, by  Andrew Carson

What Return On Investment can I expect from automation in my business?

With companies considering automating their business processes, one of the biggest stumbling blocks comes from the human tendency to overthink or, alternatively, not think at all about the return on investment.

Automation is not so much about the technical aspect that directors find themselves intimidated by, but more about the current processes in the business and how they hold the company back from reaching their full potential.

So let’s use this space to think about your business.

What Stage is your Business at?

Let’s look at your business as it is right now.

You have a steady flow of customers and business is good but you are always thinking that there are new areas you want to branch into. In your head you are thinking new areas = more staff.

Already you are seeing costs in your head over the potential new business, then you segue into how much your business is already stretched staff and time wise. You are trying to justify in your head exactly how to work it all out.

You believe you need more staff to launch this new area of business. In truth, you already have that staff willing and able to do it.

Working with Staff to identify areas to solve

Currently, your staff are playing catch up with the repetitive daily tasks and it seems like they have to make a space within that to accommodate anything new. These frustrations of theirs are also a shared frustration with yourself and soon new clients also.

Generally office staff have frustrations due to the repetitive nature of “The Way we have always done things” or the “Ain’t Broke, Don’t fix it approach.” In pretty much any job, the office staff want to be using their time more productively and not spending countless hours updating records.

Maybe you have some off the shelf software which the staff utilises but does not aid them, finding they work for it instead of it working for them. The thought of not having to do this repetitive pattern and being given something with an optimistic outlook would be met with relief and full staff buy in.

This is where Bespoke Software Development begins to work for you.

What to tackle first

Sitting down with a software developer to discuss automation is about accepting the current way of doing things is holding you back. The key to success comes from delving into your business and discovering areas you didn’t know were a factor, which is where your staff comes in handy as an extra internal voice.

Automating the repetitive daily tasks such as email, invoicing, updating records or stock will free up your current office staff to move into your new venture, thereby saving you money on new staff wages, training (as the staff will have had a say in how the system works for them) and usual time spent by your current staff.

Don’t try and solve everything at once

The developer is there to help you identify and calculate value of the key areas to automate. Initial ideas you may have of what to automate may not pay off in the short term and the developer is there to ensure the solution is cost effective, so some areas you can hold off automating.

Spending money upfront on areas of a system that you will not fully utilise could be viewed as dead money for a long period of time. You may find that you hardly ever utilise it at all. It may be nice to have but it’s not making you any money, so it makes sense to leave it until a necessity if it ever becomes one.

Used correctly and fully utilised, automation of processes gives direct cost savings in man hours, staff retention, recruitment and new focus on growth. Many businesses now realise that the long term investment into automation catapults their profits far over their expected turnover and giving a no brainer return on their investment.