Artificial Intelligence (AI) software services are starting to play an increasingly important role in our personal and work lives. In particular, the last few months of lockdown have seen employees rely more and more on software (much of it automated) to help them work effectively from home, without the traditional support of an office network.
As the world slowly emerges from Coronavirus – and the drastic economic effects of the virus are laid bare – a great many companies are looking to automation to help reduce running costs, improve employee efficiency and rationalize expenses.
Automation will simplify many laborious, time-consuming areas of your business, but it’s essential to do some preparatory work before launching headlong into integrating software into your company’s processes.
Identify the nature and requirements of your business
It might sound obvious, but you must study your business in-depth and identify the areas which would most benefit from automation. All companies are different and your unique processes will largely dictate which software is best for you.
In 2020 there is a bewildering range of business software available – everything from HR software to accountancy and Client Relationship Management packages. Having a deep understanding of your business will make choosing the right systems easier and let you identify the areas that would benefit most from automation.
What is the goal of automation?
In the current economic climate, money is probably the most common driver behind moving to automation however, you should consider other aspects as well. Perhaps there are areas of your business where human error consistently causes problems. Or maybe you have elements of your business that are still heavily dependent on paper records. Another tell-tale sign can be parts of your business that always seem a constant drain on time and resources. Any areas which suffer wastage or inefficiency will more than likely benefit from automation.
Moving to automated processes doesn’t just save you money – it can also vastly reduce labor and optimize your time. For example, the average business spends around five hours per week scheduling and organizing meetings (approximately six weeks per year in total).
Moving to automated scheduling software will make processes quicker (appointments can be arranged in seconds), more efficient (in-built checks avoid meeting clashes) and more organized (meeting apps send out timely reminders to attendees).
Consider your long-term needs
Moving to automation will save your company time and money in the long-term however it can cause short-term upheaval as you make the transition. The pace of software development these days is frightening, however you should still try to factor in your long-term needs when choosing which applications to use. Try to pick solutions that are flexible enough to change and adapt to possible future changes in your company.
Don’t become overdependent on automation
Artificial intelligence is so advanced these days, it can be tempting to think you could automate your entire business. While there is some truth to that notion, there are still some areas of your business that need the human touch, i.e. mailshots, customer interaction, personal one-to-one sales.
Humans still need to drive business processes to make them personal and there is a danger you could make your company appear faceless if you move too far towards automation. Also, total reliance on computers will leave you wide open should your systems fail or be the subject of malicious attacks.
Consider the security implications
When choosing to move to automation, be mindful that, while software will help you streamline your processes, it can also make it much easier for a malicious attacker to get access to the core processes of your company. Before investing in any business systems, be sure to check with the provider for their level of backend support and security services.
There are a great many ways to automate business processes and, in 2020, there is certainly no shortage of software available to help you move towards AI automation. The advantages are numerous however it’s crucial you also realize and mitigate against the potential risks.