The world is becoming more automated, and businesses are looking for ways to streamline their operations and increase efficiency. As a result, the demand for automation consulting has grown exponentially.
According to a report by Grand View Research, the global RPA market size is expected to reach $25.56 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 40.6%. That’s why intelligent automation consultants, including RPA consultants, Zapier consultants, and automation consultants, are becoming more important than ever before.
In this article, we’ll show you how to become a successful automation consultant and provide you with practical tips for building a thriving consulting business. We’ll also share insights into the latest trends and technologies shaping the field of automation consulting. Over half of companies have already started their automation journey, with another 19% planning to start within the next two years.
It’s clear that the future of work is now, and automation consultants are playing a critical role in shaping it. Let’s dive into the world of automation consulting and discover how you can become a part of this exciting and lucrative field.
What is Automation Consulting?
Automation consulting is an essential service that helps businesses to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced business landscape. With the help of automation consultants, businesses can streamline their operations and improve efficiency, enabling them to focus on their core competencies and drive growth.
The role of automation consultants is to assess a client’s business processes, identify opportunities for automation, and recommend the best tools and techniques to achieve their goals.
One of the most popular automation tools is Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which involves using software robots to automate repetitive and rule-based tasks.
Low-code platforms are another popular tool that enables businesses to build applications quickly without extensive coding knowledge.
Process mining, on the other hand, uses data to analyze business processes and identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks.
Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are advanced technologies that enable businesses to automate complex tasks such as decision-making, natural language processing, image recognition, and even content generation.
What do Automation Consultants do?
Automation consultants help businesses to choose the most suitable automation tools based on their specific needs, industry, and budget. They assist with the entire process, from initial process discovery to implementation, training, and maintenance.
Automation consultants follow a well-defined methodology to ensure that the automation solution meets the client’s requirements and provides the desired benefits.
Automation consulting is a critical service that helps businesses to optimize their operations, reduce costs, and increase productivity. By leveraging automation tools, methodologies and techniques, businesses can gain a competitive edge and focus on driving growth.
Automation consultants play a critical role in enabling businesses to achieve these goals, providing expert guidance and support throughout the entire automation journey.
Getting Started as an Automation Consultant
Becoming an automation consultant requires a combination of education, training, and practical experience.
Education and Training:
Start by gaining a solid understanding of automation tools and techniques, as well as business process management. Consider taking courses or certifications in RPA, process mining, Intelligent document processing (IDP), low-code platforms, AI, and ML.
You may also benefit from training in project management, change management, and general consulting.
Build Your Network:
Building a strong network is essential for success as an automation consultant. Attend industry events, join online communities, and connect with other professionals in the field. Seek out mentors who can provide guidance and support as you build your career.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. In our experience, the industry is full of fantastic people willing to provide advice.
Gain Practical Experience:
Practical experience is critical for building your credibility as an automation consultant. Consider working on automation projects as part of an internship or apprenticeship program. Try taking the training and certifications you’ve earned and putting them to use in a friend’s company (either for customer references or paid).
You can also gain experience by volunteering for non-profit organizations or taking a job at a larger consultancy to learn firsthand.
Develop a Niche:
As an automation consultant, you’ll want to develop a niche that sets you apart from others in the field. Consider focusing on a specific industry (such as healthcare, marketing, or insurance) or type of automation tool, such as RPA (UiPath, Automation Anywhere, Microsoft Power Automate, etc), chatbots, Intelligent document processing (IDP), low-code apps, API-based automation (Zapier), or process mining.
By developing a niche, you can become a go-to expert in your area of specialization.
Create your Automation Vendor toolkit
Finding the right automation vendor is a crucial step in becoming an automation consultant. It’s important to identify the category your current specification falls into before choosing a vendor:
- Are you a managed service provider with an existing automation implementation practice?
- Do you see the demand from your customers and want to start offering automation implementation services?
- Are you starting an intelligent automation implementation business from scratch?
Answering these questions will give you a better idea of what offerings to look for in a vendor, whether it’s training, networking opportunities, or other related options.
