What Processes Can Be Automated in Your Small to Medium-sized Business?

 

As we move further into the digital age, business automation continues to gain traction amongst many organisations, both large and small.

However, while most business owners are aware of the automation concept, some are still unsure why they should automate certain tasks within their businesses. Then, even once they understand why, they’re often uncertain about what exactly can be automated in their day-to-day operations to make life easier for themselves and their team.

As a general rule of thumb, if a process can be repeated, then it can be automated.

Today, we are going to go into a lot more detail to show you what tasks you can automate in your business.

First, a quick recap on automation in business

Every workplace, whether it’s a business offering professional services, a tradesman’s office, a warehouse or a retail store, has monotonous, low-value tasks that need to be completed daily, weekly or monthly. These repetitive processes are ideal candidates for automation.

Using the right technology, automation bots can be programmed to perform these low-value tasks and processes to help save your business hours of precious time and resources. This automation then allows your team to focus more on the more important tasks that directly contribute to your bottom line.

While many businesses look to hire more staff or invest in extra resources to cover their growing workload, automation instead helps to decrease the workload and enable staff to do more themselves.

At its most basic level, automation helps your business “buy back time”.

Attended vs Unattended automation bots

When it comes to automated bots, there are two types that developers can choose to build, depending on the components of your business process they are automating.

These are:

Attended bots

Attended bots require human input at the start and/or finish of their pre-programmed processes.

For instance, you may have a form that requires a human to enter and submit data before activating the bot which then takes over to process the data and send it where it needs to go.

Unattended bots

Unattended bots can run at any time that they are programmed to. For example, they will identify the data they need from a pre-defined source and automatically process it without any human input required. These can run at night while your staff are asleep or activate as soon as they are required to.

What can be automated in your business?

As we mentioned earlier, if you’ve got a repetitive and cumbersome process, chances are that it can be automated.

These repetitive processes are typically the most low-value and mundane tasks in your business, taking up a large and unproductive portion of your time each day.

Below is a list of what can be automated to help you achieve business success:

  1. The transfer of data between different applications

Do you have two pieces of software that don’t connect, requiring your team to manually connect them? Well, automation can solve this.

Otherwise known as an application bridge, automation can enable two systems that previously didn’t talk to each other to communicate and share information.

For example, data can be entered into one platform before being used to automatically populate several other databases. Likewise, a bot can automatically retrieve data from a spreadsheet sent as an email attachment and use it to populate a CRM.

  1. Invoice or document extraction

When proof of delivery slips, orders and invoices come in via email, a bot can automatically match the details to your systems before processing the document to ensure it is handled and stored accordingly, all without errors.

  1. Compliance reporting

Every business has varying levels of compliance reporting to complete. Automated bots can help with checking and gathering the information required to carry out these checks.

  1. Accounting processes

A bot can automatically populate your accounting software with data from a pre-defined source. It can also do things such as generate the pre-filled documents required to complete various business accounting tasks.

  1. Sales processes

Much like accounting, automation can help to streamline your sales processes and make each task easier to complete for your team. For instance, you can automate the compiling of a personalised pitch deck or process the client forms in a click.

  1. Operational processes

Automating low-value operational processes will give your staff more time (and less frustration) to focus on the high-level tasks that ultimately help to generate more revenue for your business.

  1. Research

Conducting research can be extremely tedious and time-consuming. An automated bot can scour the internet or a large database for the data you need and collate this information neatly for your team to go over and simply pick out what they need – saving countless hours in the process, while also improving accuracy too.

  1. Reporting

Automated bots can easily generate and fill out reports using a document template and data held in your CRM. This way, reporting is fast, accurate and simple.

  1. HR functions

Automated bots can help to streamline the onboarding and offboarding processes for new hires and departing members of staff, completing tasks such as adding and erasing staff details, and sending pre-filled letters of employment.

 

Do any of these automation applications align with your business?

If any of the above automation applications could apply within your organisation, then you have a lot to gain from automation.

As you can see, automation can cover so many aspects of your business. So, if you’re thinking, “I wonder if I can automate that process?”, chances are, you can.

All you have to do is ask your automation experts at CiGen.

 

CiGen are the experts in on-demand business automation solutions

Here at CiGen, we provide an affordable automation service to small and medium-sized businesses through our CiGen On Demand subscription solution, making it easy for your business to harness the true power of automation and buy back your valuable time.

Keep an eye out for our next blog where we explain the business benefits of using CiGen On Demand.

Click here to find out more about CiGen On Demand.

 

 

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