Home > Business Automation > Business Automation Systems - The Ultimate Guide

Introduction

Let me guess...

You want to improve your bottom line.

You want to boost your productivity.

And you want to reduce waste.

(Well, you’re in the right place)

Sounds like you need a business automation system.

No idea whether you need one?

No clue what it even is?

Take it from the experts.

You can bet that your competitors have already adopted automation.

And you can bet that they’re already using it against you.

Business Automation Expert, Joanna Grimbley-Smith
Did you know?

ICICI bank saves 8 hours a day with an automated complaints system.

Joanna Grimbley-Smith - Business Automation Expert

Source: Economic Times

Certain sectors and departments are heavily reliant on automation.

Want an example?

Accounting.

They depend on software to streamline the core processes.

How do I know this?

One of first clients was an accounting firm.

They were hell bent on becoming an industry leader

But the entire industry was already centred around technology..

So automation was top of the list in order to compete.

Without automation they knew they couldn't survive.

Not just beyond the year...

But even beyond the weekend.

The tedious and time-consuming processes were eating them alive.

So we stepped in and began automating the mundane.

Starting with systems built to process mountains of paperwork with code.

Talk to the Automation Experts!

We turned this manual task over to custom-built software and have saved them over 40,000 hours since we first shook hands with their CEO.

Business automation systems like this are slowly infiltrating industries across the world.

If you don’t get ahead now, you can be sure that you’ll be left behind.

Problem is, automation is complicated.

It’s chock full of jargon that only software developers can unravel!

How are you going to know if your business needs it if you don’t really know what it is?

Well, that’s where we come in.

In this article, I’m going to cover everything you need to know about business automation systems:

 What they are

 What they do

 What they can’t do

 And how to find the right system for your business

Are you ready?

Contents
Achieving optimal results and optimising processes with Lolly Co

Chapter 1
What is a Business Automation System?

Achieving optimal results and optimising processes with Lolly Co

Chapter 2
What Can A Business Automation System Do For My Business?

Achieving optimal results and optimising processes with Lolly Co

Chapter 3
The Benefits Of Business Automation Systems

Achieving optimal results and optimising processes with Lolly Co

Chapter 4
Are There Any Processes I Shouldn’t Automate?

Achieving optimal results and optimising processes with Lolly Co

Chapter 5
6 Top Tips For Picking The Right System For You

Chapter 1

What is a Business Automation System?

Let’s start with the basics.

An automation system is a series of elements that have been programmed to perform a certain function.

Automation solutions don’t require human intervention.

It makes the process that’s been automated highly-independent.

It can carry out a task from start-to-finish - no human assistance needed.

This is what’s so great about automation:

It takes manual processes that are repetitive and slow and makes them faster and more accurate.

There are many different types of automation system including:

 Artificial neural networks

 Distributed control system

 Human machine interface

 Supervisory control and data acquisition

 Programmable logic controllers

However, these are utilised for industrial automation.

(Automation in a factory setting.)

factory chimneys puffing out smoke

So, we know what automation systems are.

But what about business automation systems?

Business automation (also known as business process automation) is the automation of complex business processes.

This includes sending out emails…

Scheduling appointment reminders…

And customer service.

That means a business automation system is a programmed automation system that targets complex business processes.

It comes in the form of software.

It is typically customised to a business specific needs.

There are considered to be four different types of business automation:

 Accounting automation

 Business process automation

 Marketing automation

 HR automation

Business process automation aggregates data across multiple sources to develop analysis that is difficult to attain manually.

(Translation: it can be used to automate basic admin processes.

Think data entry, email automation, and report generation.)

Business automation can streamline and simplify a huge range of your business processes not limited to this list.

And bespoke business automation software?

It can tackle even more problems by providing custom solutions.

Talk to the Automation Experts!

So we know what business process automation systems are.

What can they actually do for your business?

Business Automation Expert, Joanna Grimbley-Smith
Did you know?

Automation in sales departments can boost its productivity by 14.5%

Joanna Grimbley-Smith - Business Automation Expert

Source: Invespcro

Chapter 2

What Can A Business Automation System Do For My Business?

