Over the last 15 years, I’ve had the luck to have a front-row seat in watching organizations move processes from paper to digital. Imagine a hiring process where resumes are printed (it hurts me just to type that), placed into an inter-departmental folder and manually delivered to reviewers. As you can imagine, only one person could review the resume at a time, and the conversations were held in a review meeting. The paper was changed to an online resume, with an online review form that streamlined the process and allowed for more efficient hiring decisions.
In this time, I’ve held a 50-year-old accounting ledger that was used to provide employee identification numbers and transformed a completely manual process into an employee experience that included Human Resources, Information Technology and Facilities. The change ensured that all new employees had the right materials, access and training that they needed 98% of the time on their first day, compared to 60%.
Luckily these years have brought the adoption of cloud technologies like Google, AWS and Microsoft 365. These ecosystems either directly provide automation tools or easily integrate with them. Admittedly, I’ve been focused on Microsoft 365, so I’ll focus on these ever more accessible tools here. The technologies themselves are irrelevant (although I’ll mention PowerApps, PowerAutomate, UI Path, SharePoint Syntex, Azure AI Builder to make the article easier to find online), it’s what they accomplish that’s important.
The simplest move from paper is to build a digital form. Think of the tablet at your doctor’s office instead of using a pen and then having someone re-type that information into a system. Speaking of that, another capability of automation is to remove the necessity for a person to re-type data from one system to another. Add on top of these examples the ability to have a system follow a process, send reminders and ensure accuracy of data, and your organization can focus on more valuable issues at hand.
Working with the experts across Advisory, Audit and Tax at Withum, we’re going to create industry-focused articles that will cover exactly what processes we’ve helped our clients automate and the value they’ve received. There’s no limit to what can be automated, so be sure to check out every article in the series, even if it’s not your industry!