Should You Automate Your Processes? It Depends

While increasing efficiency and productivity are usually the most significant benefits of automating processes, so many business leaders are becoming increasingly interested in automation technologies. That's not always the case. Even though the demand for automation technologies is high, not every process in your business should be automated.

Without a doubt, more and more of your business processes are going to be automated over time. The global process automation market was valued at $76.83 billion in 2019 and should reach $114.17 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 7.23 percent over the forecast period 2020-2025. There's a common misconception about automation that needs addressing before reviewing your processes for opportunities to automate.

When people hear the word “automation," they immediately <span class="font-underline"begin thinking about technology's impact on jobs in the U.S. It's true that automation has put many Americans out of work and will continue to do so. The future of human work is imagination, creativity, and strategy, which means that for you to stay competitive in your market, your business will have to invest more in innovation.

The only way your employees are going to be able to devote enough time and resources to refocus their efforts on developing more ways to innovate your business is by automating processes. So, that begs the question: Which types of business processes should you automate?

Begin by reviewing the processes in your business and identifying the ones that are repetitive, routine, and mundane. If there are tasks that your employees are regularly repeating (e.g., invoicing clients), consider automating them. Once you automate these tasks, your employees will save time in the long run, which puts more money in your pocket to invest elsewhere.

There's more to consider when reviewing your processes for potential automation opportunities. Tasks that are high volume and prone to human error should also be automated. For example, when tasks that are prone to human error are automated, you reduce manual data entry and errors and eliminate duplicates. By choosing to automate tasks, you also increase accountability in the workplace and visibility into your organization, both of which, when combined, improves overall performance transparency.

Processes that require critical thinking, creativity, and emotional intelligence aren't good candidates for automation. For the most part, employees need to perform these processes, which is why many workers are now developing new skills in these areas. Developing soft skills is what they believe will make them essential to employers down the road.

While there are many processes you can automate to improve operational efficiency, you can’t automate all of them. Be selective when considering tasks to automate.