In case you haven’t noticed, we think business automation is pretty nifty.

Why?

Because business automation can extend the capabilities of your business.

Here are some examples of these business automation systems:

 Analytics software

 Applicant tracking software

 Chat bots

 Scheduling software

Nearly every business process that involves repetitive, manual labour can be automated.

Not convinced?

Let’s go through the reasons why you should automate your core business processes.

It Streamlines Your Lagging Processes

We could all do with a productivity boost.

Efficiency is essential for a successful business.

Or, one that just about keeps its head above the surface.

To produce a business automation system, you first need to know what manual processes you want to automate.

That means deep-diving operations…

And then identifying what’s holding back your efficiency.

Automating the process riddled with problems can have knock-on effects for entire operations.

And who doesn’t want higher efficiency?

Business Automation Expert, Joanna Grimbley-Smith
Did you know?

⅓ of new jobs since the 1930s can be attributed to automation.

Joanna Grimbley-Smith - Business Automation Expert

Source: Timeline

It Improves Clarity Into Your Operations

I’ve already mentioned that designing an automation system starts with looking over your processes.

But this won’t just have the effect of boosting efficiency.

It can also provide much-needed insights into your workflows:

Tools like process mapping can help employees find ways to rework their 9-to-5 to increase productivity…

Help create training resources…

And highlight gaps between your operations and your competitors.

The truth hurts.

But automation can provide some much-needed pain relief.

And one of our clients was in desperate need of it.

They were the directors of a bustling cosmetic surgery clinic.

And they needed to identify any potential lag in their operations…

Before supercharging their efficiency.

How else could they keep their star-studded clientele happy?

Here’s how we helped:

We deep-dived their business processes.

We used the intel to build bespoke automation software.

And we revolutionised how they scheduled appointments and alerted patients.

It streamlined essential processes and led them down the road towards digitalisation.

(Plus, they pocketed over $100,000 in savings in one year!)

woman sitting on street with laptop cheering

It Standardises Your Operations

We all know the struggle too well:

Your new hire is getting used to the job.

Then, they inevitably make a mistake.

The wheels of production grind to a halt until the recruit picks up the pace again.

Or, an employee makes the fatal error of being human.

They get distracted, tired or burnt out.

You can’t blame ‘em, can you?

When manual or repetitive processes are dependent on human intervention, human error also tends to step in.

You can’t be sure the end result is to a standard you expect.

Specific business automation tools can solve that conundrum.

You know the inputs and outputs of a process every time.

And you know that they will be void of error and will be done on time.

HWould you turn down that level of reliability?

It Helps Demonstrate Compliance During Audits

Clarity doesn’t just help speed up business processes.

It can, however, provide some much-needed information.

Information that to ensure your business is complying with regulations.

It can even be used during audits!

It Can Kickstart Your Digital Transformation

Still no idea what digital transformation actually is?

Here’s a quick definition to get you up to speed:

It’s the adoption of digital technologies to transform business operations and the customer experience.

Business automation tools are a convenient stepping stone to this.

It doesn’t just introduce the latest technology to your business.

Automation encourages a culture of continuous innovation.

It prompts you to review more processes, ditch that out-of-date IT and adopt new innovations.

Chapter 3

The Benefits Of Business Automation Systems

Let’s recap:

You know what business automation systems are.

And you know why you need to adopt one for your business right now.

Need more convincing?

I’m sure the results of introducing custom automation to your business will do the trick.

It Saves You Serious Time And Money

Simply put, automation can save your business time.

And we all know that time is money.

We all know that manual, repetitive tasks lead to three things:

 Human error

 Distraction

 Unproductivity

Having a slow Friday might seem tempting for some-

But it's actually costing you a lot more than you think.

The longer your employees are suck on these tasks…

(Like data entry, help desk support and customer service.)

...the slower they’ll go.

Break the cycle with automation.

You can put your employees to better use elsewhere with responsibilities that add value to a business (e.g. customer service, analysis).

And automated processes produce better quality work at a much lower cost.

