10 Ways Your Company Can Improve with Task Automation

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Yash ChawlaniDigital Marketing Consultant and Co-Founder of Marveta

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Automation is a popular topic within the world of technology. It solves many problems, streamlines manual processes and saves a lot of time.

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10 Ways Your Company Can Improve with Task Automation
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When you program a process or task to operate itself based on data inputs, it reduces the need for human involvement, which helps companies realize critical cost savings.

Task automation can also help transform businesses by optimizing process workflows. Automating invoicing and other documentation processes can help your administrative staff focus on other process improvements.

Automation tools can also facilitate cross-functional communication and project coordination to help deliver a superior product or service to customers.

So where should companies begin if they’re looking to onboard these technologies? Below are 10 strategies that can help your business improve task automation successfully.

  1. Think about machine readability
  2. Banish stigma over tool churn
  3. DIY integrations
  4. Explore insights using AI
  5. Farm-out repetition
  6. Fewer rules, more analytics
  7. Develop more holistic departments
  8. Embrace remote work and employees with many hats
  9. Stop pushing paper
  10. Make meetings shorter or completely eliminate them

But first, let’s take a look at what task automation is.

What is task automation?

Task automation is the process of leveraging modern, innovative technology to reduce human action to complete a task.

Drawing showing the reality of automation

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As users and consumers, we utilize task automation daily. This experience could include fast food orders, ATMs, airport check-ins and others.

Automation eliminates human involvement in at least one aspect of the process. Today, businesses utilize task automation to be:

  • More productive
  • Reduce costs
  • Free up time to focus on the essential parts of the company

Through task automation, a business can direct its attention to creative activities, including strategic planning and customer interaction. Below are 10 ways task automation can help your team to perform better.

1. Think about machine readability

How often do businesses think about how their data is formatted?

Determining the “flatness” of a company’s data gives clues about how automated a company’s tasks are.

Flat data is a unique philosophy for businesses today. It involves evaluating two processes that perform the same and then merging them into one.

Companies do this by creating a single process with data for both initial processes combined.

So what are the benefits of flattening your data?

The first advantage is retrieval performance. When you can choose data from flat structures, you can avoid joining tables to slow down performance.

Flattened data also gives you excellent context. Database surrogate keys without an assigned meaning can also convert into terms that data analysts and engineers can load and explore.

2. Banish stigma over tool churn

The most creative companies in today’s world are the ones who chug through a massive number of apps.

Things are constantly changing, and developers are always coming up with advanced applications that deliver meaningful solutions.

An innovative company must embrace this, and it can’t be hesitant about pivoting towards a new direction.

This process begins by defining what you want the tool to do for the business. Leadership should establish a metric or system to evaluate the effectiveness of the app. It’s simple: don’t move forward with apps and tools that don’t offer customer value.

Only progress with an app if it elevates your productivity or systems. Businesses can’t shy away from stacking their technology and their collection of apps.

As data becomes more critical, stack integration becomes more irrelevant. When companies evaluate an app’s effectiveness, they analyze how well data is distributed among employees, company leaders and customers.

When data sharing is limited, it kills productivity.

3. DIY integrations

In today’s technological age, there are numerous DIY integrator apps for task automation.

Applications like Zapier, IFTTT, Coupler and ActiveCampaign all deliver unique solutions to help your company save time and money.

Zapier is a straightforward automation platform that helps boost productivity and save time. You can develop automatic actions among some of the most vital applications used by your company.

With Zapier, you can automate the process of saving Gmail attachments to your Google Drive. It also enables you to publish your blog posts across social media platforms instantly.

IFTTT is another simple DIY integration tool. You can utilize this platform to build basic automation between the most essential apps, just like Zappier. IFTTT allows you to run your automation right after a trigger event occurs.

Coupler.io is a data integration tool that allows you to automatically synchronize your favorite services with Google Sheets, BigQuery or Excel. You can export all the important data from Trello, Slack and other services to create dashboards and improve reporting. Also, you can use Google Sheets to Excel integration or other integrations to quickly transfer your data between platforms.

ActiveCampaign is a marketing automation solution that merges an enterprise CRM and advanced email marketing functions. What makes it unique is its ability to serve multiple types of businesses by using ActiveCampaign integrations.

4. Explore insights using AI

If your business leverages Google Sheets to house spreadsheet data, you can take it a step further by exploring your data through artificial intelligence. If you navigate to the “explore” tab, you can ask questions about your spreadsheet data.

You simply enter your question under where it says “Answers,” and then select the button “enter.”

You can ask questions that involve which input has the highest score, which month had the most sales and which salesperson produced the most volume for a given month.

Google Sheets users can also utilize an Appsheet, which will produce an app for your manipulation or data entry purpose. If the user provides the sheet, artificial intelligence will write the code.

Screenshot of Google Sheet Appsheet function

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Programs like MailChimp also deliver critical insights for email marketing campaigns. Its tracking systems produce a variety of analytics that help you retarget your campaigns to the highest-converting customers.

You can also leverage the AI to evaluate lead scoring, predict sales and analyze conversion rates.

If your business is looking to engage and convert a higher number of customers on the website, AI chats and assistants are available at your disposal. Solutions like Frase enable a bot to read your website and be prepared for any customer question.

When you leverage a chatbot to understand what your customers care about, you can produce more sales for your company.

5. Farm-out repetition

Yes, there may be specific tasks that are challenging to automate or turn over to AI. However, these processes may be too straightforward to have your highly paid staff report it.

Don’t worry – many companies specialize in these things, making it the perfect opportunity to farm out these repetitive tasks.

