There is a formula for success — it is an equation that is made up of gathering data, creating a plan, having an advocate and pouring in a little practical advice.
The first part of the formula is gathering the data you need in order to “know your number.” If you are not clear on how to calculate “your number”, or cost per process (cost of processing a payment from invoice receipt through vendor payment), then there are 5 steps that you can follow to determine your number. The 5 steps are:
- Create a process map
- Find the number of people in each step
- Notate the amount of time that is spent on each step
- Apply a cost to the time and steps
- Do some math: Total Cost ÷ Number of Invoices or Payments
Now that you have your number, then it is time to plan. It is important to create a plan for the people who will have new time that is available as a result of automation, and the more detailed the plan is the bigger the impact automation software will have on your organization.
If you look at the formula for success in sequential order, then it would look like this: have your numbers, know your plan, and next would be to identify an advocate. The advocate can be a person or a group, but there has to be a driving force for automation to be successful. The advocate is a real wild card in the formula, because it is difficult to locate the right advocate and they are a very critical component of success.
The advocate has to have soft skills that have effortlessly earned them the trust and respect of the people within your organization, and lead to them almost innately being viewed as a thought leader.