A Quick Introduction to Business Automation

Business Automation meant different things to different eras. For ancient Yapese, business automation simply meant to hire labor that would just start producing IOU notes as soon as they are instructed. So, that was automation for the chief. But today, business automation is more labor-oriented than chief-oriented – so to speak. This means that the decision makers, managers, and executives want the jobs of their human resources to get simpler and smarter yielding in more output and ROI. So, if we keep the Yapese in a modern context, the chief is now smart enough to incorporate a powerful machine for the labor so that they can produce IOU notes with speed and quality.

But that was Yapese on the Yap island, what about business today in the modern cities where ever business is interconnected and share their activities with other each other? What sort of business automation do they need?

Businesses today do not need to employ machinery like Yapese for automation, but something more than that. Something that is just not a mere tool that needs to be manually operated to complete the processes. They need something that stands as a conglomerate whole of a multitude of business facets that includes business processes that can be easily configured, a set of controls with which end-users can easily manage all the processes, and a window to have a unified 360-degrees view of everything. Having said that, what is the use of such powerful interconnected platform if people across the organization are unable to access it whenever and wherever they want? So, the last but not the least important part of business automation is accessibility to keep everybody updated; otherwise, everyone would be cutting corners to access what they need causing disruption in the system.

While automating a business, multiple areas are involved that, if not given an equal chance in the game, might leave your company unbalanced and exposed to internal and external threats. The following list illustrates the typical areas involved in automating a business completely:

  • Internal Communications (Chat, Emails, Phone calls, etc.)
  • IT operations (Assets Management, Service Management, Information Security, etc.)
  • External Communication (Sales Processes, Marketing Processes, Services Processes like customers relations, etc.)
  • Administration and Management
  • Accounts
    • Audit
    • Operational Procedures
    • Risk Management
    • Control Functions and Governance Processes
    • Reporting

IT operations (Assets Management, Service Management, Information Security, etc.)

Consider a situation in which you have signed an SLA with a company that you will provide such and such services in such and such manner, and now it’s time to fulfill your commitment. How would you ensure that your infrastructure is secure and healthy enough to support your teams doing their jobs? You must have to make sure that your system is every inch as good as you have claimed in any of the signed agreements; in fact, it should perform par the level you have committed so that you can gauge the falling numbers and take the necessary actions. For this, either you need a cheap virtual agent or a highly expensive software; the choice is yours.

Internal Communications

If customers and operational management are the muscle and skeleton of an organization, then Internal Communication is the neural network of your organization. Internal Communication does not only pertain to making phone calls, chatting over messenger, in fact, it also means that how well do you communicate your organization’s values, missions, and goals. Are your employees aware of what your current business scope and objectives are? If any of your employees are not sure about this question, then be ready to face the fiasco. Or, you can hire a virtual assistant team that can easily manage information routing and updating tasks across the organizations with reasonable accuracy and human acumen.

External Communication

External Communication is any form of communication that is conducted between people like customers at one side and sales, marketing and customer-relations personnel at the other. It keeps your business going after it’s rubber hits the road. A mismanaged external communication can result in loss of customers and potential clients.

Accounts and Administration

Record keeping and their management is an integral part of the smooth and seamless working of a system. People invest a huge amount of capital in managing their accounts and administrative activities, the only issue is the proper methodology by which we should implement the system and keep it updating.

This list may get cut short or increased while micro scoping a specific business; whatever the areas are every business has unified business automation processes, problems, and solutions.

Facets of Business Automation

Organizations have now employed globally trusted enterprise solutions to automate their business and operational activities. Deploying these enterprise solutions improve the overall business performance in a span of different phases.

Pre-deployment Phase

This is the most important phase of deployment where the organization performs an audit of business, financial and IT processes, which identifies and removes any grey (undiscussed) areas while also creating a room for forming new processes to adopt the modern technology. This phase not only streamlines the overall business processes but also improves IT control and security.

Deployment Phase

This is the penultimate phase where you witness the transformation of all the business processes and IT operations into a unified omnichannel of inter-related capabilities that help to create a 360-degrees view of the organization in its full breadth and depth.

Post Deployment Phase

This is a phase where all the departments need to hold their horses and patiently test the deployed solution. The end-users test the usability and handling of the solution, whereas the managers, executives and IT test for any glitches or hindrance in any business outcome like real-time monitoring, transparency, and data security, and this spring up a domino effect continuing cycles of improvements, maintenance, and extra costs.

This is the first generation of IT enablement, where organizations used to undergo tedious, costly, timely, and error-prone phases that either slowed down or in some cases halted the business processes until error-free completion. Today is the time for second generation IT enablement where organizations desire to quickly adapt to the changing world and cannot afford to invest in such solutions; they always prefer to go for plug-and-play solution where all the hectic task of on-sight development is removed, and only minor configurations are needed to get started with the business happily. This is only possible when someone has already developed a scalable, flexible and secure platform that can be accessed and used by other organizations just as-is.