Keep in mind that choosing the right automation vendor can make all the difference in the success of your automation consulting business. So take the time to research and evaluate different vendors before making a decision.
Find Your First Clients:
Finding your first clients can be challenging, but there are several strategies you can use to get started. Consider leveraging your existing network, reaching out to warm contacts, or using social media platforms like LinkedIn to connect with potential clients.
Cold outreach can also be effective, but be sure to tailor your message to the client’s specific needs and pain points – this part is difficult to automate!
Join a dedicated talent marketplace:
If you’re an Intelligent Automation (IA) freelancer or consultant, starting your journey on a dedicated marketplace could be a great way to get the first few clients. You could start with short-term sites like fiverr.com or Upwork, but joining a truly dedicated, niche marketplace like Automatorr can be a game-changer.
There’s an old saying, “fish where the fish are”. By joining a specialized automation talent platform, you’ll be able to tap into a vast network of IA practitioners worldwide, work on a variety of exciting and challenging projects, and increase your earning potential while maintaining a flexible schedule that accommodates your personal and professional commitments.
Demo your services:
Providing a demo of your services can go a long way in convincing potential clients of the value that you can bring to their business. By showcasing the benefits of automation, you can help them understand the potential for increased efficiency, productivity, and cost savings, whether in productivity gained, or cost saved. Additionally, explaining your methodology and how it aligns with their specific needs and goals can help build trust and confidence in your services.
Trying to do this via excel spreadsheets looks unprofessional and can put off clients from using your services. However, by using a dedicated automation pipeline tool like SilkFlo, you can easily showcase to your clients the benefits that an automation project can bring via one dashboard.
SilkFlo’s ideation feature allows you to speed up process discovery and build business cases in no time. Demonstrating the potential value of your services can be the key to securing, and winning automation projects.
Building a Successful Automation Consulting Business
Building a successful automation consulting business takes more than just technical expertise in tools like RPA, process mining, AI, and ML. It requires a strong foundation in business strategy, marketing, finance, and leadership.
Marketing Your Automation Services:
Developing a strong marketing strategy is essential for attracting new clients and building your brand. In addition to creating a professional website and establishing a social media presence, consider leveraging digital advertising platforms such as Google AdWords, LinkedIn Ads, or Facebook Ads to reach your target audience.
You may also want to develop thought leadership content, such as blog posts or whitepapers, to showcase your expertise in the field and attract potential clients.
Another effective strategy is to attend industry conferences, webinars, or networking events to meet potential clients and build relationships with other professionals in the field.
Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth referrals either – ask satisfied clients for referrals and offer incentives for new clients they bring in.
Managing Your Finances:
As a freelancer or small business owner, it’s important to have a solid understanding of your finances. Consider working with a financial advisor or accountant to develop a budget, set pricing for your services, and manage your taxes.
Make sure to track your expenses and income, and invest in accounting software or tools to streamline your financial management processes.
When setting your pricing strategy, it’s important to consider your value proposition, the market rate for your services, and your target clients’ budget. Be transparent about your pricing and billing policies, and consider offering different payment plans or packages to meet the needs of your clients.
Building a Strong Reputation:
Building a strong reputation is critical for success in the automation consulting field. Focus on delivering high-quality work, building strong relationships with your clients, and seeking out positive testimonials and reviews. Treating early customers well can have resounding knock-on effects in gaining future ones.
Consider becoming a certified automation consultant or joining industry associations to enhance your credibility.
In addition to these professional credentials, your reputation will also be shaped by the way you conduct yourself on social media and in online forums. Be professional and courteous, and engage in thoughtful conversations that prove your expertise and passion for the field.
Scaling Your Automation consulting business: Build a dream team
Once you’ve established a successful automation consulting practice, you may want to consider scaling your business to reach new clients and markets.
An effective strategy is to hire additional consultants or contractors to help you meet the growing demand for your services, then hiring them on a more permenant basis when able. Consider their skills, experience, and work ethic when hiring, and set clear expectations and goals to ensure that they align with your company’s vision.
