Let’s do a weeks’ worth of work in 10 minutes

Doing a weeks worth of work in 10 minutes will make you this happyWhat if told you it is entirely possible to do your entire weeks’ worth of work in only 10 minutes?

I’m going to cast my mind back a few years, 2008 to be exact. I’ll set the tone for you, I’m sitting at a workstation, and next to me is a PA who is sitting there absolutely stunned in amazement, for I have just done 5 days’ worth of work in 10 minutes.

How was this absolute piece of voodoo achieved? By nothing more than building a reporting utility, which automated most of the manual processes that this PA needed to do on a monthly basis.

The organisation is a charity organisation that collects government funding. As such they have reporting obligations to show where the money is going. They are keeping the data in a database system, it’s just all the database could do was spit out what we call a data dump. Just imagine a collection of very large spread sheets, and this PA had the unenviable job of trying to sort this raw data into an actual report each month.

The thing is this is exactly the sort of work a computer can do much better than humans. It was a repeatable process, the same data came from the same set of sources each month, very few decisions needed to be made, and most decisions where based on the data itself, for example did this team stay in budget this month if not include their name in this additional report.

The other thing with a large manual process like this, no one can manually look over 50,000 records over the course of a week and sort them out perfectly. Thus human errors will slowly creep into reports which can be very difficult to spot. Computers on the other hand can look over 50,000 records in a matter of seconds. For a large system 50,000 records is child’s play to analyse. So not only does this automation process speed everything up, it also makes the result far more accurate.

So this week, have a think of every task you and your employees currently do, and just think if that task is repeatable, and if so could it be better handled by your computer system.

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