software development

Automation: On Your Mark! Get Set!

30 Mar, 16 | illumisoftadmin

Automation: On Your Mark! Get Set!

automation-1The term ‘Automation’ is used today to mean more than the automation of manufacturing or production processes. Automation refers to the systems commonly used for operating business processes.  Automating your processes guarantees consistency, reduces operating costs, and increases throughput by allowing your business to operate nearly, if not entirely, unattended, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


The degree to which your business processes may be Automated is called its Automatability. Automatability can be measured as a percentage, but is generally split into two categories: Partial and Complete.

Currently, there are no businesses that can be completely automated yet, but many of its processes can be.  Every business lies somewhere on the spectrum between Zero Automation and Complete Automation and it should be the ambition of any modern business to transition their processes toward Complete Automation.


First Tastes of Partial Automation

Businautomation-3esses start small when automating their processes, and often don’t realize that they are doing so.  A common first step toward automation in a small business is setting up an auto-responder for email that lets important contacts know that an employee is unavailable if they reach out at an inopportune time.

They might then find that they spend too much time setting up personalized emails to their prospective clients and choose to set up an auto-email campaign.  Auto-emailing sends a series of personalized marketing materials on their behalf.

Setting up off-the-shelf software like the auto-responder and auto-email campaign saves businesses considerable amounts of time and guarantees that the business is consistent with how they handle their email or any other processes.  As the business continues to grow it usually continues to purchase more off-the-shelf software products to Automate another step in the process.

automation-4However, businesses often find that there are gaps in the automatability of their processes and that it becomes increasingly difficult to find commercial, off-the-shelf software (COTS) that meets those needs without overlapping features or being difficult to integrate with their other COTS in their system.

Piecing together COTS in this way often leads to inefficiencies in both time and money, and leaves employees frustrated when they struggle to use multiple software products that were never intended to be used together.


Transitioning toward Complete Automation

 automation-5The most common initial response to inefficiencies in a disjointed off-the-shelf software system is to replace multiple inexpensive software products in the system with a large, but expensive, COTS suite.

COTS suites generally reduce frustration and increase efficiency by virtue of the fact that the products contained within the suite are designed to work well together.  However, as the business continues to grow even more, the areas where the business’s unique needs fail to align with how the software suite was intended to be used become glaringly obvious.  A software suite’s failure to align with the business’s needs results in continued manual intervention and prevents the business from achieving Complete Automation of their most critical processes.


Complete Automation through Custom Software

 Any business that operates in a market where differentiation is critical to their success will not, by definition, find an off-the-shelf software solution that allows Complete Automation of the processes which automation-6empower that business to succeed.

In order to fully transition your processes toward Complete Automation a custom software solution is absolutely essential.  Custom software is uniquely designed to Automate each and every unique process that enables a business to rise high above its competitors, and should that business continue to grow, or even change direction altogether, custom software can be resized and reshaped to maintain its tailored fit to those unique business processes.

Realizing Complete Automation reduces the operating costs and guarantees the consistency of business processes, and can allow the business the time needed to seek further profitable endeavors.

If you would like to learn more about how to Automate business processes or how Automation can help your business please reach out to me or visit our website at