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How to Automate Your Business Processes

If you’re looking to enhance your business’s efficiency, productivity, and profitability in one fell swoop, process automation is well worth looking into. Why rely on individuals to perform each aspect of your business processes when you could automate it? It may sound too good to be true, but this isn’t just a perk for big-corp business owners! Anyone can benefit from implementing business automation processes thanks to this new breed of mature algorithmic technology. 

In this blog post, we’ll discuss why automation puts businesses at an advantage and how to automate your business processes for optimal success. With the proper knowledge and understanding surrounding automation, you can look forward to decreasing operational costs and increasing overall productivity. 

Knowing When Automation is Right for Your Business

There are numerous day-to-day challenges businesses can overcome through automating their various processes. With 42% of business leaders agreeing that process automation will increase task completion speed, this implementation may be necessary to keep up. If you experience any of the following problems at your business, it’s likely time to turn to automation:

  • Compliance worries: If you’re notoriously unable to keep up with scanning and installing security updates, or you feel like you have a lack of visibility into business processes, you run the chance of compliance breaches. Safeguard your private information by automating your crucial processes. 
  • Human error: As imperfect beings, employees are bound to make mistakes at one point or another. While this is a normal occurrence, it still can result in disrupted business operations and unwanted downtime. Automating your business processes will result in fewer opportunities for error and create better efficiency.
  • Wasted time: Repetitive, time-consuming tasks don’t have to eat away at productivity levels. Simple workflows, such as contract lifecycle management, can easily be automated to manually collect the information for each and every contract, thus minimizing unnecessary extra steps and avoidable downtime.

Effectively Automating Your Business Processes 

While automating your business processes is a sure-fire way to transform your business operations trajectory, it’s important to tailor these solutions to fit your unique needs. You’ll want to pay close attention to the following five steps when strengthening  your business through automation:

1. Decide Which Processes Require Automation

To get on the right track when it comes to automating your business processes, it’s important to understand why certain tasks should be automated over others. The goal is to make sure you’re automating simple tasks that the algorithm can handle without issue. 

For example, you might want to refrain from automating complex tasks that require a creative process. Translation technology wouldn’t likely benefit from automation since it’s nearly impossible to replicate the complex cognitive processes human translators are capable of. When it comes to automation, try to think of repetitive tasks that can be done 100% accurately without human input. These can include:

  • Automating email responses 
  • Reaching out to existing customers
  • Sending invoices 
  • Importing spreadsheets
  • Analytics reporting
  • Bulk image optimization
  • Publishing blog posts to social media at specific times
  • Scoring leads based on user actions
2. Choose Your Automation Tools

Once you’ve decided which tasks to automate, you’ll next want to determine which tools will best help you reach your goals. While this may seem easy enough, there is an endless list of business automation tasks to choose from. You’ll simply need to determine what you need help with and if it’s simple enough for automation to tackle.  

Here are some key things to consider when choosing automation tools for your business:

  • User experience: Your online processes should look good and perform even better, ensuring your users benefit from easy-to-use automation. 
  • Mobile responsiveness: Since so many people use mobile devices for business communication, your process automation should support and be responsive to this.
  • Flexible deployment options: Cloud-based deployment has pretty much become the default in recent years. Business processes are simply more useful when they can connect to your internal system data. 
  • Integration: Many of your processes will typically need access to the core software deployed in your organization.
  • Visual tools: Low-code visual platforms ensure you won’t need professional coders to create your workflows.
3. Set Your Automation Targets

Before you begin putting any workflows in place, it’s crucial to ensure you set your specific targets. This will aid you in gauging your automation success and refine your processes. The goal of automation is to free up time to focus on other aspects of your business operations. Say you have entirely too many emails to keep track of and are looking for a way to stay on top of the ones labeled “high-priority.” At Exact IT, we can help you implement and optimize Microsoft SharePoint to construct a workflow that caters to this exact need. 

The next time a high-priority email hits your inbox, a task could be automatically added to your calendar. While automating this type of process won’t drastically improve results, it will free up valuable time that can now be spent on other business operations. It also ensures you don’t overlook anything important. The question now is: what will you do with this time? Be specific in defining your goal and make sure it’s measurable so you can see the impact of even minor automation.

4. Track Your Results 

Without setting distinct targets and goals, it will be difficult to the positive impact automating processes is having on your business. Additionally, you won’t be able to pinpoint opportunities to refine automations and improve overall performance results. 

Process automation allows businesses to effortlessly multiply tasks, meaning a simple tweak to your workflow could have the potential to add thousands or even hundreds of thousands to your profit margins. When you track results and refine workflows, this strategy could significantly improve your bottom line. 

5. Work Automation into the Culture of Your Business

Once you begin understanding and realizing the endless possibilities of business automation, you’ll start looking at all your processes and thinking, can this be automated? Eventually, you’ll even start looking for ways to improve your existing automations! 

You want to help work automation into your business’ culture. This way, your team will develop a mindset that revolves around efficiency and making the most of their resources. You’ll be surprised at how many day-to-day tasks could be automated to free up time, and you’ll begin picking up on how automation can produce better results.

Streamline Your Business Processes With Automation

We hope this blog has helped you better understand how you can effectively automate your business processes. Remember: it’s best to start slow and build your workflows over time. You’ll want to focus on the above five steps to ensure you’re implementing your first processes, tracking results, and refining your workflows to achieve optimal business performance.

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