For a business to thrive and remain relevant in today's world, business owners and stakeholders must put their best foot forward. One of the ways to ensure your business is always ahead is by optimizing operations and workflows.
Operational inefficiencies can stump business growth, therefore companies of all sizes and types would benefit greatly and potentially improve their bottom line by becoming more efficient in their daily operations.
Businesses have a lot of moving parts that must work seamlessly to keep the wheels turning, and maintaining oversight of all of these parts is a near-impossible task. As such, more business owners looking to improve efficiency and streamline more processes are shifting to business automation.
Business process automation (BPA) has become a crucial component for modern-day business and can make all the difference in your business process management. This article highlights 11 business processes every organization should automate.
What is Business Automation?
Business automation refers to the use of technology to automatically carry out several business-related functions in an organization. Typically, a business automation solution could include the use of BPA software packages or automated hardware to carry out repetitive tasks.
A business automation solution is typically installed at points of use, and with minimal human input, these solutions carry out several tasks based on pre-configured information.
The basics of business automation involve the automation of simple, rudimentary tasks that help to save time and eliminate human error.
However, advanced automation adds a human touch to the automation process and relies on machine learning and natural language processing to support more complex processes. This article lists some common business process automation examples and how your company can profit from them.
What Business Processes Should Your Organization Automate?
It’s essential to decide what processes can be automated in your organization to aid operational efficiency. Several processes can be automated in your business, depending on the nature of your business.
Automating processes like payroll, order processing, invoicing, and inventory management can make a huge difference in how well a business runs, and can also reduce labor costs over time.
There are several other ways an organization can incorporate automation into its operations, and the next section of this article highlights a few areas you can consider automating for your business.
Automation Ideas to Optimize Business Efficiency and Productivity
This section explores 11 different ways you can automate business processes in your organization.
Utilizing spreadsheets or other non-automated tools for sales management makes your entire sales process inefficient and more susceptible to human error. With customer relationship management (CRM) software, you can sync all customer data automatically, and store data in a central location that all your reps can access from wherever they are.
CRM software also helps manage interactions and communications with your clients and prospects. CRM systems can also remind you about communications with prospects and automate data entry.
With purchase order automation, businesses can streamline the process of purchase order approval. Software used for purchase order automation eliminates the need for data entry and manual work by teams.
In a typical non-automated setting, a team in need would fill out a purchase requisition form and send the paperwork or email it to the appropriate authority to have it signed and approved.
If the purchase order is approved, it is sent to the supplier, but if declined, the requesting department would be duly informed.
All of these back and forths might require lots of paperwork and routing, but the right software eliminates these needs and automates most parts of the purchase order process.
Assigning tasks manually can be time-consuming and require a lot of paperwork and emails. Automating your company's task assignment process cuts down the need of sending multiple emails and helps you free up time for more important tasks.
There are several automated, cloud-based tools that your company can utilize to automate, simplify, and manage the process of task assignment.
An automated payroll system helps companies save time and streamline processes when it comes to paying their employees. Automated payroll software helps companies calculate employee earnings, make tax withholdings, calculate other employee benefits, and create payroll advice accurately with minimal human input.
Payroll automation is not only essential to your organizational efficiency but is also crucial to your compliance as a company. Since it nearly eliminates human error, you are less likely to have a falling out with the law for paying inaccurate worker wages.
Onboarding and Offboarding
The onboarding and the offboarding process requires a lot of documentation, and companies both large and small can utilize automation tools to streamline the onboarding process for new employees as well as the offboarding process for retiring or resigning employees.
Scheduling For Clients and Employees
Setting up schedules for your teams or clients can be a cumbersome, time-consuming process, and this explains why scheduling software has become the norm for many forward-thinking businesses.
Automated ticket routing can help you optimize your company's help desk by creating tickets for customer inquiries or complaints and automatically routing calls to the appropriate personnel. Investing in reliable ticketing software will help you improve your customer relationships.
Automate Lead Capture
Investing in reliable and intuitive software to capture leads on your website will save you the stress of pursuing leads manually. Lead capture software also helps you get valuable data from your potential customers and follow them up to turn prospects into paying customers.
The right solution helps you streamline your lead generation process by automating list building and email collection, email marketing, and other essential processes to facilitate lead nurturing.
Approving leave requests from employees is not as easy a process as they seem. Tracking and calculating leave can be a hassle for HR, as they would have to chase down paper leave applications, email leave applications, half-day requests, and others.
Automating leave approval helps HR personnel and other employees access streamlined leave data and carry out other functions to optimize the leave approval process.
Filling forms, and waiting for days on end for expense approval- these are common challenges manual expense approval processes are fraught with. Traditional expense approval workflows are highly susceptible to human error and can be unnecessarily labor-intensive and time-consuming.
Businesses can utilize automated systems to facilitate expense approvals in half the time as traditional methods.
Chatbots Or AI-Enabled Virtual Assistants on Your Website
Chances are that you've encountered at least a couple of chatbots during your time browsing websites. Chatbots and virtual assistants powered by artificial intelligence provide a level of automation to your customer service and let your website visitors get directions and help 24/7.
Chatbots help provide your visitors answers to questions about your services and ensure prospects remain on your site and potentially turn into customers.
How to Identify Business Processes for Automation
Automation needs vary and are unique to every business. To identify what areas of your business require automation, you'd have to analyze the different processes carried out in your organization to identify the processes that are repetitive and time-consuming. These processes should be your first candidates for automation.
Benefits of Process Automation
Here's a look at a few benefits of automating business processes.
Increases Efficiency and Productivity
Since automation speeds up processes and provides round-the-clock operation, they allow for more efficient workflows in any organization. By doing so, automation frees up valuable time for your employees to be more productive in doing important tasks.
Increases Conversion Rate
The right automation tools can help you improve your conversion rate at every touchpoint by not letting leads fall through the cracks.
For businesses in industries with regulatory standards, compliance with these standards is crucial and automation can help. Organizations in industries like finance or medicine can rely on automation like enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to achieve compliance since automation ensures that processes are exact at all times, therefore saving time, and reducing the potential for errors and non-compliance.
Automating processes is a cost-saving investment in many ways. Some automation eliminates or reduces the need for human intervention, thus reducing labor costs over time.
Minimizes Human Error
Manual processes involving human input are susceptible to human error, which can have costly implications for your business. Automating processes helps minimize the risk of loss due to human error.
Increases Customer Satisfaction
Automation has a positive impact overall on your customers as the right solutions ensure that customer queries and other interactions are handled promptly, thus increasing customer satisfaction.
What is an example of automation in business?
An example of automation in business is the use of automated tools for customer support. Some real-life examples of business process automation include chatbots answering simple queries on your website and automated teller machines dispensing cash without human intervention.
What are the types of business automation?
There are several types of business automation including task automation, process automation, workflow automation, robotic process automation (RPA), intelligent automation, etc.
Why should organizations automate business processes?
Automating business processes is crucial to your business's efficiency and profitability. Automated systems make your operations more efficient, and offer a more reliable, available, and cost-effective way to run your business.