Traditionally, you’ve probably thought of your IT investment as an expense. You might see it as something that is billed monthly, and does nothing to your bottom line but drain it.
Well, if you’ve read this blog post, you know we believe you should LOVE your IT investment, because it’s an ASSET, not an expense.
Getting senior leadership or sceptics on board with this new age mentality can be tricky.
Take a look at four ways you can start changing the perception of your IT organization, and start realizing the immense ROI power of your technology:
Four Ways Your Technology Gives You ROI
Look at your business processes through the lens of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).
For now, here are a few clues that will help you choose which processes make the most sense to automate:
Which business processes consume the most time?
The temptation here may be to look at your payroll records for each department, but that could easily be a mistake.
Each department will likely have multiple discrete business processes, such as your accounting department. It alone has accounts payable, accounts receivable, inventory, payroll, etc. Also, some processes span multiple departments, such as the process of expense reimbursement, which may include accounting, sales, and marketing.
Automating processes will reduce man-hours.
The key question is: how many man-hours does the process you’re evaluating currently take?
2. Paper or Electronic Documents
Which business processes produce the most documentation?
The temptation here is to look at which department keeps and files the most documents, either paper or electronic, or both.
However, your documents may collect information from multiple business processes. Therefore you’ll need to see which processes contribute the most information to the volume of documentation you store. Automating your document creation can save enormous amounts of time and storage space. Automation will store only the relevant bits of information in any instance and will eliminate creation and storage of redundant information.
The key question is: how many pages, documents, files, or gigabytes of redundant information does each of your current processes produce?
Which business processes will have the greatest negative impact on the business if done incorrectly?
This may be challenging because some risks are so infinitesimally small in either frequency or magnitude that they aren’t even considered risks.
I counsel my clients to make a list of ALL CONCEIVABLE risks to the organization and rank them with separate scores for both frequency of risk and magnitude of risk.
Automating substantial risk processes can create huge savings in time. This time would otherwise be spent manually mitigating risks, proving/auditing against risks, and capturing risk factors that contribute to risk realization.
The key question is two-fold in descending order: what are the most frequent risks, and what are the highest magnitude risks?
4. Gross Revenue
Which business processes have the greatest impact on revenue generation?
This question is, for most of my clients, the hardest one to answer. After all, if it were easy to figure out how to systematically bring in more revenue, you would already be doing it, right?
The trick is to look with a more granular eye at the individual repetitive activities that make up revenue generation. Then, see what, in an automated world, could be measured. You can’t improve what you can’t measure.
Many organizations have a lot of gray areas in revenue generation. This is usually because leaders have only a somewhat ethereal understanding of their sales or marketing processes. They often have an idea of how many leads are coming in, but not on all the factors that affect why.
Or they know maybe what their sales conversion rate is, but not the sales process pieces which make up that ratio. As it turns out, they still do not fully understand automation of marketing and sales processes, although it is well explained as a turnkey solution from numerous vendors.
A good automation for these processes can have dramatically positive effects on an organization, just as much as a bad automation can be catastrophic.
The key question is: do I know all the discrete steps in my sales and marketing processes? And do I know what effect each step has on modifying my clients’ impressions of my organization? Chances are, where there is mystery, there is margin to be made.
Map Out Each Individual Step of the Process
Once you identify a process as a viable candidate for automation, start mapping it out, step-by-step.
A process map is a visual representation of the movement of people, documents, information, and workflow at each step of a specific process. If you haven’t ever engaged in a process mapping exercise, I highly recommend you do at least your first one or two process maps with the aid of an expert.
Select an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Tool
There are plenty of options that will fit your process automation requirements. This is often a decision that organizations make (unfortunately) prior to deciding on and analyzing the process they wish to automate. Selecting your ECM tool comes later in the equation.
Build a Strategy for the ECM Deployment
This includes the completed automation, by starting with building a change management strategy first.
There are many reasons why I recommend this. But the biggest is because it’s the only way to guarantee a successful deployment of a critical business system.
Automated processes have two essential benefits that any business will want to capitalize on:
- Business processes and performance improvements.
- More lucrative measuring and business forecasting.
With automated processes, businesses can gain a keener sense of what they are doing well, and what can be done better, faster and with greater efficiency. Knowing what trends, technologies and opportunities lie within your IT investment is the greatest, yet one of the most untapped, strategies awaiting your organization.
If all this sounds good to you, but you just wish someone would do it all for you, we can help.
Let’s set up your FREE CONSULTATION, and discuss how we can supercharge your people and grow your business.