You might already know this, but we’re big believers in the power of automation around here. As a matter of fact, this very blog post was written by a predictive text program to get to the most out to you in a very very easy and convenient and fun game for all the family and friends.
Yeah… maybe automated writing isn’t quite there yet. But there are still plenty of tasks organizations can and should consider automating. Automation can save your workforce time, energy, and frustration while reducing risk and boosting your bottom line. The key is knowing when and how to do it.
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review offers valuable insights into the topic. In “How to Break Down Work into Tasks That Can Be Automated,” business process experts Ravin Jesuthasan and John Boudreau explain how to deconstruct the elements of a job—so you can leverage your human capital where it’s needed most and automate the rest.
Jesuthasan and Boudreau recommend asking 3 questions to determine whether automation is appropriate for a given task:
- Is the work repetitive or variable?
- Is it independent or interactive?
- Is it physical or mental?
These basic considerations can reveal not only what kinds of work are worth automating, but how your organization might benefit from automation in terms of productivity and risk reduction. Here’s what the authors write about repetitive versus variable work, for instance:
“Repetitive work is often predictable, routine, and determined by predefined criteria while more variable work is unpredictable, changing, and requiring adaptive criteria and decision rules.
Most work tasks of a credit analyst are repetitive, for example. They gather and synthesize similar data for every loan application. They look for the same red flags in each piece of customer data that are pulled from bank records, credit rating agency data, government records, and social media. Generally, repetitive work is more automation-compatible with well-established solutions such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA can perform such analyses as much as 15 times faster, with almost no errors.
On the other end of the continuum, the work of an HR consultant is highly variable. Every client situation is different and every problem is unique. HR consultants work with analytical tool kits, change management frameworks, and process design techniques that must be customized to diagnose unique problems and solutions. Such work is generally less amenable to automation, but advances in cognitive automation might automate some analytical tasks, or ‘learn’ from previous client engagements.”
Ready to try out automation for yourself? Luckily for you, we’re hosting a webinar on the topic next week. Learn how automation can keep your workforce productive and compliant, and see if your organization is a good candidate for automation. Join us for our When to Automate webinar. Sign up here.