When your company expands, with both the number and scale of internal and external tasks increasing exponentially, automation of tasks is a natural step of progression. While increasing your physical headcount is one solution to manage the increasing workload, process automation in the office is the oft turned-to approach, particularly in this technology fore-fronted era.
At its most basic, process automation can be applied to simple tasks like filtering through email inboxes or tracking event attendee RSVPs. However, there are also many other tasks that automation can aid with too, including the issuance of new employee security passes and accounting services – and these could drive strategic value and save your organization large amounts of resources each year.
Businesses all over the world are transforming, and now more than ever, it’s important that yours is able to keep up. Thinking about taking that next step by initiating process automation in your businesses to drive productivity? Here are some of the pros and cons that may help with your decision.
Improves efficiency, both with time and resources
Process automation reduces your staff’s involvement in many mundane administrative tasks (e.g. inventory checks, document generation), leaving them free to concentrate on other value-adding tasks, or even be trained for handling higher-level responsibilities. This could also help to improve customer service and satisfaction, especially with the millennial demographic that assumes self-service options are a given.
Improves precision and prevents lapses
We’re only human, and errors occur even for the best of us. On the other hand, process automation is programed and designed for accuracy, eliminating any possibilities of distraction, misheard information, or miscalculated data.
Increases collaborative potential
One common scenario in any office is the wait: the wait for colleagues’ or superiors’ advice, input, response, feedback or approval. While awaiting responses across a number of people and departments, this could result in the project being put on hold, causing work backlog and bottlenecks.
Using office productivity tools can help transform this – through the automation of tasks, real-time transfers and a more immediate sharing of information and knowledge, processes can be sped up and efficiency can be increased. In addition, this also helps boost the collaborative nature of businesses.
Requires time for user adoption processes
It understandably takes time for anyone to learn something new or to get used to new processes. Certain employees who may have already gotten used to manual methods might find it a challenge to operate and adjust to automated methods.
In this case, it is important to communicate the benefits automation brings to the business, and to ensure adequate time is allowed for employees across the board to be proficient in the new automated technology and the necessary processes.
Understanding cost-benefit trade-offs
Not as much of a con, as it is more of an acceptance. Process automation upgrades do come at a cost, especially with investments needing to be made to upgrade or add-on software and equipment. This could often be in the form of a one-time payment or supplemented with annual micropayments.
While some might see this as an additional, and probably unnecessary, investment, they often fail to understand the true value it brings. Again, these automation tools can free up your employees’ time for other tasks, and allows your staff to embark on higher-level tasks. It is important to understand and have in mind the expected cost-benefit trade-off for such upgrades.
The lack of a personal touch
As automation becomes ubiquitous in daily life and tasks, some may feel that these could take away the human aspect that is important in business practices. Customer service is a key area that could well be affected by this change – for example, calling a helpline for assistance, only to be directed through a series of pre-programmed options that doesn’t cater to the real issue at hand.
Even though this might be true, process automation can still be a consideration for mundane administrative tasks or internal processes – your processes will see less human errors, your business will become more efficient, and your employees will thank you for making their job (and life) easier. Win-win.
All that said, what’s most important is to know your business’ strategy and goals; after identifying the business functions that will help you achieve these goals, you can then consider whether process automation are worth investing in.
Schedule a free consultation with us to find out more about what suits your organization!