By Nick Roquefort-Villeneuve, Global Marketing Director – Amalto Technologies
To perform manual tasks in a B2B documents exchange ecosystem always signifies errors, delays, disputes and, ultimately, the loss of market shares. There are indeed dire consequences to your employees erroneously keying-in data in one of your ERP systems when, for example, a purchase order comes in. And as much as Mark King used to proclaim, “Is it so wrong to be human after all?” at (the old) Wembley, I’m pretty sure your shareholders or investors wouldn’t want to know that exogenous variables affect their return on the investments they made in your organization.
So, maybe it’s a good idea to assess the feasibility of automating some of your processes in an effort to eliminate those human errors and make everybody happy. Yes, everybody. Even those employees whose tasks would suddenly become obsolete, once an automation system is in place. They’ll indeed be finally able to work on more important projects that will serve to perfection your overall business strategy.
What do you need to keep in mind, so automation is a definite success? Let’s do a short yet sweet assessment together.
- Know what you need to automate: It’s always a good idea to identify what your pain points are, what current processes contribute to their existence, how those processes are presently managed, and the impact on your operations and ultimately your company’s bottom-line. You don’t have to suffer. All you need to do is analyze what’s really going on behind this opaque wall called “business as usual.”
- Rally your peers behind the idea of automating processes: Who needs to be involved, if in fact you want to move forward with the intention of automating some of your B2B processes? Folks from your IT department wouldn’t be a bad idea. They’ll certainly want to know, among many other elements, how secure the application you have in mind is and how it can integrate with the organization’s existing systems. Colleagues who have a stake in Operations (supply chain, logistics) should also find your vision interesting.
- Determine the ROI of automation: In the end, isn’t it the key-element? Basically, how much money will your department or business unit save by automating processes? For example, the goal of automating AR processes is to decrease DSO. Thus, what is the total cash flow that won’t be trapped in receivables anymore, if automation cuts your DSO by 5 days? Consequently, what is the amount of annual interests your organization will save? Moreover, what will the savings in terms of HR be?
- Think of beyond tomorrow: Scalability is essential. So, which solution makes the most sense in the mid to long run? You certainly do not want to be remembered as “the one who got us dependent on some application over which we now have no control whatsoever.”
To Conclude: Automate to Solve Specific Problems
Automation is intended to solve specific problems and contribute to the big picture, which is the improvement of your organization’s bottom-line. Moreover, if you’re a CFO, automation reaches far beyond the scope of the Finance department. Process automation is a project IT will scrutinize. To that effect, it is crucial to select solutions that offer state of the art security and integration features.