No one thinks it’ll happen to them. I struggle looking at code and find myself thinking, “this can be automated.”
With the business application products that we build for our clients, task automation comes up more and more often. It’s enticing.
Automation can empower existing team members to be a force multiplier. Which is a fancy way of saying, “make things automatic, and it’ll make things good.”
For an employee, they will be able to do more (with fewer errors) and (hopefully) be compensated better for doing the job of more people. For a company, that means reduced headcount, increased efficiencies, and (ideally) better salary for your employees and prices for your customers.
Or just add it to your bottom-line and get high-fives from your shareholders.
Since Henry Ford pioneered the assembly line, finding efficiencies has been as compelling as divining for water. But in the 19th and 20th century, it focused on hardware and people-as-a-system. With digital, we’re at a place where we can automate low-and-high order tasks . . . if you have the team for it.
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together”
— Vincent Van Gogh
There are three types of business applications I see out there:
- Revenue-generating, new market opportunities (NetSuite.com, SageIntacct.com)
- Employee empowering tools (Monday.com, Avaza.com )
- Automation (Zapier, Kissflow.com)
Everyone recognizes the first two (right?) as digital products that can benefit all humans in an organization. But automation benefits the organization first. Let’s define how we might recognize automation opportunities.
First, let’s examine the Focus Funnel – the methodology of taking a task through four steps in an effort to complete it:
- Delegate, or
- Complete it (or procrastinate and re-prioritize)
Of these four, let’s focus on Automate (delegation is the same exercise, a form of recursion for us computer science nerds.)
Take your company’s team members, specifically their roles & responsibilities for their tasks, and organize them into a few key areas.
Consider the following:
- Cost of Time
- Cadence to Automate (once a day vs. once a week)
- Cost to Automate
- Time to Execute
Example: You decide to set up a task and time management tools with a new client
- The value is high
- Cost of time is ~20 mins
- Frequency and cadence of execution is once a week
- Time to automate ~40 hours
It takes about 40 hours to automate multiple that by 60 minutes in an hour and divide by 20 hours of cost to do manually.
It would 120 projects to break-even that 20-hour manual labor cost.
How many projects do you do a year? 300 projects a year? 3,000 project a year? The worth is calculable.
When you’re considering automation, here are some questions to consider…
- How does this help my team?
- Is there a way to take low-level tasks off my team’s plate, and have them focus their efforts on higher level tasks?
They don’t need to create tools, make coffee, meeting notes are transcribed with a voice app (that’s intelligent to know who’s talking) so they can focus on higher level tasks, and showcase the work.
At the end of the day, if you can get fewer people working on any task there’s an opportunity for a mistake and more opportunity for success.
Automation is freedom.
It frees a company from errors and manual cost, it frees up employees from menial tasks and drudge work (button pushing, pencil pushing.) Ultimately, automation frees a civilization to pursue aspirational goals (traveling to Mars and beyond) and pursue utopia.
At Dom & Tom, we work to create products that are ready for innovation, built with your team five years from now in mind.
How are you best automating your company’s workflow?
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