Business Automation: Everything You Need to Know in 2021

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Business automation is everywhere in 2021, but is it in your business? If it’s not, you’re seriously missing out. At the same time, it could be in your business without you even realizing it. However, it’s necessary to take a more strategic and intentional approach to business automation so that you’re able to save time and money. 

Here’s everything you need to know about business automation in 2021 and how you can implement it into your company: 

What Is Business Automation?

Business automation, also known as business process automation or BPA, involves replacing manual processes with intelligent automation through software and other tools. These tools can be used to automate time-consuming and tedious processes that needlessly take up employees’ time and energy. 

In the process, it can save businesses money by freeing up employee time, cutting down on errors, and providing valuable insights. 

What Are the Different Types of Business Automation?

There are four different types of business automation that you need to know. Here’s a quick rundown on each type to give you a better idea of this vital business concept: 

  • Basic automation is able to automate simple and repetitive tasks using little to no coding to decrease the occurrence of careless errors.
  • Process automation is able to boost the efficiency and productivity of your business processes while also delivering valuable operations insights.
  • Advanced automation is able to incorporate human learning with machine learning to support more complex processes through knowledge management.
  • Intelligent automation is able to use machine learning through artificial intelligence to make quicker and smarter business decisions.

From there, there are several different areas where these types of business automation can be implemented, including: 

  • Marketing: Business automation can be used in marketing in a variety of different ways. For instance, you can automate your marketing emails using a set schedule. Another example involves automating campaign placement and targeting mechanisms for more effective advertising results. 
  • Human resources: Business automation can also be used in human resources, including job application processing, interview scheduling, employment offers, onboarding, payroll management, and benefits administration. 
  • Sales: Business automation can be used in sales. For instance, there are sales tools that automate repetitive administrative tasks undertaken by sales staff so that they can spend more time actually making sales. There are also sales tools that are able to automate the sales process by qualifying leads, assigning prospects, and creating sales forecasts. 
  • Finance and accounting: Business automation can also be used in the finance and accounting departments. For instance, accounts payable (AP) management allows you to automate data capture, match invoices, and route approvals to decrease careless errors. 

Why Should You Care About Business Automation?

Here’s how business automation can benefit your company

  • Save time: Business automation helps you save time by automating previously time-consuming and manual tasks. 
  • Save money: Business automation helps you save money by implementing faster processes that allow employees to focus on more profitable tasks, this is especially true when it comes to sales. 
  • Maximize efficiency: Business automation helps maximize efficiency since these tasks and processes are done automatically without a second thought — so there’s no need to sit around waiting for things to get done. 
  • Minimize errors: Business automation helps minimize errors by taking tedious inputting procedures out of the hands of imperfect humans that are prone to making mistakes. 
  • Standardize processes: Business automation helps standardize business processes so that everything is done in a certain order and everyone is on the same page from start to finish.  
  • Promotes compliance: Business automation promotes compliance by implementing security measures, confidentiality protection, and retention methods for personal data so that everything is traceable and trackable. 
  • Improves customer service: Business automation helps improve customer service as it allows representatives to quickly and accurately respond to customer inquiries based on the most up-to-date information.
  • Improves employee morale: Business automation helps improve employee morale since employees are able to focus on more meaningful tasks, avoid problematic errors, and stay on the same page.
  • Provides valuable insights: Business automation provides valuable insights into every aspect of your business that you can then take action on based on the information provided.

How to Start Automating Your Business?

As you can see, you’re missing out on a lot of benefits by not automating your business. As a result, you should start automating your business as soon as possible. However, despite the fact that automation can be beneficial, the implementation process can come with a lot of work and a substantial learning curve. 

Here’s what you need to do to conquer it and start benefiting as soon as possible: 

  1. There are so many different aspects of your business to automate that finding a place to start can seem impossible. For this reason, the best approach involves automating the easiest processes first. Choose mundane and unnecessary tasks that don’t need to be completed by humans. 
  2. From there, you need to choose the tools that you’re going to use to automate these tasks. There are many different tools to choose from, depending on the task at hand. When searching for tools, be sure to take into account costs, reviews, and ease of use to find the right fit. 
  3. To make sure that your automation efforts are on track and worthwhile, you need to set automation targets. It’s important to set realistic yet ambitious targets and timelines. You need to allow some time for your employees and operations to adjust to these new tools and processes. 
  4. Keep tracking your KPIs and setting more goals as you’re able to really settle into your automation efforts to make sure that everything is performing as intended. 
  5. Your employees play a huge role in business automation, as a result, you may want to build a company culture that embraces automation. Employees need to feel involved and valued in the process — not that the company is making their lives more complicated or their jobs unnecessary. Be sure to explain to your employees how automation will benefit them and provide adequate levels of training. 
  6. From there, you can rinse and repeat by identifying the next area of automation and moving through these different steps. At some point, you’re going to automate away entire processes rather than individual tasks, and your efforts will be even more noticeable and worthwhile. 

Automation Ideas to Help You Get Started

Even with this guide, it can be difficult to identify potential areas when beginning your business automation journey. Here are some different areas you may want to consider: 

  • Email responses
  • Inbound lead assignments
  • Abandoned shopping cart follow-ups
  • Appointment reminders
  • Client referrals

Final Thoughts on Business Automation

Business automation can be incredibly valuable if you do it right. For more tips on how to improve your business, check out this blog by Greg Gillman. Greg Gillman specializes in omnichannel growth strategies — automation being just one of them — in addition to marketing, sales, customer service, product development, ecommerce strategies, and more. 

Greg Gillman has helped his clients generate $4 billion in annual revenue thanks to his expertise. And although he has worked with big brand names like Adidas, Petco, and Ring, he also knows how to work with small businesses based on his experience. 


The Basics of Business Automation | IBM

12 Reasons Every Small Business Needs an Automation Strategy in 2019 | Business2Community

How to Automate Your Business for Fast Growth | Inc.

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