“Organizations don’t execute unless the right people, individually and collectively, focus on the right details at the right time.” – Ram Charan, Bestselling Author and Global Advisor to CEOs.
With technology penetration increasing every day, automating business processes has become need of the hour. But, business processes automation is easier said than done. Most of such projects get delayed because of lack of clarity in internal communication, incongruity in business expectations and most important of all, focus on Tool rather than team.
There is no secret mantra to success while automating a business process. But, following are some points that have worked for us in last 3-4 years:
Begin with BASICS of Automation
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” – Bill Gates
That’s how we, at FieldAssist, approach every execution. The idea is to identify critical and mature business operations, list them by diminishing priority and execute them one by one. It’s rather simple for anyone to fall for the pitfalls of new opportunities that Technology brings to Business. Labelling nascent processes as “Must Have” or “Non-Starters” usually either delays execution or creates ambiguity within the team. To build further perspective,
in the context of SFA implementation, these core business processes could be – Shop Visit, Order Booking and Journey Planning.
Following matrices can further help you narrow the count of processes that require automation:
- Too minor – A process that is too simple or too small – for example, it has fewer than 5 or 6 steps, or takes less than 10 minutes to complete manually.
- Too infrequent – A process that is run infrequently, such as once or twice a year, is not a great candidate for automation.
- Too qualitative – Processes that largely require human or qualitative analysis and action are not suited to automation.
Focus on Adoption
One of the key reasons of introducing Technology to business operations is the data it generates for further decision making driven by analytics. Hence, it becomes imperative for organizations to focus on adoption such that data generated is of the highest quality and can be trusted to make data driven decisions. Some common practices to improve adoption include making incentive policies around usage, linking attendance with SFA project and
minimizing different type of transactions that a field user has to perform.
Final Nail in the coffin!
Once you have automated the critical business process, and achieved high adoption rate, it’s time to let go off the existing manual processes to complete the automation cycle. It is the most critical step in ensuring a project’s self-sustainability. Process automation projects often lack a sense of urgency if the existing processes run simultaneously. This stage typically arises within a fortnight of SFA deployment. Here’s how we do it at FieldAssist:
- Be minimalist – Initially, we focus mainly on 3 things – User should be able to see right products, right outlets for the day and order should be passed on to the Distributor.
- Focus on Team not the software – Idea is to listen to all the things User has to say, even if it requires to solve the problems not related directly to App. Eg. Internet Issues, Phone Settings.
- Let go off manual processes – Once the adoption shoots up, we ask our customers to switch to Digital DSR by FieldAssist and let go off manual DSR and WhatsApp Reporting.
- Maturity – Once the bread and butter is covered, now focus shifts from adoption to introducing new features to Field Users to keep it engaging and driving execution in field through the App.