If you think that automation means big companies replacing human employees, then you are probably wrong. Even small business owners are using automation tools in their personal and business life.
If you are using applications like Zensdesk, Hootsuite, Zaire, and GSuite for saving your time, then you are already using automation.
Automation technologies can help you in increasing your business agility. It will also help you in saving a lot of money. Automation will help you in reducing delays and improving productivity.
An automation strategy will also help you in applying the right tools for optimizing the benefits of the technologies that you are using. In this article, we are going to talk about the importance of the IT automation strategy.
Types of IT automation that SMBs can use
There are various ways to use automation. Automation will help you in improving productivity, increasing efficiency, and streamlining business operations. Some common types of IT automation that SMBs can use are:
- Business Process Automation or BPA: BPA will help you in executing recurring tasks. These recurring tasks involve a lot of manual effort. You can eliminate this manual effort by using technology. BPA will help you in minimizing cost, increasing efficiency, and streamlining workflow. Some of the common examples are travel authorization, request forms, invoicing, and onboarding employees.
- eCommerce and Marketing automation: You can collect and process your customer data. This will help you in delivering the right message at the right time. You can provide timely support to your customers. This will help you in increasing your customer retention rate. Some of the common examples are chatbots, CRM systems, and email marketing tools.
- Chatbots: There are various affordable chatbot solutions available in the market. Chatbots will help you in providing 24×7 customer service which will help you in improving your customer service. You can access the information instantaneously.
- Robotic process automation: Robotic process automation will help you in automating time-consuming and repetitive tasks. These time-consuming tasks won’t add much value to your business. For example, transferring files and copying data won’t add any value to your business. Thus, you should automate all these tasks.
- Inventory management automation: You can integrate your solution with your supplier system. This will help you in automatically adding, deleting, editing, and transferring product information to your website. It will help you in enabling product availability and data updates in real-time. Thus, you can minimize canceled orders or backorders. At the same time, you can improve the shopping experience of your customers.
Benefits of Automation for SMBs
You need to invest some money in implementing IT automation in your organization. This will help you in standardizing the entire process. If you want to effectively prioritize resources, then you should first identify the areas that can be automated. Some of the main benefits of automation for small businesses are:
Many SMBs are spending a lot of money on hiring employees to perform labor-intensive tasks. These tasks are generally very time-consuming. Also, these tasks won’t add any value to your business.
IT automation will help you in reducing the number of employees that need to handle these manual tasks. Thus, it will help you in reducing the overhead tasks. You can also increase the profitability of your business by using automation. IT automation will allow you to focus on the quality of your employees.
Adapt to market demand
IT automation will help give a lot of agility and scalability to your business. This will ensure that your business can handle the changes in market conditions. You don’t need to hire more employees for handling fluctuations in order volume or customer demand.
You can use IT automation for handling repetitive tasks. Thus, you don’t need to worry about hiring and training new employees. You can manage your inventory, process your orders, and handle payments without hiring new employees. It will also help you in controlling costs and ensuring that your customers are getting their orders quickly.
IT automation will help you in freeing up resources from manual and repetitive tasks. You can focus on innovative and strategic initiatives rather than doing manual work.
HR software will provide you with all the necessary analytics and data to optimize resource allocation. It will ensure that the right team members are working on the right things and projects. This will help you in ensuring that one person is not over-allocated while another member is sitting idle. Thus, IT automation can help you in improving the productivity of your staff members.
Minimize human errors
IT automation will help you in improving the accuracy of your business operations. You can automate invoicing, inventory management, and order processing. The best thing about IT automation is that it will help you in eliminating costly errors which are caused by manual processes.
For example, if you are using shipping software, then you don’t need to worry about printing the wrong labels. You can use scheduling software for minimizing errors in employee management. Smart inventory tools will help you in eliminating the need to manually count your products.
The remote workforce has become a new normal after the coronavirus pandemic. Most SMBs are actually dependent on remote workers now. You can get access to the best expertise and talent while lowering their overhead. They will work even for less if you are offering them remote work. Thus, you can find the best person for your projects. You don’t need to worry about hiring a team of full-time employees for your projects.
Automation will ensure that your employees don’t need to be present in the same location for doing your work. Your employees can do your work from anywhere in the world. This will provide a lot of flexibility to your employees. You don’t even need to rent an office if your entire workforce is working remotely. Even a small office space will be enough for you. Most SMBs are going 100% virtual now. You can save a lot of overhead costs like cab costs, office equipment costs, and rent.
