Business process automation is not optional anymore. It has been gaining ground as a key business investment over the past few years. According to Statista, the spending on BPA worldwide is expected to reach $12.7 billion globally.
What are the main advantages of automating your business and how to integrate these processes with your day-to-day business operations?
Let’s find out!
The Benefits of Business Process Automation
The process of automation can benefit your business in multiple ways.
1. Reducing costs
By streamlining your processes, you will increase the overall business performance, minimize overhead costs and unnecessary spending. These are all factors that will help you increase your bottom line. According to Fujitsu’s study, 35% of businesses believe that better cost control is one of the major benefits of business automation.
2. Boosting scalability
By automating your tasks, you will create a highly scalable business model that can be scaled up and down. Automation provides you with more flexibility, letting you adapt your workflow and business operations according to your business needs.
3. Minimizing human errors
A single error in data entry may compromise your data analysis results and hurt your business performance and bottom line on multiple levels. For example, stats say that 75% of data loss is caused by human error. By automating complex and repetitive tasks, you will minimize manual errors and, in this way, give your employees the boost they need.
4. Increasing workplace creativity
Your employees are wasting loads of time on repetitive and manual tasks. By letting machines do these tasks for them, you will help your top talent focus on complex tasks. Above all, they will have more time to focus on creative aspects that are key for your organization, fostering innovation and helping you achieve a greater potential.
What Kind of Business Activities should You Automate?
There are no specific rules to follow when it comes to the automation of your business operations. However, there are a few factors that will help you understand what activities to streamline. For example, you should focus on automating high-volume tasks, time-sensitive operations, activities that include the involvement and collaboration of multiple people or entire teams, tasks that affect the overall workplace performance and impact other processes.
Here are a few processes you should consider to automate:
- Social media posting – when done manually, these tasks require significant time investments. To keep your audiences engaged, you need to have a detailed social media marketing strategy and post your content consistently. This is where social media management tools like Hootsuite or Buffer step in, as they let you schedule your social media content and determine when and how it will be published automatically.
- Payroll processes are one of the most frustrating and time-consuming tasks for any business owner, as they require lots of paperwork. Luckily, you don’t have to do so manually anymore. Let’s take an example of using employee income cards that automate the entire payroll process. They integrate with almost any payroll service provider and puts more money in your employees’ wallets, as no check cashing fees are required.
- Invoicing – there are many automated tools that will help you create and send out your invoices automatically. They also let you track failed payments and let your customers know about them, helping them identify the problem and finalize the purchase faster.
- Customer chat – your customers now expect you to be available 24/7. One of the easiest ways to stay on top of their requests in real time is to integrate chatbots with your website and social media. AI-powered chatbots are highly intuitive. They constantly learn new things about your customers and use this data to personalize user interactions.
How to Implement Automation into your Business Processes?
The process of automating business operations focuses on centralizing your tasks, letting your team members focus on the core aspects of your business. Now, there are a few steps to take when automating your business processes.
- Set clear and measurable goals.
Before you even start building your business automation plan and make any greater investments, you first need to set clear goals and benchmarks that would help you track the success of your campaigns. Take numerous factors into consideration, such as your staff, capital, the time needed. Based on what you find out, you need to choose your major key performance indicators (KPIs). When monitored regularly, they will tell you how successful your business automation efforts are, helping you understand what works for you or not.
- Pick the right processes to automate.
Automating all your business operations sounds perfect, but this is not always easy. This may additional complexities to your end-to-end workflow and harm your overall business performance. It’s always a good idea to start from some smaller, less challenging processes that don’t require lots of human intervention and then move to more complex ones.
- Choose the right tools.
When choosing the business right automation software, you need to pay attention to a few factors. First, observe its technical capabilities. For example, does it rely on machine learning and AI? What degree of task complexity can it handle? Does it work on mobile devices, too? Second, pay attention to its scalability. Can it be integrated with your other tools and apps? Can you scale your plan up or down easily? What about user experience? Is the tool easily easy to use by non-technical employees, too?
- Assign roles realistically.
Once you invest in the right automation tool, you need to sit down with your team and talk to them about their roles. You need to build a solid hierarchy and communicate it to all employees, helping every member of the team understand their responsibilities. Engage your team, listen to their needs and fears regarding the new system, and keep them informed. Talk both to managers and your employees and request their feedback regularly to understand how the transition to the new, automated system works.
Automating your Business Operations is a Marathon
Automating business operations may sound complicated, but it will take your company’s performance to a whole new level. It gives you the opportunity to streamline and centralize your workflow, increase the overall workplace performance and, above all, minimize operational costs.
However, when automating your business processes for the first time, do so strategically. Remember that business process automation is a long-term investment. You cannot expect to automate every aspect of your business right from the start. Instead, set more achievable goals and strive for continuous and gradual improvement. Most importantly, track and measure everything you do to know what works for you and eliminate those activities that don’t deliver the desired results.
Any thoughts on automating business operations? We’d like to hear from you!
Keith Coppersmith is a business and marketing expert who has experienced both the rise and fall of many businesses. As a regular contributor at BizzmarkBlog, he enjoys writing and providing insight of the marketing industry based on both practice and theory.