A Foolproof Way to Business Automation

Guide to Business Automation

Over the years automation is an aspect that has touched almost every industry across the world. Whether it’s the ATMs, the assembly lines, or the healthcare systems, automation is everywhere. Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are taking automation to a whole new level. Intelligent automation is changing the way people interact with machines, driving business efficiency upwards. The businesses are looking for technology partners to integrate these aspects into the application. The best software development company can effortlessly integrate these aspects into the software they build.

Business automation software helps businesses to drive revenue and thrive in challenging markets. Research by IBM suggests that AI-supported automation will generate billions of dollars worth of labor value in 2022 alone. In this article, we will delve into the benefits of business automation and its most commonly overlooked aspects.

What is Business Automation?

Business automation is concerned with the use of technology to perform repetitive and laborious tasks. Intelligent Business automation plays an important role in freeing up employees for higher-value work. While in the past a team of experts and costly mainframes were required to automate a task, today with the help of cloud-based automation platforms the process is much simpler and cost-effective.

Below are the most common types of business automation used today.

Business Automation Types

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is a technology that helps businesses grow by automating marketing processes, tracking customer engagement, and delivering personalized experiences to each customer across marketing, sales, and service. Marketing automation allows companies to deliver automated engagements to the customer based upon the insights gained through an analysis of customers’ engagements across various channels like social media and search queries on the web. Through marketing automation, the marketing team can deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.

One of the most widely embraced types of business automation, marketing automation has proven to be a game-changer for many businesses. One of the major reasons for the popularity of top marketing automation companies for business is that most of the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, lead generation software and ERP software used today already have marketing automation tools integrated into them. Business marketing automation includes tasks such as:

  • Lead generation, segmentation, and nurturing
  • Advertisement management
  • Email marketing

Some of the most famous marketing automation tools are Marketo, Hubspot, Eloqua, and Salesforce to name a few.

Accounting, Book-keeping, and Accounts payable Automation

While marketing automation is concerned with the external processes, the accounting, book-keeping, and accounts payable automation is more concerned with the internal processes of the business.

The automation of accounting accounts payable and book-keeping helps a business simplify the financial processes and remove needless manual labor in financial activities. Normally the financial automation deals with the following areas:

  • Bank account management
  • General ledger management
  • Invoice management

The purpose of accounting, book-keeping and accounts payable automation is to simplify and streamline the various financial processes and reduce the potential for error in the process. Freshbooks, Intuit Quickbooks, Zohobooks, and MineralTree are popular accounting and accounts payable tools.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Business Process Automation (BPA)

BPA or Business Process Automation systems are concerned with using technology to streamline the business processes throughout the organization. BPA process has many benefits such as:

  • BPA allows less technology-savvy users to design their own business processes.
  • BPA provides better visibility of the processes to all the employees.

RPA or Robotic Process Automation seeks to further improve BPA automation by augmenting it with AI (Artificial Intelligence). Top RPA companies use robots to execute specific tasks such as:

  • Trigger responses
  • Manipulate data
  • Capture and interpret data for processing a transaction
  • Communicate with other systems

The cost of implementing Robotic Process Automation in business is significantly higher than a Business Process Automation. Often there is a conflict between the human capital and robots in an RPA system. An RPA requires a considerably more complex framework than a BPA. These are the reasons why RPA sees a lot less adoption than a BPA.

Pipefy, Nintex, Microsoft Power Automate, Inflectra rapise, Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, and UiPat are examples of BPA as well as RPA automation tools.

HR Automation

HR automation enhances the efficiency of the HR department of an organization by freeing up the employees from tedious manual tasks using HRMS. HR automation allows the HR employees to focus on more productive tasks like preparing an effective HR strategy. HR automation allows organizations to reduce the cost and time that they spend on manual HR planning and processing activities.

HR automation solutions help companies automate repetitive HR processes such as:

  • Payroll management
  • Attendance management
  • Processing leave requests
  • Employee on-boarding and off-boarding
  • Handling employee documentation
  • Employee performance monitoring

By automating HR processes, the businesses can improve their efficiency and in turn, increase their profits.

BambooHR, BreatheHR, PulseHRM, and CavinHR are Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS) that have a host of HR automation tools.

Benefits of Business Automation

Business automation presents many benefits for business organizations that adopt it. We have mentioned below some of the most important advantages of business automation.

Business automation saves time and costs

Source: smartsheet.com

One of the most important benefits of Automating Business Processes is that it helps the organization save precious time wasted on activities that can be easily automated.

