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Can business automation boost your competitive advantage?

Blog By Duncan Khoury – 28 June 2021

The push for automation is accelerating across every industry sector. From customer interactions and product delivery to managing employees, workflow automation is changing the way we do business. It’s creating new standards and expectations while also playing a key role in driving change.

We take a look at how implementing business automation tools across your organisation can pave the way for greater productivity, efficiency and ultimately help to grow your business.

What is automation?

Automation means applying technology, programs, robotics or processes to achieve outcomes with minimal human input. Companies use business automation to replace manual tasks or processes with the goal of gaining efficiencies, reducing costs and increasing productivity. 

And while business automation is a continually evolving challenge for any organisation, it can bring significant benefits and competitive advantage.

 The advantages of automation in your business

 Automating business processes and workflows can bring wide-ranging benefits to your business.

 Streamlining communication

Automation can facilitate timely information sharing across an organisation. This can help staff to make more informed decisions, produce higher quality work and generally create better business outcomes. Information sharing can also help to build trust between employees and employers, whilst creating an environment that encourages feedback, creativity and performance. A good example of this are business communication applications,  which are widely used for internal chat, calls or videos to allow teams to engage at any time (often recording interactions for later reflection also). 

Increasing accountability and transparency

Clear, consistent and repeatable processes are one of the biggest drawcards of automation. Businesses can allocate tasks to specific roles, making lines of responsibility clear, while recording and tracing every touchpoint.

Minimising manual processes

Replacing or minimising repetitive processes can bring a host of benefits to a business. Automation helps to reduce the costly errors, double-handling and re-work that often comes with manual processes. In doing so, it saves time, improves accuracy and increases efficiency.

Enhancing customer service

Automation is behind almost every improvement in customer service. AI-driven chatbots, automated self-service, and personalisation are just some of the trends in delivering stand-out customer experience. Executed well, these can all help businesses to better serve their customers while saving time and operating costs.

Adding strategic value

One of the biggest benefits of automation lies in freeing up time spent on manual, time-consuming tasks that generally add little value. Employees can instead focus on areas where they can apply their skills, knowledge and insights to create more valuable business outcomes.

Automation across support functions

Traditionally, automation focused on either the product line or service delivery process, but one of the biggest trends is the rise of automation across support functions. From HR to finance and marketing, automating the way you run your business can add value in areas you may not have previously considered.

HR training and recruiting

The pace of change has skyrocketed since the pandemic, as HR departments moved quickly to manage remote hiring, virtual leadership and hybrid workplaces.

Automation has played a crucial part in this adaptation. From hiring to employee onboarding to staff training, manual and repetitive tasks now have the ability to (at least in part) be automated. This has given HR departments time to focus on valuable activities such as attracting talent, building succession pipelines and training programs.

Sales and marketing

There’s no doubt that technology has also transformed marketing. It’s opened up new ways to reach customers – but also, from a business process perspective, it’s created countless opportunities for automation.

Marketing automation via  platforms such as Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce and Marketo have changed the way we approach both sales and marketing. Automation allows businesses to share data across departments, with information from marketing technology and channels such as chatbots, emails, search engines and websites feeding directly into CRMs and better informing user and client decision-making.

This helps to create detailed customer journey maps, more tailored content and communications and effective alignment between sales and marketing.

Finance

The merger of technology and finance continues to grow rapidly, with the relatively new Fintech sector experiencing rapid growth across the world. As such, finance functions are becoming increasingly automated and sophisticated, with integrations now covering all aspects of the financial supply chain.

Solutions such as our supply chain management tool help you to track, validate and authorise supply chain transactions via a single platform. It provides a central repository for your local and global trade documentation and communication, has multilingual functionality and allows you to check the status of a transaction in real-time.

It’s just one example of business finance automation that can help you to speed up processes, improve supplier relationships and create more time for strategic planning.

 The key to future-proofing your business

As your business evolves and grows, so too does the way you manage it. Automation can be a powerful tool to support this change and help your business to adapt, so you can wow your customers and stay ahead of the competition.

Interested in learning more about how automation can transform your supply chain? Explore the benefits of our supply chain management tool or get in touch to discuss how we can help to power your business’ cash flow.

 

Disclaimer: The following comments are only our views and should not be construed as advice. You should act using your own information and judgment. Although information has been obtained from and is based upon multiple sources the author believes to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy and it may be incomplete or condensed. All opinions and estimates constitute the author’s own judgment as at the date of publication and are subject to change without notice.