How much of your business could you be automating? What types of tasks should you be automating? And when is the right time to do so?
Some native automation solutions might be inherent in your real-estate software. And for more complicated tasks, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is another tool that can help bridge gaps and create more efficient processes for your business.
Tech-savvy and efficiency-seeking companies are turning to RPA to eliminate monotonous tasks and free-up employees for higher value work. But RPA is no magic bullet. It’s just one tool in a toolbox.
There’s a lot to consider before determining that process automation is the best solution for a problem. More often, RPA is part of a series of solutions. Identifying the right mix of automation strategies to implement creates the most efficient gains.
Signs you should be automating more
There is no one-size-fits-all standard for automation. That is, there is no specific monetary signal, no threshold of properties under ownership, and no specific number of residents that will trigger you to need more processes to be automated. But building out a plan for short and long-term automation can help streamline more than just your daily tasks.
The right automation plan (and implementation) can set you up for lower overhead costs, better customer and investor relations, and stronger data analysis to steer the course of your business.
Some common indicators for when you should start automating more:
- Your team is struggling to complete tasks by a given deadline because of data issues, having to pass files back and forth, or
- Your team often raises tickets for similar (or the same) issue
- You experience a lot of data-related errors
- Your team is overloaded and you are considering hiring additional support to help spread the workload
- High-value employees are engaged in low-value repetitive tasks
If a process is monotonous, repetitive, and frequent, there is a good chance that RPA will be of benefit to you. In fact, any time hours are spent looking at two applications – like a spreadsheet with an accounts receivable system, or a financial system next to an accounts payable application – RPA solutions would be worth considering.
The alternative to using automated digital solutions is to leverage a data entry professional to save your staff from doing menial, error-prone tasks. The very last resort should be using the talented employees on your payroll.
Unfortunately, many of the tasks that could be automated or improved through customisation and automation are the same tasks that detract from employee engagement and critical thinking. The least attractive solution for solving inefficiencies is to continue spending your staff resources on repetitive, mindless activities.
Selecting your approach – two options
Native to your software
When you are ready to start automating more, the first thing to consider is whether your current software can natively address the problem. While this seems painfully obvious, it is often overlooked.
The truth is most enterprise technology is often vastly under utilised due to issues with – or incompleteness of – set-up and a lack of understanding.
Connecting with experts who know the depth of your software system is a good first step. If your system can natively address the problem you are facing, the solution may just be retraining or implementing a new module.
If a native solution actually doesn’t exist, the next consideration would be a customisation of the existing software. In most cases, the extra keystrokes and mouse-clicks that exist in an enterprise software solution are a byproduct of adaptability or flexibility.
Your organisation handles certain scenarios the same way every time (at least that is the expectation), but the software is intended to be used by myriad companies that may operate completely differently. This is your software; it is best to tailor it to fit as efficiently as possible.
If a solution can’t be found natively and there is no customisation to be had, process automation is the next logical choice. RPA is also a great choice in many instances where it seems there isn’t a solution and an API is not available.
Robotic Process Automation tools allow companies to develop virtual robots that perform repetitive tasks automatically and autonomously.
These robots can read, interpret and manipulate data from any source; they can read and respond to email, and validate data. These automations can range from a single robot performing a designated task, to a bot-farm with thousands of robots synchronised to automate massively time-consuming functions.
For example, RPA has the ability to automate elements of customer service like incident or ticket management, system administrative tasks, and consolidation of information so that your team can utilise one screen instead of multiple systems. This saves time and eliminates a lot of human error.
Business process automations are essential and expected and have become the new normal.