendtsz stated, “Too many businesses choose no-code recipes when searching for a way to solve their problems because they don’t have the technical resources necessary to create custom integrations.” It is important for business users to be able to create their own automations. However, IT teams must have oversight of the entire company and the ability to modify integrations as necessary. Integrations can be managed from one central platform, which allows for this oversight and allows business users to create their automations.
  3. Plan for the human role of automation in business processes.
    Business process automation and data integration will not replace human workers. They will help people get to the tasks that are more important for the business. This could mean that an accountant employee will no longer have to manually rekey invoices or other data between systems due to system integration failures. Instead, they will become a financial analyst.

It is important to synchronize the retooling and retooling systems. The new job requirements must be understood by employees. Employees must have faith in their future. 

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