How to become an Automation Superhero
Here’s Justin’s latest post from CIO.com. You can read it here or check it out along with those from other thought leaders over at CIO.
Many business processes have been streamlined through automation but the production of documents and documentation often seems to be neglected.
We’re all aware of the benefits of automation. Our network monitoring, backups, integrity and heath checks, spam filtering, intrusion detection, software builds and unit tests are all largely automated. One area that often seems to be left out in the cold is the automation of documents and documentation.
The document assembly/automation space has come a long way in the last decade particularly with systems that are founded on XML and are architected openly, enabling integration with necessary upstream and downstream systems. Clearly I’m biased; it’s what we at Exari have committed ourselves to for that past 10 years. Imagine what a superhero you could become in your company if you were able to achieve the following:
A sales enquiry comes in from your website. The lead wants more information. By filling in a simple, relevant online interview the prospect can potentially receive a customized business case or quote for your offering. It would be correctly branded, be up to date with the latest product information, pricing and discounts. An ROI analysis could be included based on the gathered information giving them even more compelling reasons to buy. Sample usage and support terms could also be delivered. Tell me that’s not going to excite your sales staff.
Software configuration and documentation
Your lead has been converted and you’ve made the sale. They’ve paid for your software offering and are ready to have it installed and configured. Your product has a myriad of modules, configuration and installation options. An online interview combined with the previous sales information can gather information about the specific environments, required options and configuration parameters. From this you can deliver customized installation, configuration files and operation guides and potentially even the configured software itself.
Do your product and service contracts still need to be approved by legal? Sure for unique, custom or ad hoc transactions legal needs to be deeply involved. But what about for standard deals – deals that are predictable and have a finite number of controlled variations? We all recognize that there are repeatable patterns around all common transactions. The business rules around these types of documents should be built into the document creation process. There should be a single source for such documents with up to date terms, pricing and conditions. Your business users should be able to generate these documents without legal intervention.
So next time you start thinking about how you’re going to make an impact by improving business processes don’t forget about automating your documents.
Where have you improved your business processes? Please let us know below in the comments.