So as another pretty challenging year draws to a close, we see those businesses that have taken practical steps to strengthen operationally are those that have responded best to the market’s prolonged volatility. Continuing to build this resilience into 2022 will be crucial. With last year’s accelerated trends of remote working, e-commerce and digitisation now firmly considered the norm, smart businesses have realised they must now introduce a leaner operational platform to weather future storms to maximise customer service and reduce waste. As businesses learn to live with the “new way” of doing things the scalability digital automation provides to help meet this end goal will be pivotal.
A lean operational approach should be at the top of every CEO’s Christmas list. This approach – where the central business goal is to focus on providing greater customer satisfaction whilst using as few resources as possible – requires leaner processes and procedures. By digitising these processes, many successful businesses in 2021 have already been able to track, monitor and efficiently manage their growth. Critically, by automating routine tasks as much as possible, they have left themselves breathing space to scale-up, and if necessary, easily scale down as market demands change.
The cost of automation has previously been too high or too unique to a particular business. But the low-code automation solutions now available democratise technology making automation more accessible to the everyday business user. The use of cloud-based low-code (simple scripting) and no-code (drag and drop) automation platforms, means that companies can build, operate and support an automated system with non-technical staff on a budget typically of just a few thousand pounds a year. Given the challenges of constricted budgets and fewer IT resources to support internal processes (as IT is simply still too busy digitising the whole business!) line-of-business teams should be looking at self-service by turning to low-code solutions to automate business operations, documents and knowledge quickly and easily.
Similarly, one of the critical benefits of digitisation is the ability to scale up or down quickly and seamlessly. Cloud-based software gives organisations the option to increase or decrease capacity with the click of a few buttons of a website.
One of the advantages of digitisation that perhaps we had not appreciated so much until this year is that modern cloud-hosted digital services do not care where you are in the world. They don’t care if you are at home or in the office as long as you can log in. Not every employee in every business can work from home, but there is no doubt that the more digitised savvy companies found this transition much more straightforward.
Lean automation can deliver time savings of 75-99% on routine work, and perhaps more significantly, increase accuracy. While it is overstating the case to say most businesses can be completely automated ( these kinds of gains can dramatically increase a team’s capacity. That means when your company finds itself back on the now familiar rollercoaster ride of recent months over 2022, your teams will have the time and ability to navigate and successfully manage the ups and downs.