6 Errors to Avoid When Automating Processes


Creating a business process that works to meet the needs of your team and your customers is an endeavor that requires a lot of planning and effort. The same is true when you decide to automate that business process. Choosing to automate is a step that should be planned out to avoid making mistakes.

When choosing to implement workflow automation, you have to keep in mind what the goal of your process is, as well as what key tasks make up the process. Those pieces of knowledge will help inform your decision on where automation should be best implemented, and how to do so without coming across the six pitfalls of automation listed below.

When You Design Your Workflow Around The Engine

One error that many workflow designers make is creating a workflow to work around a specific engine. They choose a software that works for them, then take to building the process to fit the needs of the software. Instead, a business process should be planned in detail well before the engine is in place. There will, of course, be adjustments to fit the engine at the end of its implementation into the system, but before that, your process needs to be defined firstly by its goal, and then by the tasks that lead to such a goal. Without designing according to these tasks, you’re relying on only the engine — which means that during the times when automation isn’t occurring, your process is at a standstill. There are still human elements to every workflow, and you need to consider those a part of your design. Only then will you have a workflow that will work as intended, without unnecessary stops and starts.

When Processes Get Too Automation-Heavy

What every process requires is different, of course, but a vast majority of these can benefit from automation to some degree. Using a cloud native workflow engine is a great way to guide these processes and their automations, but it shouldn’t preclude the use of skilled human labor. In fact, the use of too much automation can become a point of contention for your human workers, as it tends to end in replacing skilled humans with machines. However, every automated system needs that human element as a part of the checks and balances that keep the machine “well-oiled”. A process that’s too automation-heavy is one that can run rampant when left unchecked.

When Automation Is Applied Incorrectly

There is another danger to too much automation within a workflow: namely, there are tasks that don’t require automation, and so those automations prove unnecessary and become a waste of resources. Certain tasks are even better off with human laborers behind them, so in these cases it would also be wasteful and detrimental to insist on applied automation therein. The same is true of automating inefficient tasks: if a task is not optimized to perform correctly, then it can be a source of wasted effort, wasted resources, and of course, wasted automation, causing detriment to the whole process if left to continue its inefficient work on a larger scale thanks to such automation.

When Your Goals Are Not Aligned

One of the things that can cause concern for businesses is the lack of appropriate goal-setting for the automations that are put into place. For example, when a business emphasizes the revenue from a process rather than ways to improve the process, that goal leads the business to make shortsighted decisions when trouble comes. Numerous issues receive short-term solutions, and over time, money is wasted in these operational fixes rather than allowing for the investment of time and money into a better workflow that wastes less overall.

When You Choose The Wrong Engine

You’re faced with many, many choices when it comes to software designed to aid in automating and orchestrating your business processes. However, the choices that suit your needs are far more limited. By planning out the goal and the tasks integral to your own workflow, you’ll be able to more easily think of the most crucial features and type of platform that you need. Shopping between all these features and the platforms that support automation may seem like a daunting task on its own, but the worst thing you could do here is choose indiscriminately and find that the software you’ve chosen doesn’t have the features and the support that you need for your particular process. After all, workflows are all made differently, and they require specific support from the workflow engine they are going to use.

When You Get Ahead Of Yourself

Before anything, you need to be sure that you’re ready for automation. For one thing, you need to be sure that your business is primed for the change. Whether it’s that you need to onboard your team or your clients, there’s a specific way to handle a transition in processes, and you need to be sure that everyone is aware of what to expect. Another problematic way to start automating is by doing so without testing the process automation first. Going live without doing this extremely important step is likely to cause more hiccups. Testing before going live is actually the best way to suss out these hiccups — and to fix them before they affect actual clients, actual process resources, and actual work. With any level of automation, such testing is a crucial step and a surefire way to make sure you don’t get ahead of yourself when implementing.