Today, many industries are implementing business automation for cost savings, increased productivity and efficiency. However, brands can only automate specific processes and only some efforts may go smoothly.
But how do you ensure that your efforts to streamline and automate your business processes do not go to waste?
In this article, we will cover the strategic steps needed to successfully implement business automation processes. You will learn what business automation is all about, why it is important, and how you can implement it in your organisation.
What Is Business Automation?
Business automation involves using technology to perform recurring tasks or processes in a company. It replaces the tedious manual effort needed in such jobs, and helps to increase efficiency, reduce costs and streamline operations.
These tools can range from simple software for email responses to managing entire production lines.
Enterprises typically automate routine tasks because it frees employees’ time to focus on more strategic work. In turn, productivity increases, helping them achieve their objectives faster while increasing customer satisfaction.
Some business leaders hesitate to automate their business process. They are worried about initial disruptions, and fear that their team members may shun those new processes and opt for the status quo. However, once they delegate smaller tasks and focus on larger goals, they’ll notice a significant impact on their organization’s growth.
Why Is Business Automation Important?
Business automation is crucial, as it is good for accelerating operations. According to a recent study, 95% of leaders reported that automation speeded up their processes, enhancing overall efficiency. This increase in productivity is critical for companies to keep up with today’s fast-moving markets. As technology grows and becomes more readily available, firms that adopt them stay one step ahead of their competitors.
That’s not the only thing that business automation is good for.
Automation also reduces the amount of human error. Repetitive tasks can be mundane for workers, making it easy for them to make mistakes.
For instance, if an employee sifts through hundreds of emails, they may unintentionally delete important information or respond to the wrong recipient. Human errors cost time and money but can be completely avoidable when implementing automation tools. One survey even found 88% of users trust theses processes to complete their tasks without error.
The Steps to Implement Business Automation
Ready to dive into the world of artificial intelligence? Here is how to do so in five steps.
1. Identify Areas of the Business for Automation
The first step to implementing business automation is identifying areas that need it. This involves analyzing existing processes that are repetitive and time-consuming. Look for tasks that include manual work, but automation is easy with certain tools and software. Some of the areas companies typically automate include:
- Customer service: Automating responses to common customer inquiries using chatbots or automated email responders
- Human resources: Streamlining recruitment processes, like resume screening and initial applicant communications
- Sales and marketing: Using CRM (customer relationship management) tools for lead nurturing, email marketing and customer follow-ups
- Finance and accounting: Automating invoice processing, payroll and expense tracking
- Inventory management: Implementing systems for automatic recording of stock based on specific levels
2. Explore Automation Tools
After noting areas for automation, the next step is to find suitable tools. These vary in function and complexity. For example, enterprises might use software like Hubspot to automate their marketing campaigns. Other brands employ data management software to extract information and create reports. The key is choosing software that fits existing systems well and meets the company’s needs.
3. Prioritize and Start Small
While discovering areas for automate in a business, the list of possibilities may have ended up long. Where should it start? Ultimately, it comes down to automating one process that is most beneficial. At the same time, it should be the easiest to automate.
The first automated process should be simple, as implementing this technology can be tedious and time-consuming. There is also a chance of the operation being unsuccessful. Therefore, it is best to prioritize tasks with the most immediate return on investment and start small. That way, the team has time to learn and adapt to new systems.
4. Design Automation Workflows
It is important to create a plan for process changes so the team clearly understands how the tasks flow. Some key considerations when designing automation workflows include:
- Outlining what to achieve with automation, such as increased efficiency or reduced errors.
- Breaking down the process into steps and learn which of these to automate.
- Considering how the automated workflow will integrate with other systems and processes.
- Setting up rules for automated decisions.
- Determining how users will interact with the automated process.
- Planning for testing the workflow.
5. Test the Automated Processes
Testing is crucial for assessing automation to ensure it performs as intended. Start with a small, controlled environment to monitor the process and gather data on its performance. After obtaining the results, adjust the strategy and ensure it adds value to operations.
Implementing Successful Business Automation
Automating workflows can provide many benefits. However, it involves a series of steps to ensure successful implementation. After automating repetitive tasks, the business can focus more on growth and innovation.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.