When and How to Automate SMEs: AGELESS Expert Opinion
Business automation is an integral part of the company’s growth. At a certain stage of development comes the realization that the changes are ripe – accounting software is not enough to run business, data sets are too large, and operating activities consume a lot of time.
However decide on crucial step is difficult because of the lack of IT landscape, financial and organizational risks.
How to make this process as comfortable as possible I told at the online Dnipro Forum of Outsourcing, held on November 26.
PREREQUISITES FOR AUTOMATION
Plan your development and your activities for several years ahead and choose the software you will use. There are two ways to do this:
- hire a full-time specialist;
- outsource automation.
However, to have a quality expertise within your company, you need to invest a lot of resources, including financial, in their development. It turns out that if you have highly qualified employees, your internal IT, it is a very expensive pleasure.
Outsourcing at first glance looks more expensive, because there is not always an understanding of what the outsourcer or contractor puts in the cost of a service. But you can always refer to the contract, which regulates the terms and results. And you can be sure that the solution is created by a team of professionals.
Your tasks are performed by people who are constantly evolving to be competitive. And they gain experience not only within one particular company, but also solve similar problems for different businesses.
SHOULD I INVEST IN AUTOMATION?
The return on investment in automation and IT landscape will be noticeable only in some time, when the business shows an increase in profitability, reduction of operating costs or opening new prospects for development.
However, automation for the sake of automation is a losing strategy that should not be focused on, just because it is fashionable or a competitor has a cool system.
Focus on your development plans for 3-5 years and see what tasks you have now and which will arise in connection with development plans. Only then select the system and plan your IT landscape according to these plans.
WHICH BLOCKS SHOULD BE AUTOMATED
Each business is unique in its own way, and you can’t give a single recipe to everyone. However, every business is on the pillars – it’s finance, purchasing, sales and inventory.
If at this level you have a chaos, a lot of Excel files, there is a gap in the processes, something is lost, something is incomprehensible, go into high matters at once is not worth it. We need to make an order here.
When this part of the IT landscape starts working properly, you will already get a tangible effect. And then you can move on – to automation.
HOW TO COMBINE PROCESSES NOT SPENDING ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD
In Ukraine now popular several solutions, including SAP. Each of the presented products has its own positioning, strengths and weaknesses. When you are communicating with contractors, it seems that they are telling the same things.
Also, at first glance, it seems that the systems are similar. But the difference of the solutions in details:
- compliance with business needs,
- solution architecture, functionality,
- development plans from the vendor company.
The last point is especially important because the management system must grow together with IT technologies.
You should also pay attention to the contractor company, as you will have a long cooperation. Therefore, the choice should be optimal and meet your needs.
The quality of the offer from the contractor, who must take into account all your tasks, is important. Otherwise, you may experience a significant change in the cost of services.
The responsible outsourcer will form a reasonable price offer. And in the process of project implementation there may be only minor deviations from the amount of the contract, which can also be provided by the terms of the contract.
HOW AUTOMATION DECISIONS AFFECT A COMPANY’S LIFE
Successful automation directly depends on the quality of preparation for implementation. High-quality support from the contractor, timely contacts and training of key employees are important here.
Also be prepared for a close partnership of your staff with the team of the contractor who performs certain tasks. Such cooperation should last the entire project, which will take several months.
Here it is important to trust a contractor who will help optimize the time of key employees so that they deal not only with automation, but also with their immediate responsibilities.
HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH CONTRACTORS
Before communicating with contractors, describe all the processes in detail. Otherwise, the contractor may not take into account the calculations or put extra.
Also note that the first phase of negotiations outsourcer provides the average market value of which is adjusted during the negotiation on specification.
WHICH SOLUTION WILL FIT YOU
At each stage of development, the business has completely different needs. Keep in mind the vector of development of the company, where and how you will move, what you will need in 3-5 years.
Choose a contractor partner who will help your business grow, not just exist. Note that it is already in the basic configuration of the system you choose.
If the functionality currently exceeds your current needs, it will become relevant in a while. You will save money because you already have it.
Focus on your business, the rest is up to the professionals. Outsourcing companies are getting better every day, improving their processes, evolving to remain leaders in a competitive environment.
Focus on what you are an expert at. For the rest – contact the best professionals.