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What Leads to the Most Effective Automation of a Business Process?

Every day, more human workers are displaced by robots, computers, and other cost or labor saving devices that make business process more efficient while also reducing opportunity for human error. Despite this automation, many companies end up investing more time and labor to fix an automated process than they may have spent by just continuing to employ our friends and neighbors.

I would say that the most beneficial, efficient, and cost effective automated processes can be directly attributed to a mastery of the process at hand by the human workers that are being displaced.

Here's why:

Many of these employees have been performing the same task within your organization for years on end. Depending on the situation, they have probably found ways to make the process more efficient for themselves to go through, simply by human nature and a desire to not do more work for the same outcome. Because of this constant optimization that is happening over the years, properly automated support, customer care, or other business functions are projects often carried out by the person that performed that very function day in and day out.

This is where you come in.

If employees showing a high degree of flexibility and creativity are provided the tools to automate the process they perform every day, and they can do it properly the first time, that means you just freed up labor hours for that employee to spend doing more productive work. Take for example a seasoned customer service or help desk agent, that works in a "free form" manner. These agents have learned the proper questions to ask of a customer in order to resolve the issue at hand, and for the most part know that every call will contain many of the same questions.

My question to you is then: "why are they still asking those questions?" -- These are the people that can give you the insight needed to create a guided process which will allow "less skilled" employees to perform the same job function. The purpose of this is not to reduce or eliminate the need for skilled labor, but quite the opposite. By replacing skilled laborers with entry level workers that can perform the same or similar job functions, you can now utilize your skilled labor force to further develop the business. Who knows your business better than the people that have been working on the front lines since the beginning?

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