Deploying automation for manually intensive and repeatable tasks can help growing small and medium enterprises tackle the complexities of going digital and scale up operations with ease.
Automation for Enterprises refers to a technology-driven process of performing certain actions based on a set of rules in response to specific triggers or prompts. Its relevance in enterprise IT systems and applications has grown rapidly over the last few years as more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) adopt digital models to operate and communicate with customers. The benefits of adopting automation in business processes are many, but cost savings and employee productivity are among the most common reasons for the adoption of process automation by smaller businesses.
Benefits of Automation for Enterprises
Automation has the capacity to augment productivity and help humans be more creative and add value. It works with humans to augment their abilities rather than replace them, contrary to popular perception. Here are some of the most common benefits of adopting automation for small and medium-sized enterprises:
- Automation helps increase the efficiency of processes, thereby reducing the time taken to perform them and the operational costs involved.
- Automation reduces the chances of errors, but also makes it easier to identify any, if they exist, and rectify it immediately. Reduced errors also means that workflows are completed faster with minimum time spent on looking for bottlenecks and finding solutions.
- Automation streamlines document management including storing the right information at the right place, which reduces the risk of loss of data.
Key functions automation can improve
Automation’s reach has expanded rapidly and its application can now be seen across multiple industries and verticals. Some of the functions from across these industries that have emerged as the best suited for automation are:
1. Human Resource Management Automation
Automation has helped digitalize a wide range of human resource management processes including managing centralized employee information, automating employee onboarding, among others. This way, HR personnel need not take up the burden of performing these tasks themselves, but simply using automated systems to support their more important responsibilities.
2. Banking Automation
Automation in banking services allows banks to optimize employee efficiency and operational costs by speeding up digitalized processes and reducing turnaround time on service requests. Banks can apply automation to day-to-day functions such as customer on-boarding, verifying customer details to account and loan inquiry, among many others. By reducing the time spent on a particular request, banks can then retain their customers better and maintain customer loyalty.
3. Sales and Marketing Automation
Automation in sales and marketing processes and platforms can help streamline processes and equip employees with increased bandwidth to anticipate customer needs and serve them better. Automated sales platforms connected to other business systems can give sales personnel quick access to details of customers and prospects, thus aiding them in providing the right information or services to customers without going through lengthy interviews. Further, automated sales and lead management system scan record calls and programmed to automate follow-ups or schedule appointments from emails.
4. Supply Chain Management Automation
Automation can power nearly the entire spectrum of supply chain management processes from procurement and distribution, to customer service and reverse logistics. With reduced manual intervention in data entry, there are much fewer chances of error. The reduced errors and faster processing of information in turn keep a check on logistics costs. All of this increases organizational control, both internal and external. This, in turn, ensures an increase in efficiency and profitability.
Why automate and when to automate
Automation not only drives faster processes but also eliminates the risk of errors associated with manual processes. But the question most small and medium enterprises grapple with is how to decide that you need automation. Below are some scenarios that can indicate that your business might need automation:
- If your business is expanding rapidly, it is more cost-effective to introduce automation and optimize your employees’ efficiency.
- If your business workflows include recurring, high-volume, and time-sensitive tasks, then automation can help reduce the turnaround time on them.
- Retaining customers can be more difficult for growing businesses than acquiring them. This is why automation can prove to be extremely effective as a customer service tool as service requests can be automatically recorded and redirected to the relevant department or personnel for quick turnaround.
- If your employees struggle with visibility over critical tasks or managing vast amounts of documents, automation can effectively solve those issues to ensure improved efficiencies.
As small and medium-sized enterprises grow, there are always certain time-consuming tasks that can be automated to optimize business outcomes and ultimately, improve the bottom line. When it comes to attaining operational efficiency, it is essential to equip your processes, functions, and systems with tools that help your organization become more competitive in a digital business landscape. Automation helps you do just that.