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What is Automation and Why Is It an Important Aspect of Business?

Automation is a process backed by advanced technology that allows machines to do work once done by humans but at a much quicker— yet still accurate— pace. Basically, it’s making something operate automatically. There are four types of automation systems:

  1. Fixed automation– a system performs a single set of tasks
  2. Programmable automation– a system is given commands by a computer program
  3. Soft automation– similar to programmable automation, but with more flexibility
  4. Integrated automation– controlled entirely by a computer with little human interaction

Automation is used in a variety of different industries and ways, and it has made a lot of business functions much easier.

Automation for Business

Business process automation (BPA) is the automation of complex, repetitive, and tedious business tasks generally done by humans. However, business process automation does not automate all tasks, nor is it free of human input. An example would be a customer support chatbot that understands specific inquiries and generates automated responses but, in some cases, allows the user to connect with a representative.

BPA is beneficial to both the business and the customers. Some examples of the benefits of BPA include:

Customer satisfaction increases due to automated services being significantly faster than when done solely by human hands.
Businesses become much more efficient because automation removes human error.
Automation gives you predictable results.

Business Functions That Should be Automated

Almost any aspect of business can be automated in some way. Depending on the type of business you have, you may choose to automate some processes and not others. On the other hand, there are some processes that all businesses can benefit from automating. Here are some examples of the most common automated business tasks.

Accounting Processes

The majority of all accounting and financial aspects of your business can be automated. This also includes invoice processing and expense tracking. Anything money-related that you have to do manually is very tedious and there’s a lot more room for error. Automating these types of business processes will save you both time and money.

Customer Support

Most people would probably argue that customers would prefer an actual human to talk to when encountering a problem, but many issues can be cleared up with an automated customer support system, such as a chatbot. Again, most businesses allow for human intervention for a more complex issue.

Employee Hiring and Onboarding

The entire process of hiring new employees (interviewing, background checks, onboarding, and training) can be a very time-consuming process without the help of technology. This is especially true with the onboarding process. The reason is that the workforce today has had the technology for the majority of their lives, and they prefer to have the tools and technology to train themselves, rather than having a human show them.

IT Support

Like customer support, issues related to technology should also be automated. This is quicker than manually notifying an IT expert (whether by phone, email or in-person) that something isn’t functioning the way it should.

Sales and CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

Every business owner knows that there is a lot of paperwork that goes on behind the scenes. One of those things is CRM, or how your relationship with your current and potential customers are doing. Fortunately CRM and other sales functions can be automated with the help of JDE Software solutions.

Social Media Management

The most successful businesses have a strong social media presence since billions of people use social media every day. However, social media marketing and creating brand awareness take a lot of time and effort. Websites like HubSpot and HootSuite allow you to create and post content automatically at peak times, and they also have tools that help moderate comments and respond to inquiries.

Supply Chain Management and Logistics

Automating this part of your business allows you to increase your productivity. You’ll be able to communicate with your distributors and other business partners more effectively, which in turn will also help you provide better customer service.

Clearly, automation is an important part of the business. It gives business owners and their employees the chance to focus on core business tasks, rather than the menial, behind-the-scenes work that it takes to keep a business running. It also makes a business run more smoothly and efficiently, with little to no error. If you’re a new business owner, consider automating one or more of your business processes.