SMEs are undeniably the catalysts of the economy, standing out for their agility and efficiency, essential attributes in a competitive market. The survival and growth of these companies depend on the incorporation of these fundamental values.
Faced with rapid technological evolution, SMEs with smaller teams may struggle to keep up with and take advantage of new technological solutions. Technology, when well integrated, can be a competitive differentiator, increasing the value offered to customers.
Innovation and improvement are common desires among entrepreneurs, although doubts often arise about how or where to start. Our experience suggests that transformation should start with a mindset change, similar to preparing for a marathon, which often must be led by the owner or management team. This change is crucial for the success of any digitization and automation initiative.
Developing the right mindset requires attitude and knowledge. It takes courage to accept change and humility to deeply analyze the key processes that generate value. It is essential to value employees as process experts and promote a culture that sees technological evolution not as a threat to employment but as an opportunity to enhance the human role, reserving decision-making for individuals and delegating repetitive tasks to machines.
With the right mindset established, it is possible to proceed with the analysis of the company’s process tree, identify the central processes in the value chain, and evaluate their readiness and effectiveness. Processes, which operate on the most mutable variables of an organization – people, software, and business – must be constantly improved and agile enough to allow for operational growth. It is essential to define success metrics that allow for a clear perception of each process’s performance.
With the mindset and stability of processes defined, we are ready to integrate technology, which is nothing more than a means to an end. With these foundations, it is feasible to implement automations, artificial intelligence, business intelligence, among other technological domains that confer greater agility and efficiency to processes, removing the operational burden from humans and placing them at the center of supervision and coordination.
In summary, process automation in SMEs is not just about implementing new technologies but a holistic transformation that begins with a change in mindset and extends to the continuous improvement of processes. Only then can SMEs strengthen their market position, offering value-added products and services and standing out in an increasingly competitive economic environment.