Before the pandemic, digital transformation was a five-year plan for many companies — or in some cases, a distant vision that kept getting kicked down the road. Now, companies in every industry face an urgent imperative to adapt to an increasingly online-first world: If you don’t go digital, fast, you’re simply out of the game.
Increasing productivity has been critical for companies as they make this shift. But too often, speed is hindered by time-consuming and repetitive processes that companies can and should easily automate. By automating mundane tasks, employees and businesses can focus on what really matters — increasing scale in today’s work-from-anywhere world, and improving experiences for both employees and customers.
The Benefits of Automation
Fundamentally, automation is about digitizing existing business processes to streamline results, and it will be a key element in helping businesses survive and get back to growth. Until now, many companies have focused on applying these tools to the front office: sales, marketing, commerce and supply chains. With most employees now working remotely, it’s harder than ever for team members to do their jobs efficiently. Automating the back office and improving the employee experience is key for businesses to achieve the speed they need to thrive right now.
Here are three key advantages of bringing automation to the back office:
- It improves productivity.In virtually every industry and role, employees are still spending hours every week on mundane and labor-intensive tasks, such as data entry. Automation can speed up these repetitive tasks and streamline lengthy processes, freeing employees up to focus on the “human” aspects of their jobs, like interacting with customers, planning ahead, making decisions or learning new skills. By taking over routine tasks and allowing employees to concentrate on what matters most, automation makes workers more efficient and productive.
- It increases scale.There’s only so much an employee can do manually. The time-consuming processes that worked yesterday can’t scale to meet the demands of an all-digital environment. Automating repetitive tasks means that employees can achieve more in the same amount of time, allowing them to scale their workloads. With time-consuming tasks being taken care of in the background, workers can spend their time on more meaningful work and customer relationships.
- It enhances employee experience.Nobody enjoys entering numbers into a spreadsheet. An often overlooked aspect of automation is that it leaves employees more satisfied and engaged with their companies and their jobs. Having fewer tedious tasks on their plates gives employees the chance to tap the skills that machines aren’t as good at, like creativity, communication and decision-making. This is especially beneficial at a time when most employees are juggling more responsibilities at work and at home. Making a more valuable contribution and more meaningful connections is not only rewarding for employees, but also translates to higher satisfaction among the customers they interact with.
Not everything can be automated, but there’s a lot of room to take the drudgery out of most roles. Take onboarding, for example. Traditionally, when a new hire started, everything happened in person: They attended an orientation, picked up their laptops at the tech bar, met with benefit providers — all of which required orchestration on the part of human resources. With automation, all of this manual coordination can be replicated with an intelligent workflow capable of guiding employees through an onboarding process customized to their specific role and location.
In another example, HR departments are facing an unprecedented volume of queries about policies around caring for children and other dependents. Using low-code development, companies can easily set up automated, online bots to handle frequently asked questions and guide employees through processes needed to enroll in new services. Automating these queries with bots not only makes the employees themselves more productive, but it also delivers better experiences for both the HR team and the employees seeking answers.
Automation is Here to Stay
In today’s world, there is no alternative to a digital business model. Automation is the recipe that will help companies achieve the speed they need to survive now and the edge they need to thrive in the future.
And there is no turning back — automation is here to stay, regardless of the trajectory of the pandemic. The process of change is never easy, but done right, automation not only leads to a more agile workforce, but also to a happier one.