We’ve estimated SMEs can save $50,000 a year with automation.

Not bad!

And when you cut out human error?

Your team doesn’t have to go back to correct the issue.

That can waste even more time on the task at hand.

You know what the software is doing and what it can produce.

You don’t need to worry about managing an entire team anymore.

You can get back to business knowing an accurate and speedy solution is whirring away.

man process mapping on a whiteboard

It Cuts Labour Costs

Is your business weighed down by manual work?

Chances are you’ve hired people to do those exact jobs.

These processes are tedious but you need a lot of hands on deck to meet deadlines.

Business automation can take care of those responsibilities.

No need to shell out for their salaries, anymore.

Last year, we started working with a small agricultural company in Scotland.

They specifically asked our team to help solve their labour cost problems.

But without their workers out in the field, they would have nothing!

Their problem was not the crop pickers…

And it wasn’t the people maneuvering the machinery:

It was their admin.

Not only did they struggle to get it done efficiently as they didn’t have much knowledge of accounting, bookkeeping and general data entry…

They were spending a fortune on hiring people that did.

Enter Lolly Co.

We spruced up their back office operations with an automation system.

It took care of 67% of their processes.

All they needed was to keep just one employee on.

Needless to say, they were pretty happy with the result!

Business Automation Expert, Joanna Grimbley-Smith
Did you know?

70% of employees claim automation will help them qualify for higher skilled work.

Joanna Grimbley-Smith - Business Automation Expert

Source: International Federation of Robotics

It Boosts Customer Satisfaction

Remember what I said about freeing up your employees to perform non-manual tasks?

Automating their daily tasks means they can take on other responsibilities.

Like customer service!

But this benefit is actually two-fold:

Your customer service can also be automated.

Automated phone lines and emails can do a lot.

Like help direct customers to the right member of staff, provide information, and take messages.

You don’t have to do a thing!

(Apart from following up on queries, of course.)

Take an automated emailing system.

It means that you can stay in close contact with potential new clients by having a customised message sent to them instantly.

Even if you didn’t lift a finger.

It Puts You Back In Control Of Your Business

I told you automation could do a lot.

But it can do more than streamline your workflows.

Automation goes hand-in-hand with convenient dashboards.

That means you can monitor all of your processes as they happen.

Armed with analytics and tracking, you can make decisions regarding your business based on data.

You can identify problems as they happen.

You can solve them in real-time.

You can even predict what may come next!

Not only can it help you clarify your business processes prior to implementing the software, it keeps this overview of them within reach.

Automation is not a one-time solution.

It can open up opportunities for future innovation.

Chapter 4

“Are There Any Processes I Shouldn’t Automate?”

In case you couldn’t tell, we think business automation is pretty darn impressive.

However-

We have to be honest:

Automation can’t fix everything.

It can’t solve every business anxiety that keeps you up at night.

And it can't do everything for you.

There are some things software just can’t do.

So, I thought it best we went through them.

That wau, you can be sure the business automation system you pick is a perfect fit.

You Shouldn’t Automate Large Sections Of Your Support Channels

We all love an automated chatbot or a digital assistant on the end of the phone - for a time.

They can help guide you to the right person.

That’s all they should do.

Customers won’t be too happy if they’re stuck answering questions from a robot for hours-on-end...

They just want a chat with a human staff member!

Same goes for online chatbots.

Sure, it can help weed out the small queries from website visitors.

But what if someone has a complicated question or a big problem?

They won’t be looking to wait around for a solution.

(Unless you want a complaint.)

woman working from home on a laptop

You Shouldn’t Automate Uncommon Or Unclear Processes

Automation only works with tasks that are:

 Common

 Constant

 Systematic

Think data entry or admin.

If it doesn’t follow a pattern or it’s simply unclear, it shouldn’t be automated.

Business Automation Expert, Joanna Grimbley-Smith
Did you know?

Google automated bidding is used by 70% of advertisers.

Joanna Grimbley-Smith - Business Automation Expert

Source: Google

You Shouldn't Automate Processes With Low Return-on-investment

Are you weighed down by busy processes that have high resource cost and volume?

