Process Automation for Business Agility
The global COVID-19 pandemic has posed one of the most severe threats to business continuity. How can companies keep their operations running smoothly during this time? During the COVID-19 lockdown, companies that had undergone a digital transformation were able to adapt more quickly than companies that did not. Further, $1.5 T was spent on digital transformation worldwide in 2021.
Companies that survived by adapting to this new world are now thriving. Others have gone out of business entirely and will never be able to compete in a post-pandemic economy. The question is: How can you keep your organization resilient and well after emerging from the worst pandemic in recent history?
During a pandemic, business continuity and resilience are critical
There are several ways that a pandemic can impact a business. A disruption to the supply chain, customer service, operations, and financial transactions are all possibilities. Additionally, research and development (R&D) could be impacted as well as marketing and human resources (HR).
As a result, it’s essential that businesses prepare for what might happen during a pandemic by outlining the potential impact on their operations. For example, the spread of COVID-19 has impacted manufacturing and shipping in ways few companies could’ve predicted. Just a few weeks after the outbreak began, some manufacturers already saw delays in shipments due to government-mandated quarantine zones in China and limited resources such as fuel needed for transportation.
According to Mckinsey, business-model innovation is what helped some organizations increase revenues even during the pandemic. Companies with a robust digital presence could sell virtually and did not need to scale back their advertising budget as much as companies with no solid digital presence.
All of a sudden, many business activities went digital and moved into the cloud. Email became more crucial than ever before because it was one of the few ways people could communicate with each other during this time of crisis. In addition, the rise in popularity of messaging apps also helped keep communications going despite lack of electricity and Internet access due to power outages or restrictions put in place by local governments for them to better manage resources during an emergency such as COVID-19.
Digital presence is the ability of your company to reach customers through multiple channels, including websites, social media, mobile apps, and more. Also, an organization with a strong digital presence can sell its products or services directly through its website without intermediaries like distributors or wholesalers. This allows it to control its inventory costs and compete against larger competitors in price.
An organization’s ability to market effectively also depends on its level of digital engagement; if you’re targeting customers through websites and social media platforms rather than traditional print advertisements or television commercials (or even billboards), then you’ll be able to get feedback from your customers about what they like/don’t like about the product or service before you ever invest in mass production for wide distribution.
That way, when something goes wrong during shipping/distribution or even after purchase (which frequently happens when dealing with consumers who shop online), we’ll know exactly what needs fixing before it hits stores again.
The rise of process automation
Process automation uses software to replace repetitive and manually intensive business processes. This includes everything from automating manual tasks to creating self-service channels allowing customers to resolve issues independently.
Benefits of process automation
Process automation has several benefits for companies:
- It can help you save time and money in your organization by replacing manual work with automated software that requires little human intervention.
- It can increase efficiency by allowing employees to focus more on complex projects than mundane tasks, freeing them up for more meaningful work.
- It can reduce the number of employees required for specific jobs and also reduces overhead costs like office space and benefits payments.
Use process automation as a differentiator during a pandemic
Process automation is a differentiator for many businesses. It can improve customer experience and automate tedious, manual processes. Automation can also be used to enhance employee productivity and reduce costs. To illustrate:
- A grocery store chain uses automation to provide accurate inventory levels in-store, which helps them save money by preventing out-of-stock items from being ordered at the wrong time or too much of one item.
- An insurance company uses automation to quickly process claims after an accident, allowing customers to receive their payments faster than they would have otherwise.
Companies that use process automation as a differentiator during COVID-19 have seen increased efficiency across their business processes while providing outstanding customer experiences online and in person at stores/locations worldwide.
- Flipkart is an e-commerce company.
- Flipkart uses process automation to improve customer experience by providing seamless shopping experiences with faster delivery, product recommendations, and custom offers according to the customer’s requirements.
- It also uses automation tools to improve employee productivity and reduce costs by automating repetitive tasks, reducing manual errors, and simplifying data entry workflows.
Netflix is a company that uses process automation to improve customer experience through intelligent technology. Netflix has developed an automated platform that keeps track of how many times a user watches a particular show or movie and which shows are watched simultaneously. This allows the company to make recommendations based on what other users with similar preferences have previously watched.
Netflix also uses process automation to improve efficiency by providing data analytics and reporting tools to help employees make more informed decisions about their workflows.
Finally, because of its large user base (over 100 million monthly users), Netflix has made security a top priority when implementing automation systems within its business processes. Hence, this includes integrating AI into its content delivery systems for faster detection of malware outbreaks or other threats before they become widespread problems within their network infrastructure.
