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Recently someone asked me, “How do we decide what kinds of work we want to try to automate with software when we’re looking to do process improvement projects?” The way we look at this is there’s a scale of low value to high value tasks that people typically work on, and one of the ways we can determine what a computer can try to automate for you using software is to look at this scale.
Low value tasks are typically things such as entering data, categorizing information that comes in, creating documents, populating data and documents in a contract, doing things such as that. High value tasks are more creative, design related tasks, hands-on customer tasks that a person does really well. And so the idea is when we look at tasks, one way we look at things to try to automate using software as much of the low value tasks, which often can take on a lot of a person’s day, and try to free them up so they can work on high value tasks with more of their time during the day.
Since human resources are some of the most expensive resources you have, it makes sense to have them doing those high value tasks as much as possible. Recently with a client we worked on a project that, when we looked at it, probably about 60% of their employee’s time was spent working on low value tasks that a computer could probably do, and so we spent quite a long time developing software that could do those tasks, wrapping that up, and taking those low value tasks – which were generating 3D drawings for some building products – completely off the employee’s plate, so they could work on special projects that require a lot of meetings with customers, hands-on work that were more profitable and really boosted value.
So, that’s one of the factors we look at for projects that determine what sort of work we should be doing, is to look at those low value tasks, have software that takes care of those automatically, and frees people up to work on high value tasks.