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How Automation Solves Process Problems as a Long Term Strategy

As you're looking for ways to streamline processes and cut costs at your business, you'll likely consider both automation and outsourcing. In this post, we'll share our perspective on the difference between the two, and why we believe automation is usually the better long-term strategy.

October 1, 2021

We all want to find ways to make our businesses more productive. Anything that can shave a few minutes off of a frequently repeated process can result in huge savings over the course of months and years. 

When trying to streamline processes to save time and money, many companies will likely consider two common strategies: automation and outsourcing.

In this short post, we want to quickly clarify the strategic difference between automation and outsourcing, and demonstrate why we at XRay are committed to using automation to permanently reduce robotic work.

Control and Refine Your Processes with Automation

First, let’s take a look at automation.

With XRay’s method for building automated workflows, the primary goal that guides our efforts is to amplify human output.

 We want people to do more with their time at work and be less distracted by the tedious tasks that often clutter their days. We believe that copying and pasting or moving data from one app into another is usually a waste of human potential, and that interrupting more valuable work just to write an update on what you’ve already done or download a document is an unnecessary distraction. 

To create more time for mindful work, we focus on collaborating with our clients and members to identify the robotic tasks in their workflows. These are tasks that don’t require any uniquely human characteristics like creativity, analysis, strategy, or thoughtfulness, which means they can be performed by a piece of software without sacrificing any quality. In fact, automation often improves the output of robotic tasks as it creates a perfectly consistent system 

When you work with XRay to automate one of your processes, we’ll help you to take control of that process and gain more visibility into it than ever before. We’ll document the automated workflow, track its activity, and refine it over time. If we find an area for improvement, we’ll gladly make and document the change for our members.

Outsourcing

Now let’s turn our attention to outsourcing.

Like automation, outsourcing will remove tedious tasks from your team’s workload. However, unlike automation, hiring another company to perform your robotic work is ultimately a one-sided and partial solution. 

While outsourcing might appear to solve the problem from your end, it really just shifts the burden over to somebody else. From our perspective, nobody should have to be doing robotic work all day, no matter where they are in the world or how their labor market is priced. 

What’s more, outsourcing the execution of a process typically means that you’re outsourcing control of it as well. You won’t know exactly how your data is moving from Point A to Point B, and your only visibility will come from periodic check-ins and reports. You won’t be able to improve the process or learn from it to refine similar workflows that your team is still conducting, or track the workflow each time it's conducted to gather precise, detailed metrics.

Long-term strategy

Going with either outsourcing or automation is a choice that’s up to each individual business, but we believe that exploring automation will be more rewarding In the long run for most companies. Outsourcing tends to be a race to the bottom, prioritizing cutting costs and replacing people over actually improving a process. 

Automation lets you retain control and visibility into your processes, while leaving much of the execution up to software. Rather than replacing your team, it lets them fulfill their roles better than ever, as they’ll have more time to focus on the challenging and valuable work that you hired them to do in the first place. For instance, instead of spending all of their time responding to the 80% of inquiries that can be handled with templates and automated systems, your sales or support team can concentrate their time on the 20% more difficult and complex questions that require human input and ingenuity. 

If you’d like to learn more about how automation can help your company to save time and increase output, you can check out our blog or our YouTube channel. You can also follow XRay on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Feel free to reach out to us at any time with questions, and we’d be happy to help.

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