In any organisation, being able to do lots of different tasks is often an advantage. But is it efficient? Automation is changing the way every workplace functions, so whether you’re self-employed, have a few employees or are part of a larger business, automating your processes can save you time and money.
But what is automation in business? How can business automation tools help your organisation and why is automation in business important? In this article, we’ll cover all these bases.
Automation promises to be one of the biggest transformations in the way businesses work in decades. While it will certainly bring plenty of opportunities, it will bring lots of challenges as well.
A World Economic Foundation study from 2020 has suggested that as many as 85 million jobs could be automated by 2025. Lots of organisations will not only be able to save on costly and labour-intensive tasks, but also processes such as lead generation could be significantly streamlined.
On the other hand, it could mean some jobs are put at risk. But which workplace tasks are most likely to be automated and what does that mean for employees?
The true scale of business automation is still a subject of intense speculation; nobody knows exactly how much will be automated or how quickly.
What we do know is that there are certain workplace activities, processes and workflows that are ripe for automation, and others that will likely need human input for the foreseeable future.
Here are a few examples of tasks that are likely to be automated:
many forms of marketing and communications
payrolls and time sheets
employee scheduling and HR
On the other hand, certain roles are unlikely to ever be automated. Where roles demand more strategic oversight, decision-making or judgement, human input will still be needed.
For example, workplace tasks involving the following roles will almost certainly be directed by employees:
responsibilities involving critical thinking, such as strategic planning
relationship and customer-facing roles
Automation doesn’t necessarily mean that human input won’t be required at all, but it does mean that the role of employees will change.
For example, client interviews or meetings could be automatically transcribed, or article and blog writing could be automated to support a company’s marketing drive. Although in both cases somebody will need to be on hand to review the final work and probably make edits, the role of employees could shift away from production to oversight.
Automation will significantly improve the flexibility and efficiency of lots of organisations. The level of automation that comes into play will depend on your business, and you should think carefully before making people redundant – their expertise will still be valuable.
So, knowing that certain workplace tasks are more likely to be automated than others, here’s how automation can work for your organisation.
Small-business automation will free time-pressed, independent financial advisers (IFAs) from repetitive, labour-intensive workplace tasks. This will allow them to spend more of their time building strong and trusting relationships with their clients and prioritising higher-priority cases.
The benefits aren’t just client facing either. Automated transcribing and customer relationship management (CRM) tools will afford IFAs more time to prioritise their daily tasks with the right solutions, automating several internal processes in one go.
The pandemic has driven new ways of working, and with the remote office set to prevail, having the right, automated software and platform solutions is becoming more important.
Many of the largest tech companies have shifted their programmes from downloadable and updatable software solutions to software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms.
SaaS platforms are accessible anywhere in the world and provide a standard level of usability for everyone. If and where updates are needed, they take place at the platform level, avoiding the common problem of different employees working with different software versions that could be lacking new updates.
One of the most pressing tasks for any IFA is lead generation. As new leads emerge, the right software can help track, collect and display the most relevant information in an easy-to-understand way, making it easier for IFAs to identify the most promising opportunities.
There are lots of different kinds of lead generation platforms out there, and processing the right information in a simple way can sometimes be a time-consuming task. That’s where platforms such as Zapier come in.
Allowing professionals to draw their leads from various platforms and programmes, Zapier is an integrated solution that allows IFAs and other professionals to work efficiently on a single platform.
Automation isn’t the solution to every problem. For each process and workflow that could be improved by artificial intelligence, there is another that is done better and more reliably by an employee.
When it comes to lead generation though, there is a simple solution. Unbiased uses Zapier as an integration tool, allowing advisers to manage all their leads in one place. Try Zapier today.