Harnessing the power of automation can prove crucial in increasing a company’s ability to operate efficiently – both internally and externally. There are several ways to achieve this, but the main component is, perhaps not surprisingly – advanced technology. Whilst implementing such technologies can seem like a daunting task at first, the adjacent advantages will likely outweigh the obstacles, even for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
It appears appropriate to initiate this discussion with comprehension for Business Process Automation (BPA). BPA refers to the partial shift towards automation of essential business operations, besides the more conventional data management procedures. This process is heavily dependent on technology to alleviate the burden of certain tasks, which were previously carried out by humans. As such, companies can streamline their business operations to better tackle their demands. This is not to say that humans are removed completely from the process. In fact, following on from the ‘humans-in-the-loop’ concept, humans will still play an integral part in the process, simply with the aid of technological advances. This marked shift towards human-computer interaction (HCI), is the true game-changer of automation. BPA allows core functions of the business to be handled automatically so that human labor can be directed towards more innovation. This process must necessarily start with an understanding of both the needs and goals of the business, to properly assess which tasks are best suited to be operated automatically, and which tasks the human employee is best equipped to handle.
Now that we are familiar with the basic concept of automation, it is time to deep dive into its practicalities. It might be beneficial to start with a comprehension of Intelligent Automation (IA). Whilst there are several layers to automation, IA takes the automation process to the next level by combining the use of both Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to ensure accelerated end-to-end automation of a business. As such, even highly demanding tasks such as data manipulation of unstructured data can be automated. Furthermore, with cognitive technologies, businesses can polish existing systems to discover and mitigate faults and leaks within the system itself, thus reducing risks. As previously mentioned, this is highly dependent on the needs and goals of the business itself; SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) might find it more beneficial to streamline their day-to-day tasks, whereas multinational enterprises (MNEs) might find it more useful to explore the more advanced components of automation.
If you are still not convinced of the many benefits of automatic processes – you probably will be now. Besides its specific functionalities, automation also comes with other perks. Below you will find a run-through of the most common ones, which includes a lot of day-to-day, repetitive tasks:
If all this sounded a bit too abstract, you might find it useful to examine a few examples of automation, to truly understand its role as a game-changer. Automation can be highly individual, depending on your business, but there are some common features as to how it is used:
All the steps we have gone through so far, illustrate well how important automation can be for a business. Keeping up in a fast-paced environment can be demanding, even without all the new technological advances, and perhaps especially for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). With a well-designed HCI (human-computer interaction ) balance, automation can be a real game-changer, and ultimately help your business free up time for what is truly important to you. After identifying which areas could benefit from automatically run processes, your business could completely change the way it operates and functions. So, to sum up, what we have argued so far, innovation is crucial to any business, and automation can help get you there.