In 2019 even if you’ve been living under a rock, you must have come across various types of automations, starting from cookie based advertising and automated bank notifications going all the way to stock markets and cryptocurrency trading. Almost every aspect of our lives is, in some way or another, influenced by digital automation. While we pause to admit this, let’s reflect on the ways you personally could use some sort of automation for your benefit. Chances are, you are already doing that.
Whether you are a believer or a skeptic, let’s take a look at what exactly digital automation can bring to the table for you and your business.
According to the 2017 report prepared by McKinsey Global Institute, 60 percent of present occupations could potentially automate up to one third of their workflow. This is huge. Tasks we traditionally associate with the workflow of professionals in the fields of arts, technology, media, education, management, accounting, engineering or finance are already being carried out by automated algorithms and apps. An interesting point to be made here is that it does not mean that these industries will become obsolete. Quite the opposite. What we are witnessing is a marathon of a change. For example, the media industry has become almost unrecognizable in the last decade — power that traditionally belonged to large broadcasting conglomerates shifted to individuals (sponsored by advertisers just like before, but the dynamics of this influence are different). What is changing rapidly and what by all accounts is going to transform with an increasing speed are the tasks that need human attention. These tasks are becoming more and more complex and will require of us that we adapt to the new environment.
Let’s say you recognize that you belong to one of the fields that is indeed rapidly changing. How can you make sure that you are not missing out on potential benefits of being proactive by implementing automation tools from early on?
Digital business advisors say that the best thing is to analyze how much of what you do on a regular basis is repeatable and in some way predictable.
- Do you sell on an e-commerce platform? In that case, among the examples of repeatable actions in your area are stock replenishment or income reporting.
- Do you run a construction business? Consider investing in virtual reality software for better project planning and budgeting.
- Are you engaged in the hospitality industry? Automate the check-in process for your guests or think about replacing those worn out change of towels reminders with smart sensors designed to lower your environmental impact, at the same time building the loyalty base among your customers.
While there are industries that will take longer to digitize, accounting is an area where you absolutely have to be digital. Among the first pros is security and backup. You need to have your most vulnerable, private data backed up in the cloud if you want to avoid major unexpected issues. Another important point is that even if you still run a paper-based accounting practice, most of your data that needs to be processed by accountants already comes in from the cloud. Consider the savings in terms of your time and costs that you can have simply by replacing manual double entries by smart integrations between accounting software and your e-commerce platforms, online payment systems, time tracking applications, expense management apps and more.
Every person running a business knows that with each new member of the team, each new avenue you want to pursue, the complexity of your daily coordination flows grows manifold. This turns the potential stepping stone into a roadblock and automation is exactly what you need to deal with this kind of rising complexity. Utilizing corporate planning tools where each team member has clear frameworks of action and tasks ahead allows you to manage your growing team while benefiting from your augmented skill set. Decisions are made based on objective reports and skillful data analysis and supervision turns into the accompaniment, creating an atmosphere of true mentorship.
Last but not least is the money factor. Every business wants to find ways where it can introduce painless budget cuts and previously this alone often required hiring a very expensive budgeting consultant. While financial advisors are not going anywhere, although the scope of their work might change as well, objective analysis of unnecessary manual work your employees perform on a daily basis, replacing this work with smart automated tools and trusting your staff with increasingly more difficult tasks (for example, those having to do with communications, strategy making, policy improvement and others, more nuanced topics) can drastically change the very environment of your working place, at the same time saving your hard earned dollars.
In conclusion, we would like to underline the fact that embracing automation might not be easy at first. Any change is difficult. Any deep, far-reaching transformation means letting go of the feeling of being in a comfort zone. But seeing the pace of change enveloping current business climate also shows us that change pays off.