It is one of the most common questions I get asked during business analysis:
Can we automate this?
The business stakeholders often ask if we can automate the existing manual process? The underlying question remains the same. But, they ask it in different ways.
My standard response to this question is:
Everything is possible!
Look, the question is not if we can automate a manual process. Of course, if the process has repeatable steps with some logic, it can be automated.
The bigger question to understand is:
Why does business undertake the given manual process?
How does this process support the given value chain (end to end)?
What value does it offer to the value chain?
For example, suppose the manual process adds no value to the overall value chain. In that case, it is better to eliminate it rather than invest in automating it.
Summary – Can we automate this?
All the modern enterprise software (ERP/CRM) supports automation. We can quite easily automate manual processes using workflows. The question we need to answer is:
- What value does the given business process add to the value chain?
- How often do we run the manual process?
- What is the business justification (ROI) to automate the manual process?
Remember, if you are automating lousy business practices, you promote them faster with automation. So, the key is in understanding its value to the business, ROI and prioritising its automation against other work packages.