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How Startups Can Capitalize on Automation

Posted by Shivali Anand

April 21, 2021    |     9-minute read (1778 words)

Automation can give a major boost to your business by bringing products to market faster and accomplishing production goals sooner.  Other benefits include improved time management, fewer errors and diminished dependence on human labor.  

How it works: An automated system comprises a set of elements intended to carry out tasks that can be programmed, which simplifies repetitive and operational tasks. Implementing automation tech does require a significant amount of upfront capital and time. In-house reviews are also needed to determine the extent and scope of automation suited to your business needs. In addition, an automated setup must be tested prior to implementation. 

Automation offers a plethora of benefits for business owners, such as facilitating:

  1. Nimble adaptation to market demand

To tackle fluctuating customer demands, automation’s agility and scalability can be leveraged to handle changing market conditions. Automation can solve the issues of many repetitive works as a result you do not need to employ and train new workers to manage process orders, inventory, or payments whenever order volume rises. 

  1. Lower labor costs

Automation trims the number of employees required to carry out manual and time-consuming tasks that are essential yet don’t add much value.. That means it minimizes extra heads and augments productivity, allowing you to focus on the quality rather than the quantity of your employees. Businesses frequently expend a significant amount of their budget on recruiting employees to carry out tasks; automation helps you focus on recruiting only excellent talent needed to fuel expansion.

  1. Better personnel allocation

Automating everyday tasks frees up resources from monotonous tasks so you can focus on strategic projects. HR software offers the required analytics and data to optimize resource allocation, ensuring team members are engaged on the right tasks and reducing the probability that one employee is overloaded with work while another is comparatively free.

  1. Amplified marketing ROI

Automation in the marketing sector can optimize spending and advance results. There are many automated and affordable marketing tools, such as programmatic ad buying, email marketing, audience targeting, CRM and sales, and e-commerce. These automated tools can assist your business in analyzing, process, and organizing a huge amount of consumers’ data, enabling you to implement customized strategies to improve sales and marketing outcomes.

  1. Fewer errors

Automation can improve the accuracy of various business operations, such as bookkeeping, invoicing, order processing and inventory management.  It can help eliminate pricey errors due to labor-intensive processes, such as re-keying data from one system to another.

  1. A remote workforce

Remote personnel allow businesses to access the talent they require, often without the need to hire a full-time team. Automation simplifies internal processes so employees don’t need to be at the same location to work together seamlessly. A number of businesses can even become entirely virtual, saving on overhead.

  1. Better collaboration

To make sure that difficult tasks are carried out successfully in the absence of automation, leaders must supervise every team member and maintain a constant flow of communication. But automation can track all the project processes at the same time, manage key dates and milestones and keep team members up to date with the latest data, documents, files or task status for simplified collaboration.

  1. Higher employee satisfaction

Automation helps streamline employee’s experience by ensuring their requirements and requests are addressed in a particular time frame. Workflows such as handling request forms, travel and expense reimbursement, management leave and many others can be addressed through automation.

  1. Improved communication with external partners

To enhance communication across different platforms, business systems, external vendors and business partners can be added to the automation system to simplify the procurement management and supply chain, ensure the well-timed exchange of information, reduce errors and minimize delays.

  1. A consistent customer experience

Automation standardizes business processes including order processing, marketing, consignments and after-sales support, enabling you to deliver a consistent shopping experience that meets consumers’ expectations and fosters trust. This also lets you collect the data needed to polish processes, ultimately helping you to gain and retain customers while getting more sales. An automated system’s searchable knowledge base, help desk software, and chatbots also can enhance self-service capabilities and boost customer satisfaction.

Tips for successful automation:

  1. Completely understand the process you are automating.

To use automation productively, first recognize, assess and document the procedures you seek to automate. Through testing, validate that automation provides the desired outcome.

  1. Manage expectations.

Manage executive team member’s expectations during automation implementation by offering careful optimism in the most important areas, such as time to implement the system, potential cost savings and the benefits of analytics.  Plan for communicating with management and stakeholders throughout the process, as their role is key for successful long-term progress. 

  1. Focus on goals.

The purpose of automation must be made very clear throughout the business. Ensure that team members understand its benefits. Communicate goals and accomplishments achieved through automation by classifying objectives and milestones.

  1. Begin with the right tool.

Several tools on the market are designed to implement automation in a speedy manner at virtually any business and with minimal effort. Once you identify your business goals, research such tools to save time and capital.

