Precursors to Automation for Mid-Market Companies
Ryan Frederick | December 27th, 2023 | Dublin, OH
Mid-market companies are often challenged to implement process or physical automation because of a need for foundational elements before automating. This makes automation projects longer, harder, and more expensive than they otherwise need to be.
Here are some of the foundational elements mid-market companies should have in place or get help with before starting an automation project:
- Documentation — Something that isn’t well documented can’t be automated with relative ease and expediency. Documenting a process, workflow, system, etc., should be the first step for any mid-market company desirous of automating some aspects of the operation. Mid-market companies might get lucky, but trying to automate something poorly documented can’t be automated very well, if at all.
- Dependencies — Having appropriate documentation will also help identify dependencies that should be considered part of an automation effort. Too often, an automation project progresses further than it should before consequential dependencies that cause significant changes to the automation effort are identified.
- Problem understanding/Desired Outcomes — Two sides of the same coin, but understanding why the automation is needed and what value and impact are crucial to ensure an automation project is grounded in substance and driving a return on investment.
- Management — Who and how will the automation be managed and governed after implementation? Automations need to evolve as the business needs and objectives do. Although brilliant in its efficiency, productivity, and accuracy, automation must still be managed by someone who knows how the system works to ensure it operates as intended. This has never been truer than automation, including machine learning models and artificial intelligence.
- Maintenance — As alluded to above, automation implementations can be set and forgotten for stretches, but they are not set and forgotten forever. There will be updates and changes to some of the tooling and systems used in addition to the business evolution requiring modifications. Mid-market companies must factor in ongoing costs and time to maintain automation initiatives.
None of the above is intended to scare mid-market companies from pursuing process or physical automation. The opposite is true. Mid-market companies are often the size companies that benefit most from automation because it allows them to grow faster without increasing overhead in advance of growth or an equal proportion of the value. Automation for mid-market companies is the great multiplier. Automation projects for mid-market companies executed thoughtfully and with the above-referenced foundational elements in place will be able to tap into the exponential value of automation.