Go ahead and automate.

That’s because the optimised process can deliver high ROI.

Remember that client I mentioned?

The one that worked in the agriculture sector?

After we sorted their administrative issues, they asked us to try our hand in another department:

Recruitment.

Problem is, their hiring process was…

And how do I put this politely…

A complete mess.

They had all of these different IT systems and softwares in place.

They were moving candidates from application to interview to analytics to interview...

What they had in between these stages were disruptive gaps.

(It upsets me just thinking about it.)

We built an automation system that connected it all together.

We focused on streamlining the processes and simplifying the entire workflow.

But we prioritised systems integration principles.

Fine, it does sound really complicated.

But they didn’t need to worry about it.

All they had to do?

Check on the output now and then to make sure everything was up to scratch.

Chapter 5

Our 6 Top Tips For Picking The Right System For Your Business

By this point, you should know whether business automation is right for your business.

But how do you go about picking the right business automation system for you?

Well, I’ve compiled our top tips:

 Find out the processes you need to automate

 Dream up your ideal software

 Check out the competition

 Integrate your IT systems

 Get (artificially) intelligent

 Consider customer automation software

#1 - Identify Which Processes Need To Be Automate

Before you even consider automation, you need to work out if your business needs it.

Managers should regularly deep-dive processes.

This means you can see where lagging processes are holding back efficiency.

Always keep in-touch with individual employees and their responsibilities.

This ensures your team works out exactly what it needs from an automation system.

Highlighting those manual, repetitive tasks is really important.

It’s always our first step when it comes to building bespoke automation software.

#2 - Determine Which Features You Want From The Software

Once you’ve looked into what’s holding your business back, consider how you want it to move forward.

Match your wider business strategy with process automation system features.

This guarantees a tailored fit.

Maybe you want to cut administrative costs?

Perhaps you want more efficient marketing?

Looking to automate human resource management?

Use process mapping to generate a clear list of wants and don’t-need.

This means it doesn’t cost more than it needs to.

post it notes on a wooden board

#3 - Compare With What Your Competitors Are Using

So - you want to run an industry leading firm?

Then you’ve got to bring out the big guns.

That means knowing what the current industry-leaders are disrupting your sector with.

Only then can you spot the gap in the market and move ahead.

Technology moves fast these days.

And you have to move faster.

Business Automation Expert, Joanna Grimbley-Smith
Did you know?

25% of jobs in the US are experiencing disruption due to automation.

Joanna Grimbley-Smith - Business Automation Expert

Source: Brookings Institute

#4 - Look For System Integration

If you’re shopping for software, we recommend prioritising system integration.

Manual processes aren’t the only thing in need of automation.

Out-of-date IT systems can also be holding your business back.

In this digital era, system integration is essential.

This makes sure newly introduced technologies work together and don’t clash.

If your weapon (software) of choice doesn’t have an API, then simply don’t select it as the preferred supplier.

If you don’t have an API?

Connecting one piece of software to another is a very difficult and expensive task.

If you fail to adopt this as a feature…

It could bring operations to a halt.

#5 - Consider Artificial Intelligence

I’ve already talked about how important it is to work out what your competitors are using.

And you can bet industry-leading business owners are using AI within their software.

Business automation is due to get even smarter when armed with AI.

In fact, intelligent automation is now on-trend.

And machine learning and robotic process automation are bringing up the rear.

#6 - Adopt A Custom Automation System

Still not sure how to go about finding the automation system for your business?

Allow us to introduce ourselves:

Lolly Co is a team of technology consultants and automation engineers.

Here’s what we do:

We build bespoke business automation systems.

That means you don’t need to dig around for certain features.

And you don’t need to work out the technology that suits your business best.

All you need to do is get in touch.

(We can do the rest.)

Conclusion

There you have it.

The ultimate guide to finding the right business automation system for you!

You should now know:

 Whether you need automation

 What it can - and what it can’t - do for your business

 And how to find your perfect system

So, what are you waiting for?

Automate Your Business

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