In the digital age, pretty much everything is reliant on some form of automation, whether it’s vending machine coffee, our Spotify playlist, or our Netflix must-watch. But beyond creature comforts, automation plays a huge role in the day-to-day running of most businesses today.
Automation is a godsend for startups, who can streamline and error-proof their initial business processes and allow computers to take care of the daily humdrum tasks like sending and filing paperwork, setting meetings, among others.
It doesn’t just save time (and paper!), it can also be used to increase revenue: because your teams will be free of these burdensome, albeit important, bureaucracies, they’ll have more time doing actual work, which in turn, means having more time to grow your business, develop relationships with clients, and ultimately, generate revenue.
With automated processes in place, startups can grow exponentially in a matter of months, but it’s important to automate the right processes. Here are some examples:
Robotic Process Automation
Before you get excited: no, this doesn’t involve actual Skynet-like robots (I know, I was disappointed too). But rather, Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is kind of like a catch-all term that describes the process of automating general processes in the office, whether it’s triggering responses for every action you take in your proprietary operating system, transactional functions, or communicating with other systems in your company.
In effect, an RPA increases your efficiency while doing away with a whole department of people whose sole job it is to handle paperwork, leaving all hands on deck to focus on growing your revenue.
Product Lifecycle Management
The product lifecycle is the process your product goes through from inception, creation, marketing, and deployment. Product lifecycle management is primarily concerned with economizing the time you need to reduce marketing times, improving the overall quality of the product, reducing prototype development costs, identifying revenue opportunities, and many more.
This usually takes up a large chunk of your R & D budget. Instead, consider optimizing your product lifecycle management by either availing of product lifecycle management software, or outsourcing to a third-party provider. Either option will save you a ton of budget, time, and manpower, but an automated software does give you more control over what to allocate and where.
Online Reputation Management
With almost 3 Billion people on social media, it’s hard to ignore the power of positive social media reviews. In fact, not even large companies like Nestle are immune to social media criticisms; the confectioner company received negative backlash after they were criticized for its environmental practices. The company became the target of online memes and aggressively negative comments, so much so that they were forced to close down their public social media pages.
But how do you keep up with managing all of your social media pages all at once? While a social media team is essential for any modern business, automated online reputation management, or ORM, makes the job so much easier by providing you with alerts whenever a negative keyword is detected, automated replies to both positive and negative reviews, as well as providing users with CTA’s to visit your other pages.
Customer Relationship Management
With all the ways that companies can stay connected to their clients, it’s now a necessity to keep in touch with your clients as often as possible, and in the age of social media, that’s pretty often. Automating your customer relationship management system means automating repetitive, but necessary, tasks to help keep your clients happy.
Automated CRM can help send out automated marketing emails to certain customers, scheduled posts on social media, and even provide prospective clients with pre-loaded options when they first contact you, as a form of front-line customer service, leaving your team to deal with the actual nitty-gritty of customer acquisition/retention.
Accounts Payable automation, or AP automation, help companies work more efficiently, not to mention eliminating many aspects of accounting that are seen as drudgery: manual inputting of numbers, listing down clients, inflow/outflow of cash, among other things.
With invoice automation, it’s more about monitoring the data that comes in and correcting any errors that might come up (which, if you’re using a certified and well-respected software, are not many). This can help your accounting department focus on figuring out other ways to maximize your budget or help them better allocate funds to other departments.