Many small and mid-sized businesses are looking into automating their mundane processes, to free up time and save money. However, it is not as easy as it may seem to start the automation process for your business. There are several important things to consider before embarking on this journey, but having the patience to do so can bring you great results.
Start by deciding where the process should start: Which functional area in the business requires more involvement from employees? Which departmental processes are repetitive? Which of these repetitive tasks can be automated? The answer will mostly depend upon the existing infrastructure and app landscape within the company. For example, if employees are heavily dependent on pre-built forms within their CRM for managing leads or sales opportunities, an automation project that converts manual input into self-updating records will help reduce data entry errors and make reporting easier. An automation project that helps take care of repetitive tasks within an existing app can diminish the time employees need to spend on basic, mundane activities.
Once you have decided what areas of your company can be improved with automation, it is time to contemplate the pros and cons.
- Automated systems often help reduce labor costs. Some forms of automation, such as a robotic process automation (RPA) system, do not require human involvement to operate. The use of automation technology also frees up employees’ time to work on more valuable activities that they are better suited for, increasing productivity in the workplace.
- Many forms of automation can be implemented within an existing IT infrastructure with little or no disruption to the rest of the business. This allows cost savings from automation to be achieved without having to invest in new hardware or software solutions.
- Automation technology can also help reduce mistakes and human error, which often lead to costly business errors and low levels of customer satisfaction.
- Automating business processes can increase the speed with which tasks are completed, as well as dramatically improve efficiency, enabling a company to take on more work. This helps a company grow its bottom line over time.
- In some cases, automation can improve customer satisfaction by reducing the amount of time it takes to provide a service. For example, automated phone systems are often able to direct customers to the correct department and wait times for callers are reduced. This improves the perception that a company is efficient at handling calls from customers in need of assistance with an issue.
- In many instances, automation technology offers numerous benefits over other solutions that do not involve technology . A prime example is robotic process automation (RPA), which leverages software robots or ‘bots’ that act as employees. RPA helps automate an organization’s high-volume, pre-defined tasks that are routine and transactional in nature.
- Some automating requires employees to have a solid understanding of the processes they will be working with. If applications or systems used for automation purposes do not offer a thorough understanding of how business operations work, it can lead to costly errors on the part of employees when they attempt to enter data or make any changes to existing business processes.
- Automation technology may cause job losses over time as companies cut costs by reducing the number of human resources needed to perform various tasks. Certain types of businesses, such as those that rely heavily on customer service staff who handle repetitive calls from customers, could see significant layoffs if automated solutions replace manual methods.
- Unless specifically designed for use by both humans and machines, many solutions can be difficult to use, which may erode employee morale and productivity.
- Automation systems have an increased level of complexity compared with manual systems and can therefore be more prone to errors or malfunctions than a manually operated system. It is important that automation solutions are tested thoroughly before being implemented in the workplace.
- Automation solutions often require an initial investment to purchase the automation software and put in place the automation environment. This cost may be difficult for small businesses to afford.
- There is also a danger that automation will be implemented too quickly, without properly considering how it can impact on other areas of a business, leading to undesirable outcomes and increased costs.
- Automating key processes may give employees a false sense of security about their jobs, which could lead them to perform less effectively or even engage in malicious behavior out of fear they’re going to lose their job if they don’t work hard enough.
- Some solutions require frequent updates to keep them working effectively. Regular updates may also pose a security risk if not applied correctly or with due care and attention.
- Automated systems do not always work perfectly, and there is a chance that automation technology will fail altogether. Since automating processes often relies on software, bugs may prevent the automation solution from working as expected. In some cases, an automating may require manual intervention to overcome these issues.
- Different solutions have different capabilities and levels of sophistication, meaning they do not all offer the same level of automation. The greater the number of business processes that are automated, the harder it becomes to manage this process over time. This can lead to inconsistent results or missed objectives when deploying automation technologies across different business units or departments within a company.
Facts About Automation
- Small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the US are predicted to invest $1.6 trillion on automating technologies over the next 10 years, according to a recent report by Allied Market Research.
- 57% of SMBs are planning to invest in automating technologies within the next 12 months, according to another recent Allied Market Research report.
- As many as 50 million new jobs could be created globally by 2030, according to a report by McKinsey Global Institute.
Sunvera Software develops next-level software applications from start-to-finish. Schedule a free 30-minute call with us to discuss your business, or you can give us a call at (949) 284-6300.