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How to start automation?

In modern business, automation plays an important role in increasing efficiency, improving productivity and reducing transaction costs. 

But where to start in order to successfully implement it in your company? In this article, we will look at an action plan in order to start automation on the right note.

Automation is the introduction of technologies and systems that are capable of performing tasks without direct human involvement. This range of technologies includes everything from simple scripts and bots to complex intelligent systems. The main purpose of automation is to increase the speed of work, increase efficiency and reduce the likelihood of errors.

Many people think that automation and optimization are the same thing, but they are not.

Optimization is the process of improving the current workflow in order to increase its efficiency. During optimization, each stage of the process is analyzed, redundant steps are identified and eliminated. Optimization focuses on improving performance and eliminating losses.

The goal of optimization is to improve efficiency, save resources (time, money, materials) and increase productivity. Optimization strives to make the best use of available resources.

Let's take an example:

Company “X” conducted an analysis of its operations and found that the time spent on processing customer orders is too long due to excessive approval stages. And we came to the conclusion to completely restructure the application processing process in order to reduce costs and improve the customer experience.

And the main goal of automation is to make processes more efficient and less dependent on human intervention. This can help to increase the speed of task completion and reduce the risk of errors.

Let's look at the same example, but with automation in mind:

Company “X”, after analyzing the customer processing process, decided to reduce time costs when approving purchases and decides to implement specialized software for order management.

Now, when a customer submits an order through the company's website, this system is automatically:

  1. Registers the order and creates an electronic notification for the relevant department;
  2. Checks the availability of goods in the warehouse;
  3. Places a purchase order if there are not enough goods in stock;
  4. Sends a notification to the customer about the order status and the expected delivery date.

This allows X to significantly reduce the time previously spent on manual order management, as well as reduce the likelihood of errors and improve the accuracy of order processing. Among other things, it can also easily monitor and analyze order data, which helps in making strategic decisions and improving customer service.

Every entrepreneur, faced with the task of developing an IT product, wonders: "Where should I start?" 

At this stage, many opportunities open up to him, and the right choice can significantly affect the success of his business. Remember that we have already talked about the importance of defining a goal.  It becomes the starting point for determining the next steps.

If you already have a clear goal and you have analyzed your business, then the next question you should ask yourself is: "What do I want to get in the end?". 

At this stage, two main directions can be distinguished: automation of existing processes or the creation of an MVP (minimally viable product) to test new ideas or hypotheses.

Automation is basically an improvement on an existing process. It is preferable if you have specific operations that can be accelerated. For example, if your employees spend a lot of time on routine tasks that can be automated, such as CRM management, automatic report generation, interaction with suppliers, or electronic document management. All this belongs to the field of automation.

Entrepreneurs often say: "Let's automate everything at once!" But is it worth it? 

Imagine that your business is like a complex mechanism consisting of many details. Every detail fulfills its function. Automation, in turn, represents the improvement of these details. If we replace all the parts at the same time, the mechanism may just stop.

On the other hand, an MVP or minimally viable product is a way to test new ideas on the market. If you have a new direction or hypothesis, and you want to try them out without large financial investments, creating an MVP is your choice.

To determine which path to choose, go back to your original goal, which we discussed earlier. If your goal is to optimize and increase efficiency, then choose automation. If you want to test new ideas and evaluate the market reaction, start by creating an MVP.

An MVP (minimally viable product) is not just a design or prototype, but a version of a new product that allows the team to receive the maximum amount of feedback from users with minimal costs in the shortest possible time.

Let's look at this with an example:

Let's say you plan to develop a mobile app for online food ordering. Instead of immediately starting to develop a full-fledged application with all possible functions, start by creating an MVP. This MVP will only include basic functions such as selecting a dish, adding to the cart, and paying. It will not include additional features such as reviews, restaurant ratings, or detailed order tracking.

Thus, with the help of MVP, you can check how much people really need your app, whether they are ready to use it to order food and which functions are most important to them.

As soon as you receive feedback and make sure that your idea is in demand, you will be able to further develop the product by adding new features and improving existing ones.

How is our development process conducted?

Entrepreneurs often ask the question: "How to bring an idea to life or improve current processes?".

Over the years of our company's work, we have realized one thing, that there is no universal answer, but there are proven methods.

When it comes to improving existing processes, such as automation, we most often offer design development

This format includes: 

  1. Fixed cost;
  2.  Clear deadlines;  
  3. Warranty for bug fixes for 3 months. 

If you already have a technical specification (TOR), we are ready to evaluate it, provide a commercial offer and conclude a contract.

However, the company or entrepreneur does not always have a clear and detailed TOR. 

It is often more of a wish list or a "wish list".

In such cases, we offer an additional service, the development of technical specifications, which includes: 

  1. Aggregation of business requirements;
  2. Detailed schedule of the technical task with a clear structure in 2 weeks;
  3. Provision of technical specifications in the form of a document and the structure of the mindmap project.

This becomes a reliable foundation that helps you and your team to clearly navigate and move in the right direction, regardless of whether you decide to cooperate with us.

If we are talking about a new idea or product, then a different approach is possible. We often recommend starting by creating an MVP (minimum viable product). This is a strategy that allows you to quickly and cost-effectively test your hypothesis on a real audience. 

For such tasks, we offer flexible hourly development

You select the required number of hours (for example, 100, 200, 400, etc.), and our team gets to work. 

This format is ideal for quickly launching a project and evaluating its relevance.

In both cases, whether it's project collaboration or hourly development, clear communication and understanding of your goals remain key factors. Our goal is to help your business grow and develop by providing optimal solutions to turn your ideas into reality.

Since each case is unique, the approach to automation should be individual in each case.

1) Defining goals and analyzing current processes

The most important step is to identify the processes that are most time-consuming and require improvement. 

Do an analysis: where exactly do you spend the most time and resources? These areas will become your priorities for automation.

2) Search for solutions

Explore the market and look for the right tools and solutions for automating tasks. Consider integrating off-the-shelf solutions or developing your own software, if necessary.

3) Implementation

Select the priority areas for automation and start implementing the selected solutions. Ensure that your team is trained and trained to work with new tools.

4) Monitoring and adjustment

Install a monitoring system to track the effectiveness of automated processes. Analyze the data regularly and make adjustments to improve performance and results.

Creating an MVP is a way to understand the needs of the market without creating a complete product.

1) Defining goals and key functions

Start by defining the core value of your future product. 

What exactly do you want to offer consumers? 

What key features should be included?

What value do you give to your product?

2) Creating a prototype

Develop a simplified version of the product, focusing on key features

For example, when creating an online food ordering service, remove all unnecessary items and focus on the essence of the idea. This will avoid unnecessary costs.

3) Testing

Test the prototype with real users or a target audience. Collect feedback and data on how users interact with the product.

4) MVP improvement

Based on feedback and data from testing, make the necessary improvements and adjustments to the MVP.

5) Scaling

If the MVP has been successfully tested and attracted the interest of the target audience, consider scaling the product by adding new features and expanding its functionality to meet the needs of the market.

Automation is an investment in the future of your business. By following the action plan, you can successfully start automation and improve the efficiency of your company. As our example shows, properly planned and implemented automation or an MVP product can significantly improve the performance of a business and increase its competitiveness.

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