Business automation is quickly becoming an essential tool for optimising internal operations and improving efficiency. However, with any technology-related project, there are always risks of failure and mistakes to be made.

Here are the top five mistakes businesses make when trying to automate their internal operations, as well as a checklist of what businesses should focus on before investing in automation.

1) Insufficient Research:

Before investing in any automation project, it’s vital to do plenty of research and determine which techniques and tools are the most suitable for your business. There are so many options available these days, from established players like Zoho and SAP, to customised providers that make bespoke software.

Make sure to research the various automation tools available, read customer reviews to get a better understanding of what’s out there, and always get a hands-on demo of the tool.

2) Over-Automating:

Too often, businesses try to automate as many processes as possible, and end up making their operations too complex. Automation should not replace the human touch, but rather complement it. Aim to automate only those processes that can benefit from automation and require the least amount of human intervention. Rule of thumb: if it is a repetitive task, and can be done faster, cheaper, and with fewer mistakes, it’s usually automatable.

3) Not Testing the Automation:

As with any technology-related project, testing is essential in order to ensure the system is working properly and meeting expectations. Just because the installation is complete, it doesn’t mean it’s road-ready yet. Make sure to thoroughly test the automation system before deploying it in production. The testing and sign-off should always be done by the person/team that will be using the software in their day-to-day work, not by anyone else. That way, any real issues can be identified and solved immediately.

4) Ignoring Security:

In today’s world, security is one of the most important factors when deploying any type of technology. There have been dozens of issues, lawsuits, and scandals due to poor security procedures and weak implementation.

Before investing in automation, it’s important to ensure that any data collected and stored is kept secure at all times. Security measures should also be taken to protect any automated system from potential cyber threats. Lastly, ensure the entire team is trained on appropriate security policies.

5) Neglecting User Experience:

Automation projects should always prioritise user experience. This means designing the automation system in such a way that it’s easy to use and understand, as well as being able to integrate seamlessly with existing systems. There is nothing more frustrating than having to use a new tool that is slower, clunkier, or less usable than the old. As a suggestion: have the person/team that will be using the tool involved heavily in designing the workflow and experience. That way, the tool will be optimised for those roles, and make the uptake much smoother and easier.

Before investing, tick off on the following checklist:
  • Is this the best tool for what we require (not just ‘popular’)?
  • What are we automating? Why is this a good idea to automate? How will it help?
  • Where can it break? How can we protect the data and systems once this goes live?
  • Where are the vulnerabilities? How easy is it to be hacked?
  • How easy and intuitive is the interface? Would a new joiner be able to get up to speed faster using this?
If you’re looking at bringing automation into the business, download the Technology Implementation Checklist here.

About the author

Murtaza Manji
Business Strategy & Leadership Coach
Entrepreneur, award-winning business strategy coach, and international speaker, Murtaza Manji is the co-founder of Kaizen Consulting Group which he set up in the UK in 2011 before expanding to the UAE a year later. Since then, the company has evolved significantly with ambitious plans to expand further. His vision is to positively impact the countries the Group operates in by supporting clients to create lasting values and legacies.

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Murtaza Manji - Managing Partner of Kaizen Business Consulting Group Dubai
Kaizen’s team of experts have worked with 1050+ companies across 16 different industries worldwide to achieve higher profits, greater productivity, and sustainable growth by creating efficient systems and structure. Get in touch today to see how we can support you.