Automation was once synonymous with high-tech manufacturing plants that were full of robots. Although automation in the workplace is best illustrated by replacing human labor with machines, it's not the only one. Modern businesses are full of automation, from subtle features in software applications to more obvious ones like autonomous robots or self-driving cars.
Although there is much debate over where workplace automation will take the economy, observers agree that it is growing in popularity. Automation is possible for every business process, particularly as technology advances. Automation will undoubtedly transform the workplace and the economy. The question is: How much?
What is workplace automation?
Automation is often portrayed as complex and imposing robotics. However, it can be as simple as a collection of tools that are embedded within common business software programs. Automation is about automating repetitive, repeatable tasks that can be done without human labor. Automation is a way to find something that you can do multiple times and adds value.
Automation used to require expensive servers and skilled staff to manage them. Automation was not affordable for many small businesses because of this prohibitive cost. Townes stated that automation tools have become accessible to all companies thanks to cloud-based platforms.
Automating repetitive business processes frees employees up to do more valuable tasks than those that can easily be done by machines. Machine learning and other advanced forms of automation can be used to perform higher-order tasks that require more flexibility. These software programs are able to quickly scan through large amounts of data and then contextualize it in a way that supports internal decision-making.
These are just a few of the many ways that workplace automation is being used by forward-thinking businesses:
1. Hiring and talent acquisition
Automating human resource processes such as scheduling interviews and tracking down candidates frees workers up to choose the right candidate for their company.
The recruitment system is changing and using AI to match the right people to the right teams for the right projects.
2. Email marketing
Many small business owners use at least one type of automation: Email marketing. Software from companies like Constant Contact and Zoho allows users to customize their email marketing campaigns to their liking and then set it up to run automatically.
An introductory email can easily be uploaded to the software. It will be sent once a contact has been added. The software can send a follow-up email within a few days, but only to the people who opened the initial email.
3. Customer service
With the introduction of tools such as chatbots, automated text messaging marketing solutions, and automated chatbots, customer service departments are getting an automation overhaul. These tools allow customers to automate customer service by quickly answering common queries. If the chatbot is not able to handle their needs, it will refer them to a representative.
4. Human resources
Digitization can improve efficiency in a department due to the repetitive nature of HR tasks, such as timesheets and payroll. It is possible to automate performance management and absenteeism records by reducing human error.
The software can alert you if quotas have been reached or missed. It also keeps accurate records up-to-date in real-time. Google forms can be used to automate onboarding, such as prewritten emails, event scheduling, and distribution of training materials.
An algorithm won't be able to take a client to coffee or negotiate a deal with them as well as a trained salesperson. However, automation can help free up time for human-centric interactions. McKinsey estimates 33% of all sales tasks could be automated. Some of these tasks could include invoicing, order processing, tracking and logistics, and account management.
Automation Just Beginning
Automation is becoming an integral part of every business. There are many opportunities to automate common workplace processes. It can be used to provide excellent customer service, streamline the hiring process, or manage marketing campaigns more efficiently. Automation will be more common as technology advances.
Machine learning is a driver for more advanced automation
Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence allow for new forms of "smart automation". The software becomes more flexible as it learns. These technologies allow for the automation of tasks that are more complex than repetitive, basic tasks.
Data sets will become more complete and more accessible, and software will draw on more sources and synthesize more data points. Human decision-making will improve as contextual information becomes more critical. Machine learning will be a complement to, or even an enhancement to, human knowledge. The possibilities are limitless when you combine AI capabilities with better data retention via the Internet of Things.
Automation to increase efficiency and profitability
Ironically, automation of business processes is also the bottom line. Automating business processes can save time and allow resources to be diverted. This allows companies to remain smaller and more flexible.
Large and small businesses will see higher efficiency, productivity, and lower costs. It remains to be seen how automation will impact the economy overall, but it seems certain that automation will continue to grow.
This will lead to a lot of debate about what it means for consumers, workers, and businesses. However, Automation will make it possible.