If you ask what is the one solution that any business can adopt to achieve stability and efficiency, we would say it is automation. Automation is one solution that has been constantly evolving and advancing, further increasing the possibilities of achieving maximum productivity for business organizations.
Why is automation important? It has been altering the nature of the workspace and the work experience of the employees. Learn more about the benefits of automation by exploring some of the positive effects along with the disadvantages of automation and discuss why automation is good for business.
What is Automation?
Automation is a flexible and adaptive solution that is used to optimize the working of any organization. Human involvement can be completely removed from certain monotonous processes using this technology.
From simple tasks like emailing, data entry, and sending reminders to complex processes like finance, expense management, procurement, human resources, etc., can be performed with the assistance of automation software.
To put it in simpler words, automation in a workplace is using software to perform certain repetitive or manual tasks that slow down the efficiency of working in an organization. Physical automation is achieved when humans are replaced by machinery and robots or it can be the replacement of manual tasks using software and algorithms.
What is the Purpose of Automation?
With the growing customer base and constantly evolving business needs, automation holds the ability to address these challenging expectations. Most of the business processes are sped up and it maintains the continuity of the process.
The purpose does not end here, the cost invested is drastically reduced which can be further invested in more valuable resources. Processes are simply made simple to understand and more coordination is built within the workforce.
For example, healthcare organizations like hospitals, have high management and administrative costs and generally have a hard time keeping track of all the processes.
This inefficiency can often lead to errors, which can sometimes be a severe one. This is where automation gains its importance. With data-based software in place, there is systematic conduction of all the processes, which can be presented in a workflow manner.
This representation enables the employees to accurately assess and do the needful instantly. Additionally, platforms like automation-oriented patient portals, healthcare apps, etc., have made the process of billing and payment seamless.
Similar to the medical industry, automation shares the burden of sophisticated organizational processes to a great extent. More and more industries have begun their journey with automation, and have successfully developed their automation strategies. These devised strategies will help you transform their business and help you create a space for you in the competitive spectrum.
Having an understanding of the advantages and disadvantages will help you develop and improve your organizational processes.
Historical Development of Automation
The technology of automation has come a long way. The evolution of automation can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution, in the field of mechanization. Mechanization is referred to as the process of replacing human labor with machinery or even animals. Some of the important historical developments in mechanization and automation are listed below.
1. Early Developments
Simple mechanical tools and other device development like wheels, levers, pulleys, etc. required thousands of years. These inventions were followed by powered machines which required no human intervention to operate. These were waterwheels, windmills, and simple steam-driven machinery.
Then across the world, several self-operating machines like reaction motors, mechanical clocks, automatic sail-turning windmills, and the steam engine, represented a major advancement in the industry. Years later one of the most revolutionary inventions was the concept of a programmable machine, which was further used to develop an analytical engine for data processing.
2. Modern Developments
Cut to later years, a significant number of advancements and new approaches surfaced that changed the face of technology in general. The electronic digital computer, integrated circuits, storage technology, programming computers, sensor technology, and the most popular Artificial Intelligence. These have the ability to learn, comprehend languages, reason, solve problems, and follow high-level instructions.
Principles and Theory of Automation
Based on the developments so far, theorists have developed three basic blocks on which automation is erected.
- A Power Source
- Feedback Control System
- Machine Programming
Advantages and Disadvantages of Automation
How does automation help businesses? – is the most basic question that has to be explored. Automation has been praised for its versatility in achieving efficiency with the utmost accuracy in performance.
However, the advantages of automation are often accompanied by some disadvantages that come with this advanced technological shift. Hence, the importance of automation has to be discussed along with the pros and cons of automation. Before we intend to implement an automation system, understanding what it brings to you is a must-know. Time to dig into automation’s pros and cons.
1. Minimum Operating Costs
Automation is carried out by robots and systems. It is estimated that robots can perform the work of at least five people depending on the task that it is performing. The efficiency of the process is exponentially multiplied with just one automation system replacing several human laborers. This effectively removes cost expenses on employees and energy saving can also add up to the overall savings. With the provision of automation, parameters like streamlined process, accuracy, and minimal wastage of resources.
2. Improved Worker Safety
Automation reduces human involvement in the tasks. This highly reduces the risk to the safety of your employees. For example, in the case of manufacturing industries, physical tasks were mostly performed by workers in a traditional setup before machinery was brought into place. Worker lives were at risk while performing certain tasks. With automation, the participation of the workers in risk-oriented processes is reduced. Hence, an improved employee-friendly environment is inculcated.
3. Higher Return on Investment
The outputs delivered are to you based on the needs and goals that you have set for your business. The automation system that you intend to use must align with these goals. The ROI will be higher with minimum operating costs, less lead times, and improved output generation.
4. Increased Competitive Opportunities
With the maximum proficiency and productivity being achieved, your business or organization will be able to outshine your competitors based on the service you provide. The features that automation offers like workflow creation, integration, etc. offer flexibility that will help you exceed the capabilities of your competition.
5. Increased Production Output
With increased efficiency, the production output also increases. The factors that make this possible are consistent speed, no human interference, reduced errors, and improved working experience all improve the quality of the production. The service provided can be extensively widened hence expanding your customer base.
