Automation is changing the way we work and the workplace itself. The conversations around this topic today often start and end on the same note — the technology-enabled automation of business processes.
Study after study shows how automation positively helps businesses, small or large, including increasing yearly profits and saving tons of time on everyday processes. Before getting too far into the benefits of automation, here’s a quick question for you — What exactly are we referring to when we say automation in business?
I hope it’s not robots taking over our jobs because that wouldn’t be good, right? But on a serious note, what is it?
Automation years, automation fears
According to AI experts, automation will replace 40% of jobs in the next 15 years. So, does that mean robots will wipe us all out of the business world? I guess not.
Business automation is not just about replacing day-to-day manual work with the latest tech — it’s more than that. In this particular article, we will discuss how the future of work is automated and how businesses can use automation to get ahead in 2019, and of course, in the years to come.
So, let’s begin and dive a little deeper.
First, what does automation mean for businesses?
Automation, in terms of business, is the process of implementing software applications to increase the efficiency of routine business tasks. It helps to alleviate unproductive stuff and lets you focus on more important tasks.
Let’s look at it this way there are two kinds of to-dos: ones that you’re tired of doing (the repetitive ones), and ones that you want to do (the urgent/important ones).
Automation lets you eliminate the most mundane or disliked tasks and free up time for higher-value tasks on your to-do list — these are the tasks that are likely to take your business to the next level.
How does automation affect a business?
You know what automation means in business. Great! Let’s see what happens when you actually incorporate automation into your workflow.
Automation and intelligent software solutions already have a significant impact on the world around us. Here are a few examples you can start with — employee analytics (Gusto, Culture Amp, Luminoso), work management (Asana, ProofHub, ClickUp), customer support (Zendesk, Freshdesk), and for advanced collaboration (Slack, Skype).
There are also a lot of stats and studies to show how automation offers organizations and professionals like you a major competitive edge in any industry.
Why should you automate your business?
Successful automation isn’t just the cure to monotony, it can also help your business in many other ways as well. Let’s take a look at these five reasons for automating your business today.
1. To improve efficiency and speed
Manual processes are more time consuming and more prone to errors — that’s a point we can agree to. But when you automate your workflow, it makes it easier to reduce errors and inefficiencies associated with a task. It allows you to discover the best way to get something done.
For example, if you’re in charge of project budgeting, you will have a lot of information to process in a very limited time. From drafting a project budget template to monitoring the operational costs — you’ll have your hands full.
However, this whole process can be fast-tracked and automated using an integrated accounting/payment system.
2. To improve customer experience
These days, providing better customer service is a priority for every business. But customers have changed, they’ve grown restless. They expect faster service and consistent experience. This is where automation comes into the picture to help.
Chatbots, live chat tools, and other CRM applications have made it a lot faster and easier for businesses to stay connected to their customers and answer their queries. Automation has enabled businesses to deliver the predictability and consistency that their customers expect, without the need for drafting a dozen emails or making them stay on the phone line for hours.
3. To generate insights for your business
Having a clearer insight into the industry or targeted community is an added advantage for any business. It contributes to making smarter decisions, especially in terms of marketing, which is an important aspect for all businesses these days.
You’ve probably heard of(or even used) Google analytics. Thanks to automation, you have access to very advanced analytics software solutions that can help you get better insights about your visitors and use those insights to stay ahead in your industry.
4. To get better control of your business
People, projects, tasks, schedules, strategy, and/or collaboration — running a successful business today demands successful management of all of these aspects.
As a business owner or project manager, it is important to have every aspect under control, all the time. Automating your business with tools, like a project management app, allows managers to view all parts of a workflow in one place — making it easier to know who is doing what, when, and for how long.
These are the kinds of tools that provide better control over everything that you and your team do to efficiently deliver tasks or projects on time.
5. To eliminate possible business surprises (bad ones)
One of the many beneficial aspects of automating business processes is that it eliminates the unpredictability involved in them. With automation, you won’t be getting into situations that you didn’t see coming. Instead, you will have a preliminary solution in place to help you communicate and address the issues you uncover.
A good example here would be a project management visualization tool, like a Gantt chart — a tool that shows every detail, dependency, as well as any possible delay in one chart, leaving no space for any surprises.
Another way automation helps to eliminate surprises is by strengthening workplace collaboration. You must have heard about Slack or Slack alternatives — these are the kind of tools that make it easy for teams to come together to get things done.
How to automate your business for fast growth (a 5-step process)
Automation is a quick and easy way for a business to achieve its desired objectives. So when your business is considering to adopt automation in its processes, here are the steps to keep in mind.
Automate the easiest and the most repetitive processes first.
Pick the tools you need — find the ones that suit your project and business.
Set your automation targets — know where you’re headed and what you want to reach.
Track results and refine your processes — practice continuous improvement.
Build a culture that embraces automation. Hopefully, this post will guide you in the right direction to migrate your business from manual processes to automated processes.
Let us know how it all went. Tell us how you moved your business workflow towards automation and achieved greater productivity. Share it all with us in the comments below!
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