Stop Wasting Time and Start Automating
There are a copious amount of routine tasks that take place behind-the-scenes in any successful organization. They are integral to the smooth running of a company, yet they are notoriously mundane, time-consuming and subject to human error. Thankfully we live in an age where technology has advanced to such an extent that we can automate a great deal of these business processes, resulting in more streamlined workflows and staff who are able to put their talents to more productive use.
What is business process automation?
Business Process Automation (BPA) leverages computing technology to manage information and everyday business processes. It serves to streamline communication, lower costs and improve efficiency and productivity. BPA integrates applications and software to automate tasks through implementation, execution and completion. With all the recent advances, it has been said that 2016 is the year of workplace automation.
Why automate business processes?
Importantly, automation serves to save organisations considerable time and expense, two commodities that are invaluable to any business. Automating nearly eliminates the possibility of human error, improves internal communication, tracks information and increases transparency within a business, so managers can determine the progress and status of a given process. All of this results in a more streamlined, productive organisation. Regardless of your business, there are many ways that automation can be integrated to maximum effect.
Digital signatures and compliance
One area where automation can help considerably is in the area of digital signatures. Rather than using wet ink signatures, which are far from legally necessary and serve to interrupt and delay business processes, digital signatures can automate certain processes and benefit your organization in many ways.
Digital signatures are based on globally-accepted Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) standards, meaning that they provide high levels of security. They save companies time in the form of printing out documents, delivering the documents and waiting for the document’s return – not to mention inevitable delays, such as the signee temporarily forgetting about the document in question.
Digital signatures enhance compliance and improve records for audit trails by adding an extra level of security in the form of multi-factor authentication. Safeguards are present in the form of tamper-evident seals, so the documents involved cannot be altered. To top it all off, digital signature software can be programmed to send reminders to parties who have yet to sign, as well as tracking the status of a given document. With all these time-consuming tasks being taken care of by technology, skilled employees are able to get on with more important matters.
Real-time, enhanced communication
Automation can even step in to facilitate communication, which is integral to the efficient running of any company. When companies use software to automate their conversation, it means that feedback and assistance can be given instantly and regularly. Employees are able to gain more of a firm grasp of their tasks, check in with their supervisors and update their colleagues on progress. Information that is simply written down runs the risk of being lost and instructions communicated out loud might be forgotten. With communication software, documents can be shared, conversations can be tracked and plans can be laid out in real-time.
Appointment automation tools
Automating tasks such as booking meetings and organizing appointments is simple with the use of technology. Regardless of how easy the process of scheduling a meeting might appear to be, in a company where countless meetings are held per day, the time taken to organize and track them can soon mount up. Automating this function means that businesses can receive notification alerts by email or text when meetings are scheduled or cancelled, and employees can utilize modern, user-friendly calendars to keep track of upcoming appointments. This same technology can be used to monitor sick leave, training and holiday leave.
Time and task management
In order to determine how efficient an organization is, it is important to keep track of how long employees take to perform given tasks. Automation can assist in this area, providing the means of tracking time spent on a given project. Certain software is even able to detect which websites or programs are used by the employees, thereby giving a solid indication as to how productively they are spending their time.
Optimizing the recruitment process
In order to ensure a low turnover and limited costs, it is important to recruit the ideal candidate for a given role. Automation can facilitate this area in many ways. Recruitment software can collect CVs from attachments and scan them for target keywords relevant to the role, create candidate profiles and track these applicants’ status throughout the recruitment process. Software such as this also allows HR and anyone involved in the recruitment process to share their notes and evaluations internally, as well as allowing the facility to attach documents and create follow-on tasks. Automation can even assist in the form of automatically generated emails, auto-responses and interview scheduling. It is clear to see how automation within recruitment saves significant time and effort.
Social media automation
Regardless of industry, no modern business should disregard the importance of social media. Effective use of social media marketing increases brand recognition and helps to establish a solid reputation. However, as beneficial as social media efforts may be, to be done effectively it can be extremely time consuming. Thankfully, automation can step in to facilitate the process. Specialized tools can schedule blog updates, post updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and email newsletters. This ensures that your organization retains a strong and continuous media presence with minimal time commitment.
Yaakov Smith, a first class honours graduate of Oxford University, has almost twenty years’ experience developing and designing software. He is the CEO of Logican Solutions, a UK-based business management software company that serves to streamline processes and increase productivity. They offer a range of products, including solutions for claims management, debt management and property portfolio management.