14 May Process automation and remote work
The COVID 19 crisis has put the world economy in turmoil and has exposed companies with a lack of digital transformation. The fact that working remotely has become the only possible work option has taken many companies by surprise and they soon realized that they were not ready for the challenge. Companies that had already digitized their operations, have pleasantly discovered that process automation and remote work are a great combination.
In March, Sage Spain published an article, titled: “40% of SMEs cannot operate their businesses through remote working“. The press release contained the following statements:
- Nearly 40% of Spanish SMEs consider that working from home does not allow them to run their business in an efficient way. Sixty-seven percent believe that this will negatively affect their business.
- 67% believe the situation will affect businesses negatively.
- In general, there is scepticism regarding remote working, even though 61% are not clear on whether remote working will benefit their business.
- 52% of SMEs do not see remote working as beneficial if they do not have the right management tools.
There are two statements in this article that can provide us with a clear view on the situation:
- Companies that are having serious doubts about the remote working model have modernised some of their processes, but do not yet have a comprehensive digitalisation approach that includes all their processes.
- Their investments in software have been mainly geared at strengthening communication channels such as access to the Internet, email, web, etc., which are undoubtedly essential but do not provide value in terms of monitoring the organisation.
Face-to-face work vs. process automation and remote work
Face-to-face work undoubtedly has many benefits. Sharing a physical space with co-workers helps to strengthen the team bonds and there are certain types of meetings that are always best held in person. Indeed, a text-based conversation, or a video conference with connection problems, is not always the best option.
However, these circumstances cannot serve as an excuse, nor hide a reality. Too many businesses today still rely too heavily on manual workflows and paper forms.
Paper is not the only problem
We often associate manual processes with paper, but there can also be multiple failings in a digital workflow that make it difficult to manage the entire organization in a remote working environment.
For example, managing a workflow through emails or spreadsheets is as inefficient as doing it on paper.
It is true that we have the infrastructure to get the tasks to the right people. But we’re still very inefficient at keeping track of how the task is progressing. For example, sending a contract by mail for revision and approval means that the people who must intervene in the procedure are naturally going to ask themselves the following questions:
- Is this the latest version of the contract?
- Who is working on the contract now?
- Who will sign it later?
The solution is to automate processes and remote work!
Companies, that are undertaking digital transformation, that realise this implies more than simply modernizing some of their processes and involves a vision that includes automating 100% of their processes, have already established the necessary foundation for remote working.
Workflow is the key to automation and the only way to ensure that all the tasks that are part of the organization will be carried out in a consistent manner. this refers to the way tasks move through the organization, the order in which tasks are going to be executed, the people and the systems that are going to be involved.
In addition, and more importantly, it avoids unnecessary work and work duplication.
Optimizing the efficiency of remote work
Working remotely means being connected to colleagues and clients through mobile devices, laptops, etc. However, just as when we work face-to-face, it is necessary to record our work and, when required, assign tasks to other people to manage them.
Process automation and remote working platforms
A process automation solution can help us manage change in a structured way. There are already options on the market, such as the AuraPortal teleworking solution, that include processes to manage our activity calendars, purchase requests, documentation, or sick leave.
These types of solutions also include tools that enable us to develop new processes. They will provide a solution for the new internal and external needs (customers, suppliers, etc.) that may arise.
These tools will also record the organizations activities, which is an essential benefit of digitizing processes. For this reason, we will have absolute control of all the organization’s activities through reports and graphs that will help us in the decision-making process.
To conclude, it becomes apparent that with the right approach, remote working may in fact be an efficient, valid work model.