Check Automation Off Your To-Do List in 6 Steps

By Data-Core Systems | December 14, 2022

Depending on the nature of your organization, you may have what seems like tons of manual processes, or maybe just a few that you’re looking to start automating. Lessen the burden from time consuming, potential error prone, manual repetitive processes and decide which processes to automate by which area of your organization could use more focus or become more efficient. This could be an area to improve a customer experience, an area that would free up employee time, or just to make a process more effective. Choosing a Process If you’re just starting out in your automation journey, you may want to start out with a small task or something that can easily be automated without too much effort. For the sake of your first automation task, choose something that doesn’t involve too much data sharing, or something integrated with a lot of other apps or software. Once you conquer a small automation project, you can then use the same steps in the process to scale with more complex, time consuming tasks. Alternatively, you can choose a bigger task to automate, and divide it into smaller steps. Another thing to keep in mind when choosing a process is that you want it to benefit your organization in some way right away. If your first automation project has a clear win, your team will be more confident and on board for your next automation project. Automation is a big step towards democratization.

Prepare for Automation with this Checklist

Before you start your automation journey, prepare yourself and your team with the following checklist.
  1. Choose a Goal and an Owner
    • When you start your process, ask yourself, “what am I trying to achieve through this automation process?” Is your goal to free up employee time, cut costs, or provide an easier customer experience? Even if you only plan on automating a portion of the task at hand, make sure you’ve defined your goal and have all necessary employees and stakeholders on board with your decisions.
    • Choose a process owner that is already familiar with the task at hand, and who has authority to make decisions throughout the process. This person will also need to communicate progress updates to necessary personnel and keep everyone in the loop.
  2. Understand the History
    • Get all the information you can about how the process in question has worked in the past and present. It is important to be knowledgeable about the process to answer any questions or address any problems that may arise.  
  3. Map out the Workflow
    • Now that you understand the process, have identified an owner, a goal, and informed all stakeholders, it’s time to map out the workflow. For this, you will need to consider every single condition that pertains to the process. Ask yourself, “If X happens, what is the result?” Even forgetting one condition could result in a failure of the automation. Attention to detail is key in this step.
  4. Gather Data
    • Any data you have on how the unautomated process is performing is key in quantitatively measuring your success after automation. In simple terms, if it takes 4 hours to complete the manual process, and 1 hour to complete the automation process, you’ve cut down time by 75%. To calculate a more accurate ROI, you’ll also need to factor in the repetitive execution as well as the execution time. You’ll want to compare this data so you can make the argument that automation has saved your organization time, or whatever metric you plan on measuring.
  5. Test the Automation
    • Once you’ve completed the above steps it’s time to put your automation workflow to the test. Make sure all of your conditions are set up properly and are working correctly. At this step, it’s important to run the workflow under different levels of stress to make sure your automation process will work in all possible situations. Be sure to run tests multiple times to ensure the automation will work.
  6. Launch  
    • Once you’ve tested your automation workflow and everything is successful, it’s finally time to go live! After you first launch, it’s important to keep a close eye on your automation process in the event that anything goes wrong.
After you’ve launched your automation effort, be sure to capture data that proves your automation effort has helped your organization become more efficient in some way. If these steps seem like too much for your organization to take on, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Whatever your automation task may be, Data-Core is here and ready to help. Contact us today and let us help you with your automation journey.