Quick tips and resources to help your business navigate the crisis
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, millions of employees are now working from home, exposing process gaps that used to be filled manually by employees. If ever there was a time to reconsider, revisit, or rework and digitize these processes, it’s right now.
All businesses have some manual processes. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses felt they could kick the proverbial “digital transformation” can down the road. But the work-from-home mandates and social distancing guidelines have now pushed digitization into the forefront of improvements for everyone. Businesses are now rushing to find solutions to mend these broken processes.
Why the rush? Well, these broken processes are making an already difficult situation worse. Some common things we hear include:
- Lost revenue
Many businesses have provided grace periods or free services because no one was able to process paperwork and payments.
- Lost time
Making processes accessible to remote workers resulted in lost time as employees had no way to perform their daily tasks; they often were in a holding pattern until operations could be changed or automation could be put in place.
- Lost customers
Even processes that focused on customer experience broke down when back-office operations couldn’t support the new influx of digital customers. Frustrated customers tend to drift toward businesses that are more prepared to address their needs.
GET STARTED, DON’T WAIT
Experts say automate quickly, but be strategic. With so many gaps and broken processes, it can be difficult to know where to even begin. The first step is to identify the manual processes that are most important to your business. According to Forrester’s Q1 2020 Digital Process Automation Survey, 46 percent of organizations still use paper-based manual tasks to manage processes. Which processes are most critical to automate? You no longer have the luxury of passing paper documents to a different desk or department and if that has caused the breakdown of operations for your business, those processes should be addressed first.
USE THE TOOLS YOU HAVE
Many businesses have some level of digital process automation already in place, yet few businesses planned to drive end-to-end digital transformation this year. The key would be to leverage and expand the use of these tools that are readily available to automate processes quicker and more efficiently and do so now.
For example, many of TrackVia’s own customers use our low-code platform for one area of operations but have yet to implement that same tool to streamline many other back-office workflows. So we’re working closely with them to help fill gaps in other areas fast.
Some businesses have implemented simple RPA, but Forrester research shows that up to 45 percent of businesses have yet to implement a digital process automation tool that would be more robust and efficient. While collaborative work management tools abound and businesses have had access to them in their software suites, many employees have never used them before and have struggled to implement them. Providing encouragement to leverage or expand the use of current tools and providing basic training can enable quicker changes.
CONSIDER NEW TOOLS
Low-code platforms, RPA (robotic process automation), DPA (digital process automation), or collaborative work management systems are all available to help businesses streamline their operations. When manual processes no longer get the job done, these technologies will help to get business operations back in line.
Choosing the right platform for your business is crucial. Forrester recommends consulting business professionals that can lead you through this crisis and guide you to choose the right platform for your business because technical experts may not know your processes or how your business works. What you choose should be easy to use to ensure employee adoption. It should not only restore your operations at this time but also streamline, maintain, and expand with your business operations later.
Overall, understand that the implementation of any technology will be a challenge. Anytime things are done in a hurry, there are bound to be hiccups and struggles. The goal is to restore processes and operations and it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Forrester has provided a more in-depth look into the effect of COVID-19 on businesses in their April 2020 report. Want to take a look at what they have to say? Download a copy of the report here:
Want to hear directly from the professionals?
View our recorded webinar:
Our guest John Bratincevic, Senior Analyst with Forrester, and Bill Mannaberg from Honeywell discuss the challenges and provide practical advice on how companies are leveraging low-code platforms to quickly fill and modify the process gaps exposed by the recent events.