6. Better Planning and Organizing
With the fixed goals and objectives, you will be able to gauge the degree of improvement that automation will bring to your organization. A system like this in place will help you predict and acquire your expected outcome.
7. Reduced Need for Outsourcing
There is a very minimal requirement of resources. The automated units will have high potential within its system. Therefore, so many resource values that were estimated before the implementation of automation can be laid off. No outsourcing of any resource is required.
8. Increased Employee Satisfaction and Retention
In an automated system, your employees will not have to go through mundane and repetitive activities or tasks, which can often be boring. Fortunately, different solutions provided in automation can erase such monotonous and time-consuming tasks. With a productive environment, your workforce will be empowered to use their important tasks rather than simply burning their energy on a low-value task.
9. Easy Integration
Most of the automation software easily allows integration with any third-party application. This lets you automate and streamline all the processes across several platforms or software. The complete process can be achieved in a continuous manner.
10. Increased Productivity and Efficiency
The efficiency of the process improves to a much higher level with automation. Faster processing is achieved comparatively to humans. The greatest advantage is that, unlike humans, automation systems can work 24/7, getting more work done. Instant reports are produced once the process is completed. These insightful reports can be generated for making quick decisions or can be used for review of the processes to locate the areas of improvement.
Other Benefits of Automation
If you are from compliance regulatory industries like finance, or healthcare, then automation can be an effective tool to maintain compliance. With an automation tool, staying compliant with proposed regulations is ensured. Automation also allows you to construct your compliance programs that will ensure another level of control and monitoring over the processes. The chief benefits of automation in the workplace like compliance can easily be achieved.
Errors can cost the entire effort that has been put into the process. It is estimated that businesses cost over $62.4 million every year due to human-induced errors. A technological system like automation can eliminate all errors that can possibly occur. The chances of typos and any other lack-of-attention errors will not occur since data used in the process is automatically ported from the system by the workflow automation software. With reduced errors, employees will not have to spend time correcting them. A lot of money is saved from repeating the process entirely. Human interference is greatly eliminated with data fetching and analysis being done by systems.
With efficient work processes, you can offer your customers the best possible experience and focus more on their wants and needs. Conventionally, customer handling used to be a laborious and chaotic task. Their problems and queries were addressed only hours and days later. Once you implement an automation system, consistent and effective communication can be easily maintained with your customers, and their queries and questions can be addressed quickly without wasting their time.
No Paper-based Processes
An automation tool will completely negate the use of paper, which promotes an environmentally friendly work culture. All the processes can be digitized and incorporated into a digital document workflow. Externally, paper documents can be scanned and uploaded into the software cloud, which can be accessed and used whenever or wherever you want.
Standardization and Cleaner Data
This advantage answers the question – why is automation important in business? Automating the business will bring standardization to all the processes which is essential for any business. The communication, flow of information, handling of data, corrective measures and procedures, etc., are all uniformly established for your employees to follow. With a standardized code of conduct, measurable goals can be set and you will be able to examine your key performance indicators (KPIs). By examining the KPIs, you can easily gauge whether your set goals have been achieved. These indicators can be trusted as there is no human interference, negating the influence of errors.
Any automation solution is scalable in nature. It can resize itself to your needs. The rules engine within automation software will help you add, edit, rewrite, or change the rules according to your needs. Therefore, automation is flexible and can be implemented and used at any stage the organization wishes to. It can handle any volume and can give you your desired output.
Without an automated system, errors, miscommunication, chaos, and confusion become a common sight. To avoid these disadvantages, one major benefit of automation is the reliability of the software. Especially in the IT sector, IT automation benefits are numerous, making the processes more efficient.
Generally in the IT sector, the two most essential requirements are, one, highly technical skills, that is, to possess the ability to understand complex operating systems. The second is the employees required to be the content pushing button and loading documents. These opposed requirements can be easily met with scalable operation automation tools.
Some of the Major Pitfalls in Automation Systems
As we have discussed the automation advantages in detail, understanding the disadvantages also becomes crucial. The pros of automation are always accompanied by some cons as well. Automating is not an easy task, especially when it is a large organization, many areas need to be taken into consideration, and many hurdles to overcome.
Most often, organizations reason that they do not have enough resources to implement an automation solution. They claim to have answers like no budget, no time, no coding expertise, or no staff. This is because many businesses have not recognized the true potential of automation. Lack of knowledge can often lead to the improper usage of the same. Some of the disadvantages of automation are as follows.
Huge Capital Expenditure
Even though automation has gained wide success, certain factors affect the implementation of such a huge shift. One of which is the huge capital requirement for choosing, testing, and implementing the right tool. Alongside this, it is highly susceptible to cyber-attacks and the risk of losing all data.
This is the most important disadvantage of automation, the displacement of human labor. As computerized systems execute tasks faster and more accurately, the laborers or the human workforce have been laid off in most companies.
Possibility of Redundancy
Automation is known to remove redundancy. However, this convenient process can become redundant when a change has to be incorporated into the automated process. The rules have to be changed and updated and the automation has to be modified again. Hence, this step is repetitive.
Still Demands Human Intervention
Even after automation is achieved, it has to be initiated by human action. The process workflow must be set, