7 Business Processes That Work Better Without Automation
As technology grows and advances, business owners can take advantage of new opportunities for optimizing and improving their business operations. While incorporating certain tools into your processes can save time and money, not every aspect will benefit from automation. So how do business owners decide which business processes work better without automation?
The key to successfully implementing automation is recognizing its benefits and where it falls short.
What Is Business Process Automation?
Business process automation (BPA) refers to the use of technology to automatically complete recurring daily tasks or processes within your company. As a result, these tasks require minimal human intervention, which helps to reduce operating costs and improve efficiency.
There are opportunities for automation in most areas of the business, including:
- Collecting data
- Populating and organizing spreadsheets
- Reporting and analytics
- Batch processing
- Email and social media marketing efforts
- Client onboarding
Benefits of Business Process Automation
The most obvious benefit to business process automation is opportunity-cost savings, allowing you to use specialized software to complete tasks requiring minimal human intervention and freeing you and your employees to focus on more important tasks.
Not everything in your business can be automated, but it’s always a worthwhile exercise to consider what can be automated, so you’re maximizing your time and resources each day.
Advancing your technology has many other great benefits for businesses of all sizes. For example, automation is valuable for building your client list and collecting and managing the data from these efforts. It allows you to create one central database with all your client information, amplifying marketing efforts and leading to a better customer service experience.
Use automation to speed up repetitive tasks. For example, software can scan large databases for the contact information missing in your CRM platform, completing what could take months in a couple of hours instead. Of course, entries requiring a manual search for a phone number or email address may still exist, but the time needed for the task as a whole would be cut down significantly.
When implemented properly, automation tools are also a great way to establish a more standardized operation by reducing the opportunities for human error.
The most important thing to remember is that automation isn’t designed to replace your employees. Instead, use it to facilitate their efforts by freeing them from the more mundane or repetitive tasks and allowing them to focus where their attention is needed most.
7 Tasks You Should Not Automate (or Fully Automate)
There is no arguing that business process automation can be an asset, but the biggest mistake that many businesses make is trying to automate everything. The truth is that a real, live human may be the only way to handle some aspects of your day-to-day properly. Here are 7 areas of your business where you should skip automation for at least some element of the work required.
Tasks Requiring Human Creativity
With the rise of digital content marketing, many businesses are searching for a solution to create necessary collateral, which has led to a growing interest in using AI programs for content writing. Unfortunately, the technology hasn’t evolved to the level needed for this to be effective.
There is no doubt that AI content generators will continue to improve. Still, for now, there is a noticeable difference between generated content and that written by a real person.
AI-generated content flows decently but misses much of the nuance which is woven in by talented freelancers who have perfected their craft over a long period of time. There’s no replacing feel, tone, and carefully crafted storytelling by AI – at least for now.
The same can be said for the design process. Programs now exist that produce eye-catching results once you set a few guidelines. But it’s important to remember that there is more to design and branding in business than just creating something aesthetically pleasing.
A human designer can better account for the nuance and emotions included in an image or design. They can also better assess how this design complements existing marketing campaigns and plays into your business’s voice.
Highly Complex Processes
Not all tasks are created equally. For example, the use of automation software makes sense when implemented to handle repetitive tasks and even some of the more complex processes in your business. Still, when those tasks require ongoing human intervention or regular decision-making, automation may complicate the job instead of making it easier for your employees.
Avoid the mess while still harnessing the power of automation– consider using a tool for smaller process segments, leaving the portions that need human involvement for manual completion.
Budgeting and Accounting
Some aspects of your accounting can be and should be automated for better efficiency. For example, you can use automation to:
- Monitor spending
- Pay bills and expenses
- Provide reliable financial planning for your business
- Track accounts payable and accounts receivable
- Complete bank reconciliation
- Manage payroll
However, when it comes time to balance the books and make any major financial decisions, there is no replacement for the expertise of a knowledgeable accountant.
Voice and Translation
There are many different options for voice automation services and translation, but most fall short in terms of accuracy. They struggle to account for different accents and dialects, miss words not clearly enunciated, and fail to perform if the audio includes too much background noise.
Unless you have the budget to invest in advanced voice automation software, manual note-taking by your team will result in a more accurate record.
When it comes to translating, we have seen great advancements in automation. Translation apps and websites are readily available to users worldwide to ensure that communication is accessible regardless of what language you speak and with whom you are trying to communicate. However, these translation programs often include grammatical errors or inaccuracies.
While you can count on a higher level of accuracy with premium automation software, there is still room for error. Therefore, any translations run through an automated program should be edited carefully before being released to the general public to deliver your company message.
Key Client Touch Points
Automated phone systems can be beneficial in screening calls and connecting clients with the most appropriate person to address your customer complaints. But elaborate, multi-layered phone trees can give your client the impression that the company doesn’t want to hear their concerns.
When a customer is having a problem with your product or service, they are often experiencing strong feelings of frustration or annoyance. Not addressing these emotions or issues can damage any trust or relationship you have built to date.
There is no substitute for the reassuring sound of a human voice or the comfort of a friendly face.
Low ROI Automation
The goal of implementing automation in your business is to save time and money. Before introducing automation software to any process, take a moment to perform a cost-benefit analysis.
When selecting tasks to automate in your business, the ideal options are:
- High volume
- Low variation between transactions
- Higher investment of time or money.
Assess the investment required to automate a specific task. As with any business decision, it needs to make financial sense. In addition to the cost of purchasing the automation software, you should also consider any tasks that will still need to be completed manually and how complicated they will be to execute.
Now is the time if you haven’t tried to break down your processes and assess their efficiency. Implementing automation software will magnify any inefficiencies in your current system, resulting in an even higher cost to the business and greatly reducing the benefits you will experience.
So before purchasing automation software or introducing it to your team, take this opportunity to fully assess the techniques and procedures currently used in your business.
Is there a better way to complete the work? Are there unnecessary and redundant steps in the process you can remove? Optimize your business procedures, and increase the potential return on investment.
Leveraging Automation Effectively in Your Business
As automation software continues improving and enhancing, new opportunities will present themselves. But there are a few important factors to consider when introducing automation for business success.
Before investing in major changes to the operation of your business, take time to reassess your business goals, identifying ways automation can propel your business forward. Consult with your employees. Ask them to identify repetitive tasks that may free their time to complete the other jobs, and >test each option before diving into a single solution.
When implementing automation, don’t overlook the importance of proper team training. This includes training on the new process with the automation in place and how to continue operating as a business if the automation fails.
While technology and automation are designed to make our lives easier and improve the quality of our work, there is always the possibility of something going wrong. If necessary, your team needs to step in and override the automation to ensure everything is in order. Ideally, clients will never know the difference.