Developing strategic partnerships with other businesses can also be a powerful growth strategy. Look for complementary businesses that share your values and expertise, and explore ways to collaborate on projects or cross-promote each other’s services.
Managing a Team of Automation Consultants:
When you decide to grow your business by hiring additional consultants, it’s important to have a solid understanding of hiring, team management and leadership.
Learn the keys to successful hiring, invest in training and development programs for your team, establish clear roles and responsibilities, and set performance metrics to ensure that your team is delivering high-quality work.
Effective communication is also key to managing a team of consultants. Be clear and concise in your instructions, and encourage open and honest feedback from your team members.
Consider using a dedicated Automation strategy tool like SilkFlo to streamline communication, both internally, with your team, and externally, with your clients. Ensure that everyone is on the same page and that your clients are able to transparently see their automation metrics without having to wait weeks for reporting.
Upsell your existing clients
Maintaining strong relationships with your consulting clients is critical to building a successful automation consulting business.
Upselling added services to existing clients is a fantastic way to increase your revenue stream and strengthen your relationships with your clients, with less effort than finding new ones. Upselling also allows you to offer more value to your clients, creating a win-win situation.
By consistently providing high-quality services, after-care support, reporting, and transparency, clients are more likely to come back for additional work and refer you to others in their network.
Using a tool like SilkFlo can help you do just this. SilkFlo helps you to manage multiple client automation portfolios, while making it quick and easy to create and share reports with them, increasing transparency – something they don’t usually get from their partners.
As you continue to offer added value to your clients and maintain strong relationships, your business will grow and thrive, setting you apart as a trusted automation consultant.
The Future of Automation Consulting
Automation consulting is set to continue to be a growing field in the coming years, as more and more businesses embrace the benefits of automation technology.
With the potential to streamline operations, increase efficiency, and reduce costs, automation tools like RPA, low-code, IDP, process mining, ML, and AI are becoming increasingly essential to business success. As this trend continues, the role of automation consultants will become even more critical.
As the use of automation technology becomes more widespread, it is likely that we will see a significant shift in the workforce. While automation will undoubtedly create new opportunities for skilled workers in areas such as technology, data analysis, and software development, it is also likely to result in job losses in other areas.
For an automation consultant, it is important to be aware of these potential impacts and to position yourself as a trusted advisor to businesses that are navigating this transition.
To stay ahead in this fast-moving field, it is crucial to keep up-to-date with emerging trends and technologies. One area that is seeing significant growth in the automation consulting space is the use of intelligent automation. This technology combines RPA with AI and other advanced technologies to create intelligent, self-learning systems that can help businesses make more informed decisions, streamline processes, and drive greater efficiency.
By staying informed about these emerging trends and developing expertise in these areas, automation consultants can position themselves as valuable partners to businesses looking to stay ahead of the curve.
In addition to keeping up-to-date with emerging trends, it is also important for automation consultants to adapt to changes in the field. As the demand for automation consulting services continues to grow, it is likely that we will see new entrants to the market and increasing competition.
To stay ahead of the curve, it is important to be flexible, adaptable, and to seek out new opportunities to grow and expand your business. It’s also critical to build long-lasting relationships with your clients and ensure that the services you provide are top-notch, and that you are always adding value where possible.
As automation continues to reshape the business world, there has never been a better time to become an automation consultant. In this article, we’ve discussed what automation consulting is, how to get started as a freelancer, and strategies for building a successful consulting business. We’ve also explored the future of automation consulting and the potential impact on the workforce.
Remember that the key to success in this field is to stay up-to-date with emerging trends and technologies and to adapt to changes in the industry. We encourage you to take action and pursue a career in automation consulting, and to use the tips and insights we’ve provided to guide your journey.
If you’re looking for a suite of tools to help you scale your intelligent automation consulting practice, consider our affordable automation lifecycle platform, SilkFlo. With SilkFlo, you can streamline process discovery for automation, manage client projects, and generate insightful reports, all in one place.
Don’t wait – take the first step towards a rewarding career in automation consulting today. Reach out to us for more information or sign up to our FREE Beta!