The second-generation business automation offers a variety of automation models to the businesses today, which includes but not limited to deploying an application on-premise that the employees can use, providing subscription-based access to an on-cloud application that the employees can use, or providing a Managed IT Service where the burdens of maintaining a small IT task to the entire IT infrastructure is given to a Managed IT Services vendor that is capable enough to power the organization with IT infrastructure with or without involving the employees. Today, Managed IT Services is gaining immense popularity in the business world as it provides complete IT enablement, unmatched scalability, increased savings, and more satisfied customers.

Scaling Your Business

The modern world, which is now a universal village, has made everyone capable of instantly getting to know about people living par oceans; and in this ever-increasing social world, businesses are perpetually scaling with equally increasing pace. This means more social recognition, more customers, more business partnerships, and more transformations in the primal business model. With everything more, the complexity and difficulty of handling this ‘more’ also increase. The old systems are not capable enough to handle this more part to the scaling businesses; therefore, a need for something more efficient and powerful is imminent.

Organizations working on cloud platforms like Salesforce and ServiceNow cannot scale themselves without scaling their cloud ecosystems. The best approach to nondestructively scale the ecosystem is integrating powerful utilities into the existing infrastructure, which will not only increase the system efficiency but also tabulate the business processes. Integrations at a smaller scale can be managed internally and they might become the low hanging fruits. However, for larger organizations managing integrations internally might go up in smoke as it requires hiring more resources, putting more investments and establishing matching infrastructure. Taking skilled Managed IT Services providers like TransData can actually relieve you off from all the overhead costs. Let’s see what happens when there is no third-party Managed IT Services vendor involved to reshape your IT environment?

Problems of In-house IT Team for Automation

Extracting the right benefits of managing in-house IT automation team is a matter of the organization’s priority as in what aspects they can compromise and what aspects are their principal focus. Some companies would prefer to invest capital keeping in-house teams but cannot afford communication gaps between the departments. Some companies would prefer to save the cost and slow down the automation process as they can simultaneously manage two setups – one being slowly automated, and the other for continuing critical business processes. Whatever the preferences of the company are, but the requirements of carrying out the automation and the capabilities of automation team stand stolidly in their places.

Team Capabilities

In order to automate the business, IT teams must be able to specify plans for backups, right tools, well-defined goals, clear hierarchy, employee involvement, user training, and continuous improvement and maintenance. Defining these processes is a long-term activity that must be performed within a specified time frame and with proper team control.

Besides the long-term nature of these activities, it is noteworthy that the team performing this activity must also be skilled enough to carry out these tasks.

Up-to-Date Information

The IT automation team must be equipped with the latest automation tools, deployment strategies, and GRC policies of the company.

Hands-on Experience on Technologies

The past five years have been known for great technological advancements and application development which really helped businesses to perform tedious tasks quicker and smarter. Learning these technologies demand a sharp learning curve and hands-on experience; otherwise, delays and malfunction would be the outcome. In addition to the learning curve, the team must also be aware of the certain powerful yet unstable technologies using which might improve certain aspects of the automation process, but may totally fail the others.

In-house IT Team – a Liability

Considering the tough requirements mentioned above, imagine if the organizations have to keep the team in-house for automation tasks; they would either be bearing high costs or high risks. The reason for high costs is that automation cannot afford to hire a team with mediocre skills or partial knowledge of automation needs; therefore, the companies are bound to hire highly-skilled employees that have hands-on experience and knowledge of the appropriate and stable technologies. High salary is just one thing, managing the hired resources, keeping track of their performance, pay raise, benefits, pension, and costs of providing the required physical and abstract infrastructure becomes a tough liability.

The reason for high risks is quite evident when you are not hiring skilled resources you will soon be witnessing a debacle of the business processes that are being automated. The automation team is not just a bunch of programmers writing code for the application, rather a combination of different skill sets including system analysts, business analysts, researchers, implementation and deployment experts, and system trainers.

On-premise IT Infrastructure – a Liability

In financial terms, managing employees might be more predictable and manageable under certain circumstances but managing unexpected disaster of IT infrastructure can cause irreversible losses to the companies and may even put customer’s soft properties at stake. Incidents like server downtime, hard burns, or complete shutdown of technical equipment can incur huge financial hits to the company.

The aftermath of such disasters is obvious – loss of customers as the bases on which the customer support was provided, which was real-time before, is now totally dead leaving a fairly negative impression in the market and losing the valuable trust of your both customers and partners.