Improve the customer experience
You can’t talk about customer experience without talking about the customer. And, as we all know, customers are vital for two reasons:
- They provide the revenue that keeps your business running and growing
- They are a key driver of all other business metrics—growth, customer satisfaction (CSAT), loyalty, and retention.
Customer experience seems to influence every business metric, so it makes sense to prioritize it. Yet, how do you make improvements in your customer experience? There are many ways, but one of them is process automation. By automating standard business processes, companies can simultaneously improve their efficiency and the quality of their customer interactions.
Enhance employee satisfaction and retention
Process automation can help increase employee satisfaction and retention by allowing employees to focus on high-value activities. Process automation frees up time, so workers can invest their energy into projects that require creativity and innovation rather than mundane tasks.
Process automation also reduces stress levels by eliminating manual labor from your workplace. This allows employees to improve mental health and well-being through reduced stress levels. Employees who experience lower stress levels tend to be more engaged in their work, resulting in higher productivity levels at the company overall (and potentially higher profits).
Automate tedious, manual processes
Process automation can enable companies to improve customer experience, operational efficiency, business agility, and business continuity.
- Customer experience: Automation can be used for service automation or CRM. Service automation includes improving customer support with chatbots and self-service web tools. CRM automates sales processes such as lead management, forecasting, and pipeline tracking.
- Operational efficiency: Automation speeds up repetitive tasks so that employees can focus on more important work like strategic planning or innovation initiatives instead of hand-crafting reports every week (or worse yet, manually entering data). This frees up time for people in the organization who have specialized skills but aren’t always needed at their desks — like engineers working on new product development projects — giving them space to develop new ideas without being interrupted by administrative tasks that could otherwise take hours out of their day. Automated systems also scale quickly as your business grows; consider how much effort goes into manually adding employees’ names when they join a company versus setting up an HR employee onboarding system that automatically populates itself with new hires’ names from a database based on previous records from previous hires’ information filled out during their interviews.
- Business agility: Companies often use automation as part of their innovation strategy because it allows them to quickly iterate new products/services after learning what customers want through market research or other means (such as asking customers directly).
Build an agile supply chain
The global supply chain is becoming more complex and interconnected every day. In such an environment, it’s not just important to have a good plan for addressing possible disruptions — it’s also essential to have a system in place that will make your supply chain more resilient by reducing human error, improving efficiency, and freeing up staff for other duties.
Many companies have reacted to the coronavirus pandemic by evaluating risk in existing supply chains and establishing alternative sources of supply if needed. While some are doing both, many are not.
The benefits of automating processes in your supply chain are numerous. Automation helps reduce costs by eliminating manual work or inefficient systems requiring humans to perform tasks. It also reduces time-to-market by allowing you to quickly scale up your operations when a pandemic hits or demand increases unexpectedly. This can be crucial for industries like pharmaceuticals where large amounts of product have concise shelf lives (e.g., vaccines) and must be distributed quickly after being manufactured – regardless of whether there is a pandemic underway.
You could also analyze historical data and learn which parts of your supply chain need improvement so that your entire process runs smoother and cheaper in the future. This analysis will help reduce costs by ensuring everything gets where it needs to go efficiently without any mistakes or delays.
Further, fuel costs are a major expense for most businesses, so automation can help you reduce fuel costs by helping you reduce the number of miles you drive. For instance, if your company has several trucks that do local deliveries and pick-ups, some companies are now using drones to make these deliveries instead.
This helps them save money on gas and maintenance costs since their drivers don’t need to go out into traffic every day. It’s also safer than driving because there’s no risk of someone getting hurt in an accident or being distracted behind the wheel.
The next set of benefits relates to maintaining regulatory compliance. This can be about complying with regulations, meeting industry standards, and adhering to internal policies, controls, and procedures. It’s also about having effective internal audit processes.
With process automation, you can have a more efficient system for monitoring and reporting on your compliance posture, as well as helping spot areas where you may need to improve or change things.
Having a well-automated system for compliance places your business in a stronger position to take advantage of new opportunities. Suppose you are looking to expand into new markets or introduce innovative new products or services. In that case, you will need confidence (and evidence) that your business can comply with all the relevant rules and regulations.
The world has changed. We live in uncertain times, and businesses are forced to adapt to these changes. The primary way for an organization to survive COVID-19 is by making changes that make their business more sustainable and profitable.
Process automation is a powerful tool that can help companies gain a competitive advantage. You can cut , and increase efficiency, while keeping human judgment in the loop when needed. You can also use process automation to improve your business resilience during times of crisis by quickly adapting to changing conditions or unexpected events like pandemics.