Business automation systems for repetitive administrative tasks like searching for information online, processing documents, and checking paperwork save countless productive man-hours.

Organizations lose a significant chunk of revenue each year due to inefficient processes. Business automation experts aid the organization iron out these inefficiencies in the business process management implementation. Business organizations do not need to spend time and money on fixing issues that arise due to inefficiencies.

According to a survey, the businesses that were able to automate their processes drove down the overall cost by 10% and increased their profits by 8%.

Business automation increases productivity and helps standardize the processes

Business automation solutions allow a business to handle multiple processes simultaneously which ultimately leads to higher productivity. Apart from this, a good business process automation plan also helps the business organization improve the employee experience by allowing its employees to focus on more important activities such as revenue generation.

Automating business processes helps businesses to achieve high levels of efficiency because it performs a series of predefined steps consistently without any deviation. Business automation workflow helps businesses achieve better task management, greater visibility, and improved quality of communication.

The communication quality improves because BPA (Business Process Automation) process tools can replace calls and emails generally used to communicate information with more modern solutions. Modern Business Process Automation software provides a dashboard where each team member can check the progress of the task. It gets easier to manage deadlines and improve collaboration with BPA tools and these tools ensure that no details are missed out.

No matter how capable the employees are, mistakes do happen and human-induced inefficiencies will creep into the system. Business Process Automation services providing software greatly reduce the likelihood of errors by automating the processes.

A manual process that involves many stakeholders can prove to be difficult to handle. This is because in a manual process every person has their own habits and methods of doing tasks.

There are no such issues with an automated process as it is performed as a consistent workflow systematically until a standard outcome is reached every time. This is the reason why automation is a clever way to standardize processes. Businesses can contact top software development firms to build custom automation software solutions.

Business automation provides auditable records and ensures better security compliance

Another major benefit with automation in business is that each phase of an automated process is always recorded in an audit trail that makes it possible for the businesses to:

  • Track the documents and map their course
  • Oversee who did what and check when each action happened

Such control over documents provides the organization with improved accuracy and reliability. Best Business Process Automation software helps the organization to create auditable records for each specific workflow and these records are easily retrievable.

Every business needs to adhere to compliance norms. Custom Business process automation software helps a business to ensure compliance measures. Automation helps a business to setup:

  • Security measures
  • Confidentiality protection
  • Retention methods for personal data

With custom business automation solutions, everything is traceable and under control which ultimately ensures better compliance with relevant security regulations.

Business automation delivers a better customer experience and increases scalability

Fast access to service and convenience are the key determinants of a better customer experience. A robust business automation strategy helps a business to deliver its service to its customers faster, which in turn helps the business to improve the customer experience significantly.

Business automation companies aid businesses to provide their customers with fast and accurate services. By meeting the promised standard of excellence, businesses can build trust, loyalty, and competitive advantage.

As the business expands, so does the scope of work. It becomes difficult to manage a business organization when it expands too fast. For instance, even a simple thing like preparing an invoice can prove to be a bottleneck as manually issuing 10 invoices is not the same as automatically issuing 10,000 invoices. The same is true for various other business processes from hiring new team members to onboarding new clients.

Online business automation proves to be a handy tool to improve the scalability of a business. Best Business automation tools can benefit a business easily cater to its shifting business needs effortlessly.

Ignored aspects of Business Automation

Excited by the potential of automation, companies across varying industrial domains have invested heavily in business automation. As organizations try to implement business automation into their organizations, the managers find it hard to capture the promised impact of business automation. Mentioned below are some ignored aspects of business automation that can make success difficult for the business automation program.

Non-alignment to the business goals

Although this may seem obvious, the major cause of failure in business automation is that the automation strategy is not aligned with the broader business goals. It is important to make all the involved parties understand the purpose and value of the business automation technologies before starting the process to automate your business processes.

All the stakeholders must understand how the business automation consultants will help them achieve their business objectives. If the business does not provide sufficient time for this exercise, then it will lead to a disjointed system that won’t meet the core objectives of the organization.

Not paying enough attention to the architecture and organization of the platform

With a lot of business automation platforms and tools out there, it becomes difficult to choose the correct one. A major factor that plagues the adoption of business process automation platforms is the usability of the automated business services system. Many users complain that the tool such as Business workflow software, although useful, is just too complicated to use.

People tend to think that there is some issue with the UI of the tool. But it is often found that the issue isn’t regarding the design of the tool, but it’s about the infrastructure and organization of the existing system. Many times business organizations do not give enough attention to small things like folder structure and naming conventions which play a vital role in deciding the usability of the automation software platform.

To avoid such mistakes it is essential to solicit feedback from users and make the necessary changes in the business automation platform to make it more suitable for the users.

Understanding the available data

Misinterpretation of data often turns out to be one of the most difficult things to solve in business automation. Most business organizations don’t know or often don’t want to know what their data model is. Understanding what data is available, what data is not available, and how the data was collected helps the business make good use of the data.

Although all business organizations would love to identify themselves as being data-driven, most of them do not put enough emphasis on data, which is the core aspect of being data-driven.

Ignoring the end-user experience

While integrating business automation systems, a business organization needs to ensure that the user experience is not compromised. Often businesses get too involved in optimizing their automated systems and processes and do not realize that they are creating a poor customer experience.

A classic example of putting automated processes over people is the customer care center where a customer needs to choose multiple options before the customer can talk with a human executive. While many argue that such automation processes help increase the efficiency of an organization, such procedures can prove to be incredibly frustrating for the users.

So while implementing an automation system, the business needs to test whether the communication is consistent or not. The businesses also need to check whether the experience of business automation procedure is so frustrating to the customers that it is driving the customers to the competitors. Businesses must not limit their feedback to the internal team only, but should also try and get feedback from various other sources.

In the end understand that no matter how great the business process management automation systems are, they will become useless if no one is ready to use them.

Underestimating the complexity

Businesses often make the mistake of treating automation for Business Process Management as a technology-only effort. Businesses ignore the process problems such as poor quality of input data, too many variations from the scheduled plan, and so on.

The matter of fact is that business automation solutions are complex and they tend to affect multiple processes with significant inter-dependencies across technologies. By neglecting the various complexities associated with business automation, the organization risks undermining the automation objectives.

Business organizations that succeed with automation take enough care to handle the complexities of automation. They start by understanding their technological maturity, tracking customer and employee touch-points, mapping information flows, and setting expectations for exception handling, metrics, and reporting.

To make sure that the business automation strategy complements rather than clashes with other strategic priorities, the senior leaders, technology experts, and the software development team need to work together to define a joint vision regarding the role of automation in business.

To fully understand the complexities associated with automation, organizations need to conduct enterprise architecture management. Under enterprise architecture management, the organizations need to take an end-to-end view of the processes that enable them to shape and prioritize the automation initiatives.

Lack of budget in automation and not enough lead generation through free content offers

Many business enterprises make the mistake of preparing a low budget for their business automation plans. While preparing the budget for business automation services, the businesses need to think realistically about the technical and execution maturity.

Many businesses fail to acquire high-quality leads by offering free content. The idea is simple. Offer alluring content such as eBooks, informational videos, infographics, and PPTs. The free content builds trust amongst the customers and the business that in return gets people who are more likely to become loyal customers in the future. However, preparing and distributing high-quality content requires a lot of manual work.

The business automation content analyzer solutions can prove to be handy here as they provide real-time updates on lead-nurture strategies. Through automated business process discovery, the business agencies can set specific lead criteria, which when fulfilled triggers automatic email responses. Using automated solutions, businesses could also set up web forms for content requests.

Removing inactive leads

Removing inactive leads is as important as gaining new leads. This is because the business would waste precious time in following those leads that are less likely to get converted into paying clients. Using business automated systems, the marketing teams can set up criteria for qualifying inactive leads. The business automated solutions will purge leads based on the criteria and help the marketers focus on the active leads.

Customer service and Retention

The automation solutions enable businesses to improve their customer service. For instance, CRM’s interaction tracking features can help a business improve its reactions to recurring inquiries. Chatbots are other examples of automated solutions taking customer service to another level. One of the most common areas where business operations automation solutions can help the business is request routing.

Customers spend a lot of time trying to reach the appropriate customer care executive. Using automated solutions, businesses can ensure that customer requests are forwarded to the appropriate staff. By connecting the most appropriate staff member to the service request, an automated process management platform can save considerable time and also improve the service quality.

Customer retention is one of the most important determinants of success for a business. Successful businesses know this and hence put in considerable efforts to ensure that they do not just simply drop off customers from their radar once they have purchased from them. Concentrated efforts to improve customer retention not only creates new business opportunities but also creates a better customer experience.

Automated business process discovery help to cross-sell the existing customers through appropriate nurturing.

Areas where business automation can prove useful

Areas where business automation will be essential

Business automation in general is a very useful tool to improve the efficiency of a business. However many business enterprises decide to start automation with certain areas and then gradually take automation to the other areas of the business. We have discussed in brief certain areas where automation can prove to be especially useful.

Communication

Customer service, either through chat or call, is an area where businesses can use automation applications. Best Business automation software allows a business to communicate with its customers easily and promptly. By automating some of the communication processes, the businesses can free up the time of their employees and divert this manpower to other productive activities.

Live chat using smart Chatbots which help answer the common customer queries.

A social media management system that filters out the content of the message and forwards the inquiry to the correct department automatically.

Automated business solutions help the enterprises to address the problem quickly and save valuable time for both, business as well as customer.

Reporting

To make better decisions for the business, enterprises need access to data. Business Automation software tools can help the users create reports that use charts, graphs, and other ways to visualize data better. It proves beneficial to use top business automation software for reporting as they cut down the time and effort required to prepare these reports.

Automation in reporting can help businesses in the following ways:

  • Build KPI dashboards and interactive reports that are accessible by each member of the organization.
  • Get analytical insights from the data which leads to actionable business strategies.
  • Build and share reports on the go.
  • Build interactive reports.

Reporting is an area that provides one of the biggest opportunities in the business automation process, yet very few businesses take the advantage of this opportunity. In some cases, employees still waste countless hours feeding data into excel files while in other cases users wait for someone from the IT department to build reports for them.

By using automation in reporting, businesses can remove the data inaccuracies that creep into manual reporting methods like excel. Speed of report generation is another benefit that automated software accord to businesses. Many leading business automation software automatically delivers the reports daily to the concerned persons, thus speeding up the business process considerably.

Marketing

Marketing is another critical business task that can be optimized using business automation. Automated marketing models help the sales teams of businesses better organize their efforts. Specialized marketing automation software can organize the leads and send emails automatically.

Marketing automation solutions help businesses track, monitor, and nurture high-quality leads, reducing the complexity of the lead conversion process and enabling a faster sales closing process. Marketing automation systems also provide access to tracking and measurement tools to the businesses, revealing how the business organization is doing overtime. The tools for marketing automation services thus allow the businesses to make the necessary adjustments that ultimately leads to better revenue.

Accounting tasks

Most businesses would agree that accounting is a very time-consuming and error-prone process that requires a lot of manual steps. Business enterprises can save a lot of time and improve the accuracy of accounting by automating a few or all the steps involved in accounting. Accounts payable is an area that can be automated to improve the overall efficiency of the business process workflow.

Instead of manually processing all the invoices, business organizations can automate the process and save significant time and money. Automating the accounting tasks also helps to minimize the instances of fraud. By automating the accounting process, the businesses can reduce the amount of manual labor taken to process invoices, get approvals, process taxation and payments. Automated process management for these and other accounting tasks effectively simplifies the processes and their associated workflows.

Facility Management

Facility managers often use manual processes like phone calls and emails to pass on instructions to their subordinates for managing the facility. Business process Automation software tools assist to decentralize the approach of facility management and also help to remove the inconsistency associated with the activity. Business Automation in facility management allows the teams to react quickly, provide the correct level of service, and maintain correct audit trails.

Most business automation software works on automated response mechanisms where an action (like a window left open or a machine left unattended) triggers a response. The business automated process management system either takes corrective action itself or alerts the concerned persons to take the appropriate action. Business Process Automation tools aid to take out the guesswork from facility management and create a safe work environment for all team members.

Recruitment

Recruitment is another area where business process management workflow automation can prove its worth. Custom Business Automation software like HRMS not only reduces the workload of the HR department but also helps the business organization to engage with its new employees in a better way.

Automation can help in the recruitment process in the following ways:

  • Create job postings from templates allowing the HR department to advertise for the vacant position faster.
  • Filter out candidates who do not meet the minimum skill level, experience, and qualifications.
  • Create a contract for successful applicants and rejection messages for those not selected.
  • Automation tools can be deployed along with many steps of the hiring process. Recruitment Automation helps to make the overall hiring process simpler and less time-intensive.

HRMS (Human Resource Management Systems) automate the candidate hiring process and reduce the work associated with hiring a candidate significantly, freeing up the HR resources of a company.

Business Automated solutions not only make the hiring process simple and fast, but they also help in improving the image of the business firm and help it attract better candidates.

Automation is the future of Business

Business Organizations that are not yet using automation in their business are losing out. It’s never too late to get started and hiring dedicated developers can help a business customize the automation software according to its requirements.

Business Automation software solutions not only improve the speed of work and reduce the errors in the business processes, but they also help the business realize better revenues. Automated software solutions prove to be a smart choice for growing businesses.

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