“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”- Bill Gates
Let’s face it; the world is ever-changing thanks to technology. If you don’t welcome these changes, you are left behind and miss out on a lot the world has to offer. In order to survive, businesses need to pursue strategies which reduce cost, save time and increase efficiency.
Automation is an important method business often overlook when seeking ways get an edge over their competitions. Any business that wants to stand out should consider automation, which can simplify change company’s operations, not to mention speed them up by a great deal. So what is automation? Let’s get deeper.
Business Process Automation
Business process automation is a strategy whereby businesses use technology to organize their personnel and processes. Processes here mean the sets of activities that move your business towards a particular goal. In layman terms, Business automation (or business process automation) is simply allowing a computer or a computerized machine do all the heavy manual tasks for you.
Today, automation goes beyond traditional data management to advanced software systems and programs that integrate all your processes. Business process automation can also permit your company to maintain control over issues such as customer relationships, sales, analytics, planning, standardization, and development. It targets complicated information technology tasks such as managing your system users and troubleshooting network issues, and also programs like email and marketing services.
Business process automation supports your knowledge and that of your workers. It also helps minimize operational costs, freeing up personnel to perform higher-level tasks which add value to the company. Clients become happier when you can assist them immediately and cut down on human error. In organizations where relationships are vital, business automation can significantly enhance human interaction and decision-making, as well as create real-time transparency.
If you are unfamiliar with automation, or how it could boost your business, have a look at these 5 golden reasons why business automation is vital today and more so in your business:
Time saved means extra cash for you. To most successful companies, time is sacred. Staff can spend countless hours performing repetitive tasks. Most of the time, the staff work overtime in order to perform these tasks on time. This, in turn, kills the morale and zeal of the employees-hence unproductivity. A machine would definitely perform those tasks well in time and of course, no one’s morale would be killed. If the employees are no longer hindered by hours of mundane tasks, they are now free to add more value to the business. Moreover, they can now spend more time building better and more informative reports. When automation is involved, time is saved and you can even have more time dedicated to your loved ones as well. Human error is eliminated, and the staff won’t have to work overtime.
Reduce Labor Costs
When tasks to be undertaken by a business are many and in bulk, many employers and business owners will hire a high number of employees, considerable enough to undertake the tasks and keep up with deadlines and the busy workload. In some cases, employers pay a lot to outsourced agencies or individuals to help them with some tasks. Automation is the best solution to such cases as it performs the tasks regardless how complex they may be, saving you tons of money you would spend to pay extra employees.
Furthermore, risks and other manual related issues such as human error are eliminated hence improving the company’s bottom line.
Improved Customer Service
Customers get annoyed easily by companies with ineffective customer service systems. Some will even never use a company again if they cannot get in touch with them easily, say over the phone. It is a reality that not all companies can afford to run a call center to cope with the demand. Automated phone lines have allowed both small and big businesses to look after a huge customer base without ruining their reputation and leaving themselves unable to deal with customer queries. Companies that use automated phone lines can program them to take messages for inquiries, take payments and to provide customers with an amount of information that a human phone operator might struggle to remember.
A ‘contact us’ link on your website is a great step to maintaining communication with your clients- or potential clients. Should you have it, you’ll be overwhelmed by the number of emails and inquiries people post to you awaiting your reply as reaching you is made easier. Having the ‘contact us’ form on your website will save a client the tedious process of having to copy paste your email address to the email before composing the message. You’re more likely to respond to such messages faster.
For those who use emails as their main avenue of communication, having an automated reply goes a great mile to maintain client confidentiality. A simple “Thank you for contacting us, we’ll get back to you shortly” automated reply will give the client confidence that at least their email did not just go to some black hole of the internet.
Better control of your business
Automating your business allows you to collect all parts of the workflow into one dashboard so that you can monitor all your processes both in current and previous states. You are able to control processes by managing task reviews, data processing, access, etc. Business automation allows you to make informed decisions and track the performance of your business hence able to predict future events. Not only will the employers and stakeholders be happy, but the employees will be impressed as well as they are more productive. Know who is doing what, when, how and what needs to happen next to meet your goals.
It enhances HR services
Automation allows your team to monitor client relationships throughout their entire lifecycle to prevent previous issues from becoming problems. It streamlines HR processes to manage relationships with employees as well. Let’s say you own a business which offers certain services to people, it won’t be a bad idea to reward your loyal clients-honestly speaking; everyone loves to be rewarded. You keep records of a client whenever they use your services; promise them that after 10 purchases they can get this or that for free. Trust me; you’ll be overwhelmed by the number of ‘loyal’ clients you’ll get. You can also keep records of your customers in order to understand one’s preferences and enable you to serve them better in the future.
It may be too tempting to dive in head-first and automate everything in your business, but it’s essential to have a plan in place to make the best use of resources required to implement automation. Here are a few tips you should consider before going fully automated:
Tips to Consider Before Automating your Business
1. Fully understand the process you wish to automate.
It is always advisable to get to understand what you’re getting yourself into before going all in. Compare the pros and cons and reasons why you should automate your systems.
2. First test before fully implementing the solution.
There are quite a number of ways to automate your systems but always test them before settling on the ones that meet your business needs.
3. Think long-term.
When automating, get something that will make sense even years later. The solution you employ must be flexible to change and adapt to future changes in your company.
4. Do not over-depend on automated systems.
J.K. Rowling, author of The Harry Potter books once quoted, “Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.” In as much as automation makes work easier for us, it may not be best all fields especially on public relations. Messages to clients should have a human touch and not just computerized responses only-who would really want to be discussing their personal issues with a computer?
5. Consider the security risks involved.
There are a lot of risks involved with automating systems. The greatest being hacking. In as much as automation makes tasks one click easier and faster for you, it also does the same for the malicious attacker. It is good to have security measures such as firewalls and back up storages to avoid inconveniences in your work-be mindful of security and plan accordingly.
There are many ways to automate business processes. There is no shortage of tools that can be used to generate reports, trigger tasks, and much more. Make not only yourself happy, but also your employees and stakeholders. Don’t wait to get started, do it now!
And what do you think, what is the benefit of business automation for you?
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