How Do I Build a Business Case for Workload Automation?
Follow these four steps to prepare a solid business case for workload automation.
Building a business case for workload automation (WLA) is essential for ensuring your executive team understands your organization’s need for WLA. A sound argument will give them a clear picture of how workload automation can enhance your company’s operations and justify the investment. In other words, you must lay out a plan that proves your company requires workload automation and will see a return on the investment.
Establishing a workload automation business case is not a one-time event. Through back-and-forth conversation, you can ensure the C-suite has a deep appreciation for the challenges slowing down your business and how solving them with workload automation will give employees time back to focus on more high-value tasks.
These four steps will equip you with the information needed to make a solid business case for workload automation.
Step 1: Identify the business problem or challenge
Your executive team is sure to ask, “Why workload automation?” Begin your case with the fundamental issues workload automation solves and how they manifest within your business. Two key areas to address are workforce challenges and digital transformation.
- Workforce challenges
Is your workforce overwhelmed by manual, time-consuming work? The recent Great Resignation exacerbated this problem as people quit their jobs in droves, leaving behind a wake of open positions. Doing a few routine tasks may not be as big of a deal when you’re fully staffed, but when employees must take on former team members’ routine work, the responsibilities pile up quickly. Another consideration you may want to factor in is that workload automation allows an organization to redirect employees from low-value—albeit necessary—process-oriented tasks to work that may be more strategically important to the enterprise.
- Digital transformation
Does your organization struggle to meet the demands of digital transformation initiatives? This common problem is reinforced by the need to upskill employees who have limited available time. It’s challenging to prioritize digital innovation when basic duties are bogging you down. Additionally, many organizations employ decades-old technology that is holding their digital transformation initiatives back due to that technology’s inability to integrate with other systems.
Once you have an idea of the systemic challenges facing your business, identify the specific applications that would benefit from workload automation. Then, determine what your organization is currently spending on labor costs in these areas, and you can estimate your savings potential if workload automation handled those functions instead.
You’ll find the challenges often comes down to internal resources and bandwidth. Workload automation targets mundane, repetitive tasks to free up your employees to focus on more strategic initiatives—but it's not the only option.
Step 2: Identify possible solutions
A viable business case will identify at least two or three potential solutions before arguing for one over the others. It will also review probable costs for each alternative—both monetary and opportunity costs.
The business case for why you should implement workload automation usually involves three potential approaches:
- Do nothing. Naturally, doing nothing has the highest opportunity cost. Yes, new technology will involve investment, but what will it cost your company if you maintain the status quo and forgo the benefits of workload automation?
- Use a job scheduler. A basic job scheduler can solve some of the problems that often lead organizations to consider workload automation, but they have their limitations. For instance, a job scheduler’s constraints arise from its inability to work with multiple operating systems or platforms. Additionally, they’re not able to address error resolution if they encounter one while in operation.
- Implement workload automation. Workload automation has a higher level of intelligence. It’s a platform designed for today’s increasingly complex IT environments, as it can integrate across multiple systems and manage complex workflows that other tools can’t.
It’s worth noting that workload automation can be confused with other types of automation—like robotic process automation (RPA). While RPA works for applications and processes that don’t have a programmatic way of interfacing (meaning they only interface with humans), it doesn’t scale well. In contrast, workload automation excels in highly transactional environments.
With these elements on the table, you’ve reached the heart of your business case: recommending a solution.
Step 3: Recommend a preferred solution
You’ve considered the alternatives and decided to move forward with making the business case for workload automation—but not all WLA solutions are the same. Recommending a preferred solution will strengthen your argument.
Once you’ve explained why you think workload automation is the best solution for your company’s specific needs, recommend a particular product and reinforce your recommendation with the criteria you used to evaluate it.
A top-tier workload automation solution will deliver the service, support, and specialization that your company requires. Here are some criteria to consider:
- How well does the product integrate with your existing software, and is it adaptable to future upgrades?
- Does it contain features that make the solution easy to use, such as a drag-and-drop interface that doesn’t require extensive HTML knowledge?
- What level of expertise does the workload automation provider have in your company’s market niche?
- Is workload automation an integral part of the provider’s product offerings, or is it simply one among many?
Include these questions in your research, and once answered, you’ll be prepared to provide an educated recommendation.
Step 4: Describe the implementation approach
If you’re successful, you’ll have made a compelling case for why your company should implement workload automation and offered a research-backed recommendation for the best solution—but the work’s not done yet. Seal the deal by presenting an organized plan for implementation.
To create a blueprint for successful implementation, start by considering scale. How many processes will your organization be automating? Will the automation be limited to one data center or multiple locations? Will it be in the cloud?
Next, address which applications the solution will impact and how the workload automation application will communicate with them. Will you use an application programming interface (API)? Will you write scripts or use a built-in connector provided within the workload automation product?
As for roles and access, know who will have access to the system and what they will do with that access. For example, will you have certain employees be responsible for creating your automated workflows? Will they support operations and development and/or monitor or administrate the workload automation solution?
Painting a mental picture of the workload automation solution in action will help you strengthen your business case for workload automation.
Give workload automation the appropriate priority status
You’re likely seeking a workload automation solution for critical tasks within your organization. If it's automating business-critical processes, that makes workload automation a critical application.
The right business case will convince your internal audience that workload automation is the appropriate course of action to address the obstacles that are slowing your business' growth, diminishing employee satisfaction, and preventing you from delivering on ever-evolving member and customer demands. By distinctly identifying your business problems and possible solutions and then researching and recommending a platform and how to implement it, you can be confident in your business case for workload automation.
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