We all end up doing a lot of work that we don’t need to do. That’s not to say that it doesn’t need to be done–it might be a critical operation that needs to be performed, but does it need to be done by you?
From both administrative and end-user perspectives, there are a number of activities, processes, and tasks in Office 365 that can be automated through the use of Power Automate.
The converse side is that not everything can or should be automated.
There are lots of areas and tasks you can automate. As I draw near the finish line for my upcoming book on Power Automate, I wanted to take a step back and pontificate about how we can determine what to automate.
May I present the Power Automate Decision Quad:
When looking at tasks to automate, they generally fall into one of these four categories:
- High value, low skill – requires minimal specialized skill but is critical or produces high-value output
- High value, high skill – requires human intelligence or processing to determine value, skills, and relationships
- Low value, low skill – requires minimal specialized skill and also produces output of small value
- Low value, high skill – requires high degree of focus or skill but produces output of small value
As you examine tasks in your daily routine, you can evaluate them against the above matrix to help understand if it is something that can or should be automated. Items that fall into the ‘low skill’ quadrants are very good candidates for automation.
Look at the following example:
- Running a report of the previous day’s sales totals is a repetitive task that requires low specialized skill. If possible, you should seek to automate this task.
- Calling a customer for follow-up on a demo unit that was sent. This is a high-touch, high-value activity, but requires the personalization and complexity of human relationship management to execute effectively. This task is not a good candidate for automation.
As you sift through your email, instant messages, and desk walk-ups (though, in the era of COVID, they’re likely coming in via email or IM), use the Power Automate decision quad to help you figure out what to do. As you can see, things that are repetitive, low-skill tasks that don’t require the personal touch are great candidates for automation.
Low value, high skill? If it’s not valuable, you probably should re-evaluate what you’re doing. And then, not do that thing.
Technology’s role, from my perspective, is really an enabler to help you spend less time with things and more time with people.