The world of automation has come a long way; from a time when talk of automation was limited to robotic arms and machines, today it has seeped deep into the enterprise landscape. Ranging from subtle everyday automation of a variety of business processes to skillful and wide-ranging implementations like AI-driven autonomous vehicles. Business users expect great levels of convenience and expediency in carrying out daily tasks, enterprises need to respond with speed and agility to market conditions, and the tolerance for even the merest error is now negligible. Under such circumstances, the business case for automation has escalated like never before. The need for automation now spans the entire enterprise. From automated call center operations to resume screening, candidate recruitment, digital meeting assistants to automated software testing, leave management to email follow-ups, performance evaluation, automated data entry, and more –modern business users want to be able to do their jobs quickly and efficiently. And they have come around to believing that the only way they can do this is through automation.
Why automation matters in the digital age
For years, employees have had to contend with business activities that were mundane, repetitive, and that required them to do the same tasks over and over again. These activities not only result in substantial manual errors, but they are also extremely time-consuming. This made them expensive and led to varying degrees of employee disengagement. Users who get drowned by monotonous work often get extremely demotivated and dispirited. For modern business users, automating mundane tasks can
- Reduce the overall workload and free up time that they can use to focus on more business-critical work and adding more value to the business.
- Lead to improved satisfaction and engagement across every department in the organization.
- Streamline tasks, reduce room for human error, and improve employee satisfaction and business outcomes.
- Enable automated workflow-driven seamless collaboration, so business users can effectively manage their tasks and communicate more easily.
- Empower them to build relationships with customers, manage their concerns, and drive customer satisfaction.
Take the example of the sales department. Using automation to automate tasks such as lead generation, prospecting, or contact management can allow sales reps to speed up things and address customer requirements with agility and precision. Similarly, for HR employees, automation can help screen through thousands of resumes, schedule interviews with shortlisted candidates, streamline the onboarding process, review and compare employee performance, and make the expenses claim process more efficient. In the marketing department, automation can help organizations curate highly personalized and curated campaigns and keep up with the demand. Marketing automation tools can enable them to automate emails, track customer preferences, and improve focus and results. And of course, this is the time of the connected enterprise so no task can be restricted to one department. Indeed, a misalignment between department can actively hurt the business. It is now imperative to create automation that enables cross-departmental collaboration. This demands a cohesive integration between not only the functions but also the tools and technologies those departments use. Critical business solutions like CRM & LMS must come together. The Marketing Automation platform must integrate with the customer service helpdesk tool. The ERP may need an interface with the CRM, and so on. But of course, this automation utopia is not easy to achieve. Here’s what business users dream of in the context of the meaningful automation they want.
What business users expect from automation
As business users get more and more tech-savvy, they expect the same level of convenience in their jobs as they enjoy in their personal lives – speaking to digital assistants, remotely operating their home appliances, controlling lighting, energy, security, and more. Today, they want to be able to
- Connect to different systems and solutions easily – with a simple click of the mouse.
- Create and automate meaningful workflows by themselves – across systems and departments – without having to depend on IT experts.
- Access data from across the organization – no matter where or in what format it is stored – and seamlessly share it for data-driven decision-making.
- Enable collaboration by communicating in real-time with peers as well as with users in other teams, departments, business units, and locations.
- Automate mundane tasks to save massive time and effort and focus on more business-critical operations.
- Respond with speed and agility to business needs, market trends, and customer demands.
- Standardize and streamline processes, so metrics can be quantified, tasks can be measured, and bottlenecks easily identified.
Sadly, it’s true that the automation reality falls short of that dream. The extreme complexity of the enterprise tech stack, the disparate systems within that ecosystem, and the sheer effort involved in building custom integrations between various systems shatter many a business user’s automation dream.
Automation will define the future of work
The pace of adoption is staggering. According to some reports, the global automation market is expected to be worth $200 billion by 2021. The pros clearly outweigh the cons, allowing organizations to completely change the way they carry out their daily operations. Since today’s business users expect high levels of sophistication in their jobs, modern automation solutions must allow them to drag and drop applications and create meaningful workflows – all by themselves. By reducing (or completely eliminating) their dependence on IT professionals, automation can allow them to connect different systems/solutions easily and drive far more value from their efforts. That will be the fulfillment of the automation dream.