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Automation Solutions: Is Increased Dependency on Automation Beneficial? Featured Image

Automation Solutions: Is Increased Dependency on Automation Beneficial?

Mar 10, 2022 | By Susanna Williams | 0 Comments

Topics: Firm Operations

The advantages of automation for businesses are well-documented, including reducing manual tasks and human error. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the pros and cons of automation, including how it eliminates menial tasks for human workers and lowers operating costs for business owners. We'll cover some potential pitfalls of misusing automation and provide tips to help your firm avoid these issues.

Keep reading to learn more about why automation is essential and how process automation solutions can benefit your business.

Advantages of Automation Solutions

Time

Did you know that 60% of professionals can save 30% of their time with automation? Now apply those savings across your company as a whole – it’s quite substantial! When you allow business process automation to complete high-volume, time-consuming, and repetitive activities, you make your processes more cost-effective, consistent, and error-free.

An automated system shifts the responsibility of daily tasks from your employees to machines, leaving your team members to work on more valuable and interesting business tasks. When they’re no longer focused on searching for data or reviewing documents, they can spend more time ideating service improvements, so your business grows and evolves.

Manual processes that used to take days, weeks, or months can sometimes be done in only seconds thanks to automation solutions, and with fewer mistakes. It’s a win-win for your business and its employees. They gain more bandwidth to work on important and more creative tasks, while you save time approving paperwork and enjoy increased production and profit.

Remember, time is money. When your company saves precious time, it saves money too.

Price

Every business is concerned about reducing its overhead and operating costs as well as increasing profitability, two areas where automation software is highly effective. Without automation, your firm risks losing 20-30% of its revenue per year due to inefficient processes. On the flip side, once you implement this type of software, you can reduce operating costs by 10% and increase your overall profits by 8%.  

In addition to saving on labor costs, robots and automation also streamline your processes and increase accuracy. The accuracy piece matters because you don’t have to pay someone to fix another person’s errors. With business process automation, there should be no errors.

While you of course have to pay for your automation software, you should see a return on your investment fairly quickly, as you’re accomplishing more in a shorter period. Because automation utilizes your resources most cost-effectively, there’s less waste and costs are lower — resulting in greater profit.

The bottom line is, automation is cheaper than human workers. Robots don’t get tired or frustrated. They never need to take a break the way employees rightfully do, which is great news for you as a business owner because you can accomplish more with fewer resources.

Consistency

If your business struggles with delays and bottlenecks that stifle productivity, technology can help you achieve much-needed consistency. Automation ensures repeatable, reliable processes with no confusion or communication issues. 

As you are probably aware, manual processes involving multiple people and platforms too often end up disorganized and inconsistent, whether because of formatting preferences or filing methods. With consistent processes, steps are never missed, documents don’t get lost, and there are no discrepancies based on which employee performed a task since automation does it for them. 

Automated processes are standardized with no delays, gaps, or variations. Your business operates more efficiently and profitably when work is completed using defined steps, priorities, and timelines. You can’t afford to make mistakes in your financials or service delivery, and automation software protects you from this.

Organization

Every company needs a little help with organization, and 40% of workers confirm that automation software enables them to be more organized at work. Automation software features like task management help you stay on top of project tasks for yourself and team members while tracking progress along the project journey. 

Using a centralized platform and automated processes make it easy to sort and archive completed work for later review and enable you to quickly find and share files when you need them. No more searching around your inbox or emailing a colleague for the latest version of a document. Everything is automatically centrally stored and up to date with document storage and project notifications. You can also receive notifications any time something important occurs during a project.

This type of technology also provides an audit trail and encourages regulatory compliance. Automation software provides an accurate record of all vital business information, including budgets, payroll, and project status. 

Accuracy

Humans are fallible, and that’s OK, but hitting your business goals demands accuracy. One business area where automation and its accuracy is especially critical is accounting. Instead of manually entering numbers into a spreadsheet and risking an error, the software automatically completes reports for you. With the machine precision that automation software delivers, no numbers are missed.

Automating your reporting eliminates the human errors that inevitably happen sometimes. Fewer errors mean you avoid severe issues down the line and allow you to achieve a greater level of compliance. 

Think about it: Overreporting your sales each month can lead to major losses. With automation software, you can expect precise calculations every time that save you from time-consuming rework.

Shortfalls of Automation

Automating before Optimizing

While automation can be absolutely transformative for your company, you can't just slap automation onto an existing process as-is and expect success. You first have to fine-tune and optimize your processes before applying automation software and expecting results. Otherwise, you run the risk of the same mistakes repeating constantly.

Automation is simply pointless if your processes are a mess. Before you can see the benefits of automation, you need to ask yourself: 

  • Which of your processes are most inefficient?  
  • Which of your overhead or operating costs are above average for your industry?
  • Where can you apply automation to get the best ROI? 

Data collection and analysis are the initial steps to optimize your processes. You can spot inefficiency patterns by studying your invoicing, payroll, and reporting workflows. If you skip this step, you may still see modest time and money savings, but you’ll likely miss out on opportunities to dramatically improve your outcomes.  

Lack of supervision

Even though automation is all about handling things without people, someone should still regularly check in to ensure it's doing its job. While automation software is impactful for repeatable tasks and uses precise formulas to avoid error, it’s meant for individual tasks and not end-to-end processes. That's why you need humans to look out for edge cases and ambiguity. 

While you may find automation software that conducts checks to review its work, some tools may not be able to fix themselves if a mistake is made, which is why you should train your employees to manage and resolve any issues that appear. If you don’t keep humans in the loop, automation can hurt more than it helps.

Lack of transparency

One pitfall of automation software is there may be times when team members don’t know what is happening to the work. You need a system that communicates between all stakeholders about what automation can or cannot handle. When everyone’s aligned and has realistic expectations, you can build a process that your company trusts. 

Generally, automation isn’t meant to replace your employees but to maximize their contributions. It improves your workforce’s productivity but needs humans in the loop to succeed, whether at the planning, management, or maintenance step.  A lack of transparency and communication isn’t an issue with BQE CORE because it alerts collaborators when there’s an update on a task or project, so they’re aware of progress and next steps.

Bad integration

Like we said before, automated processes can be transformative for your business, but they won’t replace every other software program you use, which is why it’s crucial to ensure your automation software is compatible with your other business tools. Depending on how long your business has been around, you likely have other systems in place, and all of your technology needs to interact seamlessly.

Software is meant to make your life easier, but a bad integration adds complications to your already-full plate. Integration dysfunction may lead to data silos, disparate data formats, and a need for additional maintenance. To avoid these issues, take a long, hard look at the programs you’re using, clear out any outdated data, establish clear protocols for data management, and maintain your data integration by having employees perform regular checks.

BQE Solutions

BQE CORE is a top-rated project management software that enables you to automate numerous workflows related to:

Not only are you no longer bothered by mundane tasks in these business areas, but you also set up your organization to save time and money while achieving increased production. It’s accurate, efficient, and allows you to forecast your financial future to make more informed business decisions while leaving your employees to focus on more important tasks.

CORE is a powerful tool to accomplish more in less time with fewer resources. With it, your project planning, billing, and accounting processes flow smoothly and consistently from one step to the next. It takes less time to complete them, so it becomes easier to run your business and do it profitably. Sign up for your free demo today or explore our blog for more information on optimizing and automating your business processes for incredible results.

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The Author

Susanna Williams

Susanna Williams is the Content Marketing Manager at BQE Software. She has spent 10 years in the marketing field writing and researching for industries that include software, engineering, architecture, health and wellness, legal, education, and more.

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