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Automation shouldn’t be a big project

In this part of the blog series from Ouch to Outstanding in business automation, we will examine the practical insights on automation and how you take advantage of them in smaller chunks, to make it irresistible and relevant for your organization. We know that digital trends come and go, but how will you tackle the every day work that still remains and take advantage of the ongoing automation and digitalization trend?

Automation is the big thing that will affect common business tasks tremendously and will force us to re-imagine the way we work. For the next decades, it will be all about automation. The classic departments of HR, finance and IT will have to re-invent themselves to find out what they will actually do, when more than half of their time spent is automated. What would your department or organization do if you suddenly have more than half of your time to do something else? Before getting to the point where you will have to figure that out, there are some key elements to get there faster.

Automation shouldn’t be a big project

Automation should never be a big project, because automation is the same as improvement. We want improvements to be continuous and often, not in big chunks and seldom. It always comes down to achieving a Lean approach to daily work, which is to think of it as daily work isn’t as important as improving daily work, and you want this to always happen and be done incrementally. That’s how you build sustainable progress and there is no difference with automation. That’s also why your alarm clock should be ringing loud and clear, if you need to start a big project every time you want to improve something.

Make automation part of your improvement routine

Another alarm should go off if your business tools require a project every time you would like to automate your business. The thing is, it should be so easy it can be done by the one person or team that actually is doing the work itself. So make automation part of your team’s continuous improvement and make it possible for the team to automate their own work.

Don’t get caught up in the latest trends

The second thing to look out for is to be all caught up in the latest trends going on in our industry and create a big AI-project or similar, instead of digging where you stand in your daily business. It creates a risk of missing your own improvements that might not look as sexy due to the latest trends. It is the everyday work which should be automated in the first place and the things that actually affect the people the most, not only your business, but the work done every single day. So don’t forget to deep dive in your own business pains, before you pick up on ongoing trends. It could be that you are still running your business with multiple paper forms or PDFs that should be printed for approval, that could be digitalized and automated.

For an additional read; Check out what Södra did to create a pleasant on-boarding and recruiting experience for their managers and employees. Södra’s employee experience. They solved their every-day pains in smaller chunks and with hands-on automation and not with a big AI project. Again, not everything is, or should be, a “big AI project”.

Don’t put a label on the work you automate!

When you finally have found your areas to automate, it’s easy to get caught up in what’s valuable work and what’s work that certain people don’t like. Putting labels and defining value in different types of work is risky. Hence, we should always look into our daily work and check if it gives the overall organization value or not. The value discussion should always be top of mind. The label of fun or boring work is something that should be left to the individual to reflect and decide upon. So, when talking about why you are automating different parts of your business, it’s easier if you start off from a value driven perspective of the organization and then in the second round, labelling the work from the individual perspective.

Think big, continuously act small and aim to be awesome.