Within the quickly-evolving business environment, organisations are proactively seeking resilience and adaptability, while striving for lean, efficient operations. In this context, business automation has a lot to offer - streamlining communications and collaboration, reducing costs and boosting productivity. But how do you convince your leadership that the advantages of process automation are sufficient enough to make it worth investing in now?
A strong business case is a document that advises stakeholders on how strong an investment a particular initiative will be, how an organisation will reap a return, and how the costs can be justified. A well-structured business case for automation will also demonstrate the project's alignment with your organisation's vision, goals and strategy.
If you’ve never created a business case before, don’t worry. In this post, we have the perfect template for proving the advantages of process automation to your stakeholders, so all you need to do is fill it in.
Part 1: Identifying the problem
The first step is to specify a particular challenge, problem or opportunity. Identifying the business need will be the grounds on which your automation project is built upon. It needs to be a solid foundation with the ability to drive project progress. Ensure you articulate the problems or opportunities clearly and align them with your company's overarching goals.
Here are some of the common challenges business process automation can overcome:
- Complex business processes - numerous and disparate systems and applications are a recipe for time-consuming complications, difficulty and hassle.
- Errors - the more data, content and applications, the higher the risk of human error and the bigger the consequences.
- Manual reporting - informed and smart business decisions can only come from accurate and useful analysis of business data. Manually compiling reports is not only tedious and time-consuming, but it's also ripe with the chance of human error.
- Keeping up with compliance - complying with regulations is not negotiable but can traditionally be a strain on business resources.
- Approval backlog - a notorious bottleneck, approvals can be hamstrung when someone is busy or out of the office.
ACTION STEP: Identify the problem/s or challenge/s business automation can overcome in your business.
Part 2: List and analyse possible options
While it can be tempting to skip this step and move right on to your recommendations, it will leave your business case exposed to tough questioning. Get on the front foot by addressing all possible solutions (not just business automation) in your business case, rather than waiting for them to be brought up later.
ACTION STEP: Start a comparison table. For each possible solution, make sure to include pros, cons and estimated costs - this will help you score your options with a cost-benefit analysis.
Part 3: Recommend the desired solution and provide evidence
Based on your thorough research, now is the time to recommend your preferred solution. Take some time to describe precisely how business automation will resolve the problems or challenges you identified in Part 1. Make sure you link back in with your overarching business strategy and goals.
Here are some advantages of process automation that you may like to include in your reasoning:
- Reduce costs - automating tasks makes processes more efficient, saving your business money.
- Mitigate risks - automation can standardise processes and reduce human error. For example, Kyocera offers HR automation solutions that securely store employee files and provide controlled access to private information where needed.
- Boost productivity - now free from repetitive, tedious and desk-bound tasks thanks to automation, staff can become more agile, responsive to business demands and productive. For example, Kyocera cloud-based solutions empower mobile employees to stay mobile and still complete the administrative tasks required to keep the business going.
- Increase innovation - automation enables staff redeployment to areas of high impact, freeing them to work on strategic, high-value and creative tasks. For example, Kyocera accounts payable solutions save time and reduce repetitive manual tasks. By saving time, accounts payable resources can be designated to other value-adding activities within the company.
- Sharpen your competitive edge - automation isn't a thing of the future, keep up (or better yet, get ahead) of the competition by adopting sooner rather than later.
When choosing a business automation solution, make sure to analyse the vendors as well as the software itself. Consider things like reputation and vendor track record, support and security. Hunt down case studies as well as recommendations from peers.
ACTION STEP: Research software and vendor business automation solutions and detail the best fit options for your business's unique challenges.
Part 4: Implementation and next steps
Now you have your preferred solution, and you've made it clear exactly why it is the choice for your company, it's time to map out the next steps required. Try to anticipate any questions you may receive and include these in your plan.
ACTION STEP: Establish an implementation plan including budget, timeframe, required resources, and how the project's performance will be measured.
Whether you're looking to scale up or diversify your business, automation can help you create efficiencies, support future growth and add value to your organisation. Download our guide, Business Automation: How it generates value and supports growth, to learn more.