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Automation builds a friendly environment for employees to have the required time, resources, and freedom to focus more on strategy, innovation, and technology over manual tasks. And this results in a much higher employee productivity rate.
Employee productivity and engagement are crucial to building a successful business. According to researchers, companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable. Disengaged employees work consistently for the required time, but they cannot do their best work because they get flooded by repetitive and mundane tasks.
Automation in the workplace can free up the time of employees that they can use to focus on more business-critical work. That said, work automation and productivity can lead to improved employee satisfaction and engagement in the organization and increase productivity.
What Is (Business) Automation?
The term automation in the workplace covers technologies that help reduce human intervention in processes. It comes in many forms, such as robotics, computerization, artificial intelligence, and mechanization. Automation has always been driven by the desire to get more done, reduce costs, and limit the possibility of human error.
Work automation means employing technology to replace human labor in nearly every corner of a business's operations - from hiring to email management to accounting. Put simply, through business automation, companies can simplify and optimize workflows.
Automation Software And Tools Ideas To Boost Your Business Productivity
Workflow automation tools are increasingly popular in recent years. They are software and apps that allow companies to automate processes and integrate all of their business uses. In other words, it eliminates manual processes in their management practices within a workflow to increase productivity and save time from countless repetitive tasks every day.
1. Expense Report Software
Expense report software helps companies streamline and automate the management and tracking of business travel and costs - from receipt scanning to payment processing. With the possibility to obtain paperless expense reports, do automated expense reporting, and streamline expense reimbursement, employees can save time and focus on much more critical tasks.
Most importantly, expense report software provides increased visibility of employee spending, can improve compliance with corporate spending policies, and help companies budget and forecast for the future.
2. Project Management Tools
During the project implementation, managers use different management practices (working methods and innovations) to make the organization more efficient. Some more straightforward projects require nothing more than a checklist for their implementation.
Yet other, complex ones require precise planning, detailing and assigning tasks, setting deadlines (and ensuring that everyone sticks to them), and tracking the time spent. That is where project management software comes in.
The need to properly quantifying, objectifying, segregating and delegating tasks is of high importance. Using project management tools is an effective way to do precisely that and even more - to track progress and manage time for successful projects.
Many project management software tools are available, and some of the most popular ones are Trello, Asana, Zoho Projects, etc.
3. Sales And Marketing Automation Tools
Sales and marketing automation, in general, is the technology that automatically manages marketing operations and multifunctional campaigns across various channels.
To personalize customer interaction, most businesses today use these tools to automate the classification and segmentation of customer data. This way, companies can target customers with automated messages across email, web, social, and text. The result - support a company's marketing efforts with lead generation, nurturing, and scoring and measuring overall ROI on campaigns.
4. Customer Service Automation
Customer service has gone through a dramatic shift in the last few decades, with many channels (phone calls, emails, texts, chat windows, and social media interactions) requiring management. Automation in customer service is today most visible via:
- Chatbots are software that provides 24/7 automated support for visitors to eCommerce and business websites. Their software receives input and provides any required information. Moreover, they can transfer a customer to a qualified human customer service representative when necessary.
- CCaaS (contact center as a service) systems are cloud-based software solutions that help customer service representatives receive communications from multiple channels, respond quickly and efficiently, and address customer relationship management by storing information for future interactions.
5. Email Automation
Most employees spend hours of their working day receiving, sorting through and replying to emails, many of which are irrelevant to their core duties.
To save time and increase productivity, more and more companies are using automation software that can help employees organize their stacks of daily emails, send automated responses, and direct everything else to specific folders for further consideration. Rather than manually handling every email, companies help their workforce see and respond to relevant messages quickly and efficiently by automating employees' inboxes.
6. Data Integration Tools
Data integration tools bring in data from various sources into one central platform, then perform the most critical function - simplifying data. The goal is to provide users with a real-time view of business performance.
Simplified data promotes efficiency and ease of use. As a strategy, data integration is the first step toward transforming data into meaningful and valuable information, easily accessible to managers and then used in forming long-term business decisions.
How Automation Helps Your Company
As automation relieves your employees of ordinary and repetitive tasks, it allows them to work on their talents, learn to scale existing operations, and manage the automated software. That being said, automation benefits employees in many different ways to deliver very tangible impacts on productivity within business operations. Here are some reasons why automation is good:
Saves time - Using digital technology to perform and complete tasks automatically means saving time since functions are not completed manually. Some examples include data integrations, marketing automation software, and AI.
Boosts productivity - Automation does not only streamline business processes; it also boosts internal productivity. Your team no longer needs to spend time on repetitive tasks such as manually inputting data or searching across multiple systems to find the information they need.
Increases employee engagement - Employee satisfaction and engagement will significantly increase once released from time-consuming tasks (like data inputting). They need to check the system now and again to ensure everything is running as it should. That means more time back to focus on tasks that make a difference.
Lowers operating costs - Most companies see an increase in operating expenses as they grow. More transactions mean more administrative work. With automation, the economy of scale can make a significant difference. The software can do in seconds what an employee may need several days to complete. As you win more business, automation lets you handle the increased workload with your already available resources.
Improves service delivery - By shortening cycle times with process automation, businesses can drive opportunities to up-sell, increase client retention rate, and decrease customer churn.
Faster return of investment (ROI) - Automation solutions must be based on your business's unique needs and goals to pay off. Above all, they need to pay for themselves quickly due to lower operating costs, reduced lead times, increased output, and more.
Ability to be more competitive - Automated factions allow you to decrease cycle times and cost-per-piece while improving quality. That will enable your company to better compete on a global scale.
Increases production output - A software can work at a constant pace, unattended, 24/7. That means you have a higher production potential. With automation, new products can be quickly introduced into the production process, and new product programming can be done with no disturbance to existing operations.
Allows better planning - Consistent production and increased outputs secured by automating processes allow a company to predict timing and costs, which helps better prepare and plan. That predictability also permits for a tighter margin on most projects.
Improves customer satisfaction and experience - Customer automation tools drastically improve the customer service and experience your company provides which, as a consequence, impacts customer satisfaction. Among other they help you:
- To quickly provide customers with the information and products they are looking for,
- Allows them to perform the action they want in no time (for example, purchase, speak to customer service, etc)
- It gives them more autonomy (for example, checking order statuses, creating price quotes, receiving automatic notifications related to their orders, etc)
Basically, by connecting data, systems, and employees through various software and tools, automation helps you better engage with your customers and keep them happy.
Secures access to business intelligence - For your business to stay competitive, it is essential to access the correct data at the right time to make knowledgeable decisions. An excellent example of automation tools of this type is data integration. If your commerce platform is integrated with your ERP system, details of any orders placed can be transferred to your back office, which means a faster order fulfillment cycle.
The Bottom Line
If you are still wondering why automation is good, you should know that according to a McKinsey study, 31% of businesses have already fully automated at least one function. Work automation is more than replacing paper and PDFs with dynamic digital data. Automation in workflow means introducing employee automation software and tools that help a company make processes cheaper, faster, and less error-prone.
These employee automation software solutions leverage automation and productivity technology to help companies streamline business processes across industries and job roles such as human resources, marketing, customer service, and sales. Furthermore, by integrating these processes onto technology platforms and management practices, companies also benefit from better combining, simplifying, reporting, and analyzing data over time. That information then informs critical decisions and helps the business grow.
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