You should monitor your team member’s responsibility for ensuring that they are doing their work properly. This will ensure that your complex projects will be successful. You should ensure that there is a proper flow of communication and information.
IT automation will help you in tracking your project process and communicating milestones. It will ensure that your team members are keeping up with the latest project status, files, and data.
Increase Employee satisfaction
IT automation will help you in streamlining your employee experience. This will ensure that your employee’s requests and needs are addressed quickly. For example, automation can help you in handling vacation request forms and facilitating forms workflow. It will help you in leave management, expense reimbursement, and travel reimbursement.
Automation will also help you in facilitating new hires’ onboarding. This will ensure that even new employees can quickly become productive. They will also have a good hiring experience. This will help you in retaining and acquiring the best talent.
Many SMBs need to follow industry and government regulations. There are various tax compliances for travel reimbursement. If you are operating in the healthcare industry, then you need to follow HIPAA compliance. This is very strict compliance and can lead to huge fines if you are not following it. Similarly, if you are operating in the financial industry, then you need to follow the PCI DSS compliance.
Compliance and regulations are not limited to these industries. There are compliances like GDPR and CCPA which most businesses need to follow. Most governments are working on their own data privacy laws. Thus, it is impossible to avoid these compliances.
If you are automating your business processes, then you can ensure that your employees are following the procedures. These procedures will comply with industry regulations and standards. You can incorporate your rules into workflow management. This will ensure that your employees are keeping up with the rules and regulations.
Facilitate Customer Support
You can use automated customer support technologies like chatbots, a searchable knowledge base, and help desk software for streamlining customer support. It will help you in enhancing self-service capabilities. You can improve customer satisfaction by providing better customer support.
For example, you can use a chatbot for handling some basic queries. It will provide links to your customers. Thus, your customers will give access to helpful information which they can use for solving their problems. Your customers don’t need to wait for a human agent until they have some complex problem.
Deliver a better customer experience
IT automation will help you in standardizing processes like shipment, order processing, marketing, and support. This will help you in providing a consistent and better customer experience. Thus, your customers will be happy with your brand. You can meet your customer’s expectations. This will also help you in building trust among your customers.
You can also gather data and work on fine-tuning your processes. This will help you in streamlining the customer experience. Thus, you can attract more customers. It will also help you in retaining more customers. Your new customers can be easily converted into loyal customers if you are delivering a consistent customer experience.
Increase Marketing ROI
Marketing automation will help you in optimizing your budget and ultimately your results. There are various affordable tools available in the market that you can use. These tools will help you in CRM, sales, email marketing, eCommerce, audience targeting, and ad buying.
IT automation will help you in processing, organizing, and analyzing your customer data. It will help you in implementing personalization strategies. This will help you in improving your marketing and sales results.
Enhance third-party communication
You can integrate the systems of partners and external vendors with your platform. This will help you in facilitating your supply chain. You can quickly exchange information with your partners. It will also help you in reducing errors and minimizing errors.
For example, you can automate the invoicing and purchasing process. This will help you in simplifying the invoicing process. You can quickly share the relevant details with your supplier. Also, you can easily integrate management software with the supplier system. This will ensure that re-orders can be processed quickly. You won’t run out of stock if you are using IT automation. Also, it will help ensure that you are not delaying important projects.
There are hundreds of automation tools available in the market. Most SMBs fall for the bright shiny object syndrome. Thus, you should have a clear IT automation strategy. You should first understand both your long-term and short-term business goals. This will help you in finding the areas that should be automated.
Make sure that you are gathering data on your current process. This will help you in identifying workflows that can actually benefit from the automation. You can focus on improving these services. Also, you need to select the right automation tools for your business. Not every IT automation tool is good for your business. SMBs can get good ROI with simple tools also. However, you need access to IT experts who can help you in finding these tools.
Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire can help you in simplifying this process. They will help you in assessing your entire business. Thus, you don’t need to worry about doing time-consuming tasks. Bleuwire will help you in finding the workflows that can be automated. They will also help you in creating a perfect IT automation strategy for your business. Bleuwire will help you in implementing this IT automation strategy. They will also help you in setting up the KPIs. Thus, you can check if your IT automation strategy is performing. If you need more information regarding IT services, then you can contact Bleuwire.