Automating Manual Processes
It is often said that necessity is the mother of invention, and in our experience that’s the approach business users adopt.
There is a problem and it’s solved. Since most organisations provide Excel to users, it is often where the problem is solved and a workbook solution is created.
However, business (and their analysis) never stand still and that workbook is changed, adapted an updated for new business requirements and changing conditions.
The workbook may change so much that it unrecognisable from its original creation. The workbook becomes part of a monthly procedure and embedded in departmental process.
Furthermore, because the solution was developed in an incremental manner it relies on a key person (usually the creator) to update and maintain it.
This maintenance becomes a lengthy procedure and is subject to error.
It is not hard to see that the process of updating data, changing conditional values and maintaining these kinds of workbooks
do not add any real value to the organisation – after all it’s the output that’s important and not maintenance.
Of course, the workbook is synonymous with any number of systems and can include personal databases and a web of tools and technologies.
By automating the process (of the key person), technology can be used to create efficiencies through data preparation and presentation.
The activities of the key person (including validation, substitution and replacement) can usually be automated so that the outcome is available and ready for use as required.
This removes the traditional (key person) risk with the process and (to some extent) formalises the work that has been done.