Several human-based automation tools can easily take care of the skilled and unskilled labor, including Fiverr, WordAgents, FatJoe, CloudStaff or Upwork. By working with these entities, you can scale quickly without investing too much money into menial tasks.

Even better, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a solution that allows companies to hire remote “crowd workers” to complete quick, on-demand projects.

These tasks are usually ones that computers can’t do. It’s a helpful solution that operates under Amazon Web Services, which Amazon owns.

To make the most out of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, companies can publish Human Intelligence Tasks or HITs. These assignments could include developing product descriptions, analyzing content in a video or image, addressing questions or other tasks.

6. Fewer rules, more analytics

One of the premier automation benefits is that your valued employees can invest more time into producing creative ideas for the business.

Not only will this foster innovation for the company, but it will keep employees more engaged. The human brain is designed to be curious and solve problems that AI can’t effectively address.

Rules are for robots, not people. You can instill a culture at your company that enables creativity and innovation to be more free-flowing.

You can leverage analytics to fully understand what your team members are most skilled at to lay the groundwork.

For example, Asana contains an integrated dashboard that helps you outline goals and key performance indicators for your employees. It allows you to accurately track time and how long it takes employees to complete specific projects.

This tool gives you an idea of which tasks your employees are more productive with than others.

Instead of discouraging and limiting employees with more rules, eliminate the ones that don’t make sense. When you make your company more flexible, it will create more sustainability in the long run.

Identify what your employees are most passionate and adept at doing, and then reinvest your time and money into making sure these team members focus their time on that.

7. Develop more holistic departments

Cross-functional communication is critical for innovation in today’s competitive landscape.

Does your company have departments for sales, marketing and support that don’t interact with each other?

Map of companywide functions

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When your company functions are seamless, you can provide a much better product or service to your final customer. You can also optimize workflows and boost productivity overall.

Task automation enables companies to merge these different departments from a digital aspect. Customers won’t be able to tell the difference between the various departments, so there’s no reason to separate them.

Employees in the support department can interact with customers just as effectively as your team of sales representatives can assist them.

Companies can incorporate CRM software like Hubspot or Salesforce to serve as the engine behind cross-departmental functions.

Client information can easily be shared across multiple functions so that everyone is on the same page.

Without leaving people in the dark, all the critical selling information is in one place. Each member within the organization can leverage client insights to deliver a superior experience. The support team can look a customer up to fix an issue.

Each employee can feed the system with new notes, information and milestones to ensure that a customer can enjoy an optimal, consistent experience with the company.

8. Embrace remote work and employees with many hats

You want your team members to be knowledgeable about as many parts of the company.

Because they can switch roles and wear different hats within the operations, they should work from other places.

Automation enables your employees to share ideas on tasks, projects and initiatives from anywhere in the world.

For example, Slack allows an organization to establish an ad hoc channel for a project and then invite team members across the company to contribute to the feed. Slack also has capabilities to add visibility for people on the client-side.

Avoma is a great productivity tool if you want to improve cross-functional collaboration across your company by democratizing customer intelligence.

Trello is another solution that allows companies to automate their project management processes. Its integrated automation tool, Butler, enables your company to develop buttons within your “cards” that prompt actions after a click. You can also establish rules to trigger specific actions after a milestone is complete, and set regular commands for regular tasks.

Long-term success begins with documenting everything. If an employee has a question or issue, they can post it in an automation tool like Slack. This forum allows fellow team members to talk through challenges and lay the groundwork for similar situations in the future.

No stone is left unturned when you have automation tools to establish sustainability within the company. Employees can refer to process documents, policies and other vital insights on tasks.

A few other benefits of automating tasks with remote work include:

  • Add various Google Calendar appointments and events, allowing you to handle them in a single database
  • Gather web form responses and receive notifications
  • Set auto reminders and notifications of upcoming due dates

9. Stop pushing paper

Paper is a thing of the past regarding invoices, contracts, work orders, signatures, purchase orders and other critical documentation.

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Companies can automate processes related to these documents with electronic signatures to save time, establish transparency and organize information much more efficiently.

Some tools allow you to automate with email reminders to execute documents and spend less time on bureaucracy. Many signature apps will enable you to integrate an executed document instantly into your system.

Several of the best eSignature applications include:

  • DocuSign: Perfect for businesses that sign many documents
  • DottedSign: Great for small to medium-sized businesses. The security is extra high with the eSignature API provided by the software
  • HelloSign: An excellent solution for cloud storage integration
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader: Low-volume document signing on a PC
  • Preview: Occasional document execution on a Mac
  • SignNow: Suitable for smaller teams or startups
  • Docsketch: A solution that provides free pricing packages for life
  • eSignatures.io: A quality pay-as-you-go alternative
  • PandaDoc: Ideal solution for businesses who want to collect payment after people sign

10. Make meetings shorter or completely eliminate them

Unnecessary meetings are the death of productivity for organizations. There are various automation tools to help reduce meetings times or eliminate them while still getting the point across.

Businesses can utilize summary and transcription applications to capture all content from a virtual meeting.

This solution prevents the employees from visiting a webinar or sitting a one-sided lecture or presentation meeting.

Apps like Slack enable companies to create “standup” meetings to sync important information. It helps bridge the gap between data management and cross-functional communication within the organization.

Many project teams delegate tasks through messages, but Slack helps groups log tasks and communications within a database.

Yash Chawlani

Digital Marketing Consultant and Co-Founder of Marveta

https://marveta.com/

Yash Chawlani is a Digital Marketing Consultant and co-founder of Marveta, a result-oriented Online Marketing Agency. He specializes in SEO & Content Marketing and helps various B2B & SaaS companies out there with his top-notch marketing strategies.

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