Automations are like magic to end-users. They can make their lives easier, without their knowing why!
But for the admins who build them, they can feel closer to rocket science. So it’s no wonder that some orgs take a set-it-and-forget-it approach. Why fix what isn’t broken?
Except with automations, you never want to wait for something to “break” to get your attention. Should the wrong thing crash, that can cost you financially, in data quality, and certainly time.
By the way, the same is true for integrations. And since those often require third-party access to your data, you definitely want to ensure those are working properly!
Below are 8 questions I recommend asking from time-to-time. Make sure those automations are really serving your org.
8 Questions to Audit Your Org’s Automations
1. When was the last time the automation was updated?
How long ago did an admin or consultant lay eyes on this thing? That alone should tell you if it’s worth glancing over.
Tip: For integrations, check the last time your vendor released an update too. This will tell you if they’re continuing to invest in their own technology (and potentially highlight if anything should be re-installed or reconsidered).
2. What data points does it touch (and are they still relevant)?
If your data model has changed at all (ex. maybe you added new custom objects, or fields to existing records), double-check that the automation is hitting the data points your team still uses.
3. Is it still working as expected?
Following up from the last point – are your records still updating properly? Check a few records to make sure that your triggers and outputs are still correct.
4. Is it still having the desired impact?
Maybe an automation was created to save time on a certain task, that has since been made easier with a new feature. Or maybe that real-life process no longer happens at your org!
Either way, the impact isn’t just about the tech. You really want to see how this automation serves your org overall.
5. Is it seeing errors?
Depending on the platform, you may get notified as errors occur or you may need to check the logs in your system’s back-end. Either way, figure out if any errors have been happening and why that’s the case.
One-off errors obviously happen. But if you’re seeing a pattern, this may be an opportunity to adjust something in your tech or in your org’s overall process.
6. How does it relate to other active automations?
This is especially important when we talk about marketing automation. If your org has any sort of automated email process, see how that automation stacks up with the rest. Are constituents getting overlapping messages (or being inundated with emails because they’re triggering multiple automations)?
7. Is there room to simplify or optimize?
Has your data been organized or restructured in a way that might allow for a simpler build? Or, has your database vendor released features that make any part of your automation obsolete?
Maybe you’ve become such a pro since that automation first went up, and you know you can build something better! 😉 The point is, simplify if you can. Don’t make your system work harder than it has to.
8. Will anyone notice if it’s gone?
Let’s say you decide that an automation should no longer see the light of day! Before you nix it, try to anticipate those after-effects. Will someone miss it once it’s gone?
When in doubt, de-activate for a period of time first. Give users (and yourself) the chance to spot any issues before you make hard-to-reverse decisions.
It’s so hard to say goodbye…
…but sometimes, those automations have got to go! Remember to make automation and integration audits part of your regular database maintenance routine.