In 2020 and beyond, there will be an even greater reason to automate most business processes. Different factors such as social distancing rules, work from home setups, and a shift to online selling all play a role in how businesses of all sizes will operate now and in the future.
A recent report by analyst firm Forrester showed that increased adoption of automation strategies will be one of the coronavirus pandemic’s legacies. Based on the report, robust system automation, as opposed to rehiring staff, will be more common because it will be more effective in letting businesses get back on their feet post-recession.
What is business process automation (BPA)?
Business process automation — or simply, automation — is the use of software technologies to automate tedious manual tasks. Its most obvious benefit is letting businesses reassign staff to do tasks that require greater levels of creativity and engagement and produce more value.
BPA also makes companies’ operations more efficient. And in the post-pandemic business environment, one of its many compelling advantages is allowing companies to continue operations without the need for big office spaces, complex processes, and/or in-person interactions.
Even before the pandemic upended many businesses’ workflows, automation was already on track to become the norm in many organizations across industries — it’s predicted that by 2022, 60% of businesses could be automated.
Take a look at the following benefits of automation.
How automation helps businesses
1. Simplified and optimized processes
A single transaction involves several steps to complete, and the same goes for related processes such as inventory management, accounting, and customer service support. Without a streamlined sales workflow, your business could easily suffer from incorrect data entry and a host of other problems down the line.
Sales automation can help avoid administrative burdens by digitizing record entry, sales tracking, inventory, and order management. Not only does automation speed up these processes, but it also makes sales transactions accurate and consistent.
In specific industries like healthcare, serious workflow challenges in areas such as documentation and record-keeping can be mitigated through the use of electronic medical record (EMR) automation systems. EMR systems streamline medical and healthcare administrative processes and help establish more efficient workflows.
2. Reduced errors
Employees are still prone to making errors, even when doing tasks they're already familiar with, either because of a faulty system, tedium, or other reasons. One example can be observed in routine tasks like staff scheduling. Staff scheduling errors are common, especially in workplaces where employees follow wildly varying schedules. Such errors often lead to employees going on leave at the same time, miscounting the number of sick and vacation days off, and the like. Organizations can prevent or reduce these errors by using software programs that solve staff scheduling issues.
3. Improved customer service
An interactive voice response (IVR) system is a telephony technology that facilitates the automated flow of communication between customers and the company. Likewise, chatbots help automate customer support processes by intelligently analyzing customer queries using keywords to find answers. More importantly, these tools can be made available to customers 24/7 and on different devices.
For many businesses, these and similar customer support solutions are indispensable because they’ve significantly improved interactions between companies and customers. And although some customer support scenarios may still require human-to-human interaction, your staff don't need to handle every single one of them. This results in a fast, efficient, and consistent client support experience that satisfies customers.
Similarly, more and more businesses are augmenting their reputation management strategies by using online reputation management tools. These solutions give organizations an automated review platform where they can manage online reviews of products and services. Good reviews — that is, good online reputation — can help boost a brand’s search engine ranking strategy, among other benefits.
4. Better workforce allocation
Whether most of your marketing tasks are done via phone calls, in person, or on the web, a shift to sales and marketing automation will help you adapt to the new normal and gain a competitive advantage.
A vital part of marketing is leveraging social media platforms, which are tools that help keep your customers and audiences engaged with your brand and your messages. Competition in these platforms is fierce, so use various social media business tools that will automate your social media marketing campaigns, whether it’s to publish content or respond to feedback and queries via in-program messaging apps.
Using marketing automation tools also enhances your marketing efforts and lets you have a leaner marketing team that can function regardless of whether they’re working together in an office or remotely. There is also the added advantage of being able to assign staff according to their marketing and advertising expertise.
5. Better human resources (HR) processes
Some of the most apparent business process automation use cases for organizations involve HR processes. Automation can help simplify payroll systems, ease employee onboarding, streamline hiring processes, and enhance performance management procedures. This allows HR staff to focus on more valuable undertakings such as filling in roles with the best candidates and dealing with other more pressing labor market and staffing challenges.
Should I leverage automation for my business?
While these benefits are undoubtedly great for any business, automation requires careful planning. Adapting a business process automation strategy entails some costs, which could easily balloon out of control without a solid plan. One of the greatest advantages of most cloud-based automation technologies, however, is that expenses are tied with usage, which means organizations can scale depending on their needs.
Small businesses, in particular, should have a team that can help analyze whether automating specific processes or entire departments (e.g., customer service department, HR, finance, etc.) will yield a satisfactory return on investment (ROI). Moreover, there are plenty of automation solutions that might fit certain businesses and not others. This is why it’s crucial to work with a team that can assist you in procuring the best technology solutions that will perfectly address your needs.
Solution Partner will future-proof your organization by implementing customized workflow automation systems for your small- or medium-sized business in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Call us at 623-584-6993 or leave us a message.