Process automation has made everyday office tasks easier than ever. Automation technology like Microsoft’s PowerApps gives businesses access to custom process automation systems that simplify your job. Want to receive data analysis reports, track your business’s assets, or personalize your audience’s experiences, all automatically? There are apps for that. A survey conducted across a wide range of industries showed that 57 percent of organizations are already trying out process automation for at least one business function. Automatization isn’t the future. It’s the now. Let’s discuss what process automation is and what it can do for your organization.
What is Process Automation?
Process automation means using digital technology to carry out tasks, well, automatically. The goal is to eliminate manual work that can be done digitally, getting the computer to do chores on your behalf. To build the best strategy for your business, you should know that there are different branches in the world of automation. Multiple automation tools are often combined for maximum results. Process automation software can include robotic process automation (RPA) or business process automation (BPA). Or both. Each system automates tasks, just a little differently. BPA completes an entire process, often from start to finish, carrying out various tasks until a whole workflow is complete. Individual tasks, like sending emails to customers, can be carried out by RPA.
Why Should Your Business Leverage Process Automation?
Process automation is optimization, saving your business money, time, and other resources all while keeping customers pleased.
Yes, this all sounds great, but is it realistic? Luckily, all the benefits are indeed attainable. Let’s get into how they’re accomplished.
Saves You Money
By using automation processes, your business can produce more with less. Unlike humans, an automation system can carry out a wide range of tasks simultaneously. Instead of hiring employees to perform your basic, repetitive tasks, you can have a robot do them—often faster—without signing a paycheck. For example, paying humans to respond to emails and questions could take multiple employees, depending on your size. Not to mention, people take longer to respond, having to go through each email. Automated bots can respond to multiple people at once. Automation can be used for new hire onboarding, email correspondence, and recruitment. Using process automation in these areas is a much cheaper alternative to hiring an employee to do the same thing.
Automation is consistent. Seemingly small incidents such as losing files, making typos, and forgetting small tasks can make a financial impact on your business. With process automation, those risks aren’t an issue. Software can manage your files, initiate reminders, and automate spelling and grammar checks.
Your business will also save money with automation by reducing spending on office products. Paper, ink, copiers, etc. won’t be used as often when you convert to automation technology. Because automation technology is cloud-based, your office won’t spend as much on supplies like paper, ink, and toner.
Happy employees can elevate a business. A study featured in Forbes found that happy employees were up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. No one wants a staff that dreads going to work. Hopefully, that’s not the case, to begin with, but process automation can make work even more enjoyable.
The goal of automation isn’t to replace all jobs with computers. Rather, the goal is to give time back to your employees to focus on work that makes a real difference while ensuring the menial, day-to-day tasks are still taken care of. Studies link repetition and extreme boredom to poorer mental health. Give the mundane, time-consuming tasks to the software. Process automation can manage spreadsheets, enter tedious data, and process orders. Your employees will feel more engaged and alert when they can spend more time in collaboration with others, coming up with new ideas, and other priorities that are better off with humans.
Research has also shown social isolation negatively affects both mental and physical health. One study said loneliness leads to poorer performance at work. Social interaction, even on a small scale, reduces feelings of isolation. There’s good news. About 70 percent of companies say robotic process automation (RBA) has made room for employees to have more human interactions, according to a study by UiPath.
Increases Customer Satisfaction
Process automation bots can quickly respond to customers every second of the day. Not only do they constantly operate, but they can respond to multiple customers at once. The automation tool can also respond on different platforms like email, instant messenger, and text. In a world that values instant gratification, quick responses are a necessity. And it shows customers that you value their time.
Another crucial factor in maintaining customer satisfaction today is personalization. A 2021 report found that 71 percent of Gen Z’ers expect highly personalized experiences. The same study said 46 percent of Generation Z wants companies to remember their shopping preferences. Fortunately, tracking preferences and giving customers a personalized experience can be easy. Many intelligent automation platforms can segment and monitor your audience, providing experiences tailored to them. This is usually accomplished by customer relationship management (CRM). CRM is built into many automation platforms to keep track of current and potential customers’ data. CRM and marketing automation (MA) make it possible to keep up with client preferences, trigger personalized emails, and communicate with clients on a more personal level. This kind of personalized marketing strategy would be difficult to perform without an automation platform. And it’s much more affordable than hiring stalkers.
Additionally, robotic automation can make customers feel more valued if they reach out to your company. Customers won’t have to answer as many questions when you already have easy access to their information and order history. In this way, customers feel they’re important to your business, which creates loyalty. And hey, loyal customers are more likely to recommend your brand to others.
Software can also send holiday emails, thank you messages, and coupons to improve customer experience.
Automation can increase your business’ productivity in several ways.
Through process automation, your software can sort files as soon as they’re received, saving hours for workers to get the real legwork done. An Economist Intelligence Unit survey found that employees spend 25 percent of their time looking for information. Process automation revolutionizes the way we search for files. Automation platforms can upload all of your data and documents into one main system. Gone are the days when employees spend valuable time sorting through six different systems to find one document.
Business process automation (BPA) can also streamline your business’ data to give you insights all in one place. Instead of having a marketing member pull and calculate information regarding website visits, ad clicks, sales numbers, and more, process automation can track it all. Routine reports like this can be automatically delivered to specific people during set times.
HR and recruitment teams can be more productive by letting automation software reach out to potential new hires, schedule interviews, and process employee information.
Generating briefs is another efficient automation tool. To prepare for a meeting, for example, a manager may search and gather documents regarding the company’s growth. Then they may have to scan through files to refresh on past projects, clients, and revenue. After they’re satisfied with their accumulation of files, they will probably need to summarize the information. Process automation, on the other hand, can deliver a brief with all the desired specifics. By automating briefs, managers can simply request or schedule a brief 15 minutes before a meeting, look it over, and they’re ready to go.
More time-saving tasks for process automation tools include generating sales leads, sending automatic analysis reports, creating briefs, and following up with customers.
Reduces Human Errors
Human mistakes are inevitable. But the number of errors can be reduced with automation. Letting computers process orders, record data, and store files leaves less room for human error. Computers stick to their designated processes. They don’t accidentally type in the wrong number. They don’t get distracted and accidentally forget a step. Humans can get bored and make careless mistakes when they stop paying attention to their high-volume, repetitive tasks. Computers handle repetitive tasks with consistency.
Automation platforms have the ability to cross-reference information to ensure reliable information. Cross-referencing can also help call out misinformation. If something is off, cross-referencing lets software check accuracy, scan for possible mistakes in other files, and notify users if an error is detected.
Another automation function that all companies should take advantage of is back-ups. Ninety percent of companies fail to recover after severe data loss. By incorporating an automated data backup, you can feel at ease knowing your files are safe.
How to Utilize Process Automation Across Your Entire Org
Automation can be used in finance, marketing, HR, customer service, and everything between. Basically, any industry that tracks data, includes repetitive tasks, or keeps records can benefit from process automation.
Finance and accounting departments are using process automation for tasks that formerly ate up valuable time, like pulling data from various documents and creating charts. Process automation makes financial analysis less time-consuming and reduces errors in the numbers. Collecting payments, budgeting, forecasting, and generating financial reports are other ways finance employees are using process automation.
Sales and Marketing
Using automation to post on social media, contact clients, and personalize product suggestions are just a few ways sales and marketing teams use automation. Sales teams can also schedule sales reports and lead lists instead of spending their own hours scouting for new clients.
IT departments incorporate automated bots to help users with common questions so they can spend time on more advanced issues. For technology to stay in good condition, it needs to be taken care of. This is where IT comes in and checks on systems, updates software, manages storage and prevents hackers. Process automation can do these things so IT employees can focus on more complex issues that arise.
The onboarding process can also be much more efficient and consistent when process automation is incorporated. Software can send scheduled welcome emails to new hires. When a new employee is hired, they usually need more guidance. Managers don’t have to dedicate so much of their time to training and checking in with new hires when they incorporate process automation. Automation systems can send information that helps employees become familiar with the company, check-in on their status, and provide virtual training. The software can adjust to fit the specific role of each employee.
Where Do I Start?
When considering automation in business, there is a wide variety of tools and platforms to choose from. It’s important to identify the tasks you want to automate. You may not need the most advanced system on the market. Many small businesses find RPA implementation to be enough for the majority of their needs. BPA can be a good investment for companies that need to automate entire workflows and identify solutions quickly, but it is more complex and can be pricier. Some platforms offer tools that have multiple options and don’t have to cost a fortune.
Here are a few to check out
Microsoft Power Automate– Microsoft’s automation platform is designed for clients to create easy-to-use workflow processes.
Alteryx– Alteryx focuses on producing automation tools geared towards data science and analytics.