  1. Automate sensibly. 

Implementing automation involves time and resources, but these are quickly recovered once automation is successful. List tasks that can be automated, then prioritize based on required effort and risk entailed if you put in automation. Begin with the processes that will yield the maximum revenue with minimal risk.

  1. Conduct a cost-benefit assessment.

Before employing automation, evaluate the investment versus its anticipated return. Examine every sector of your business to get an in-depth understanding of automation’s potential in different areas.

  1. Consult IT.

IT team members can offer important insights as you opt for an automation tool that meets your business goals. Their expertise will be important in addressing any concerns that arise with the tool. 

  1. Consider long-term plans.

When considering automation tools, keep in mind you need a long-term solution for your business. It must be flexible enough to let you progress and able to transform as needs evolve. 

  1. Plan ahead.

Prior to making any change to an automation task, carry it out manually first to understand what it entails. If you're creating a new project, be mindful of the number of tasks you automate in the event changes are needed or that you need to revert to manual tasks for the short term.

  1. Commence with established processes.

To start, consider activities that are repetitive, high volume and error-prone, such as back-office procedures, data collection, sales, customer due diligence, validation and employee onboarding. Setting up a foundation for company-wide automation boosts the probability of success.

When you plan to kick-start with automation, these are the potential mistakes to watch for:

  1. Picking the wrong platform.

Primarily, you cannot anticipate finishing a task without the help of the correct technology and tools at your disposal. Automation is complex, difficult, and lacks critical intuitiveness, which requires everything in order.  You must look for a product/model for automation that is scalable and lets you begin by automating one or two workflows, leading you to work efficiently.

  1. Beginning with the wrong processes. 

To roll out automation in your business, the best practice is to start with small steps and gradually making your way ahead. Many businesses make the blunder of starting their automation setups with a workflow that is exceptionally complex or which includes a too wide range. The fundamentals of automating basic are to start with manual repetitive daily tasks in the beginning and then proceed to more comprehensive processes, once you are comfortable with the setup you are using.

  1. Approaching automation solely from a tech perspective.

The finest way to advance an automation assignment is not from a point of technology, however from a point of difficulty cracking. Firstly, you must have a clear idea of what main points you wish to address, and in what arrangement, and then scrutinize the automation as a means to that end. Focus on the more significant end result and how to accomplish it, instead of getting held up in the technology behind it.

  1. Ignoring the big picture.

Automation is extremely helpful in taking routine tasks of one small department and automating them to advance effectiveness, but many fail to believe is that these automation tools can accomplish much more. In reality, the critical aim of automation is to be a connection that connects all divisions and ties collectively the complete infrastructure of a company/venture/business. Considering just one area of automation limits the virtually everlasting possibilities that automation has to offer.

  1. Failing to identify, assess the importance of automation.

As with other elements in the business, calculating the success of your automation strategy and extracting its worth is vital, yet it is extremely overlooked too often. To actually get the most out of your automation job, you must realize how to analyze your return on investment. It will help you discover areas that could use some changes and identify which workflows and processes have been productively automated. The success of any business is in its planning, and part of which involves identifying the mistakes made by others so that you can keep away from doing the same. 

  1. Automating too much, too soon.

A few business procedures can potentially be automated, however, that does not mean to set up multiple automation tools all at once across the entire company.

  1. Failing to create an automation approach.

 To implement automation with no strategy outlined and objectives in order is like going out on a road trip lacking a map or navigation, which leads you nowhere. Instead of beginning with a huge process and end-to-end lifecycle automation, categorize automation opportunities in smaller segments, operational areas, and repeatable tasks.

  1. Forgetting about administration.

It is the simplest but riskiest drawback of automation processes. Implementing automation doesn’t mean they need for employees goes away.  Automation processes must be administered and supervised by trained staff. Neglecting the need for administration risks your business losing control over automated processes and the competitive benefits they confer.

  1. Not addressing employee concerns.

The introduction of automation in most organizations can also have a major impact on people. Staff may be uncertain how or whether they will be affected. Implementation should be undertaken in conjunction with HR to ensure consistent communication and to avoid abrupt turnover among staff who fear losing their jobs. 

  1. Disregarding end users.

Prior to automating anything in your organization, consider its impact on the people most affected by such a transformation. Take your team’s suggestions into account, and assess which projects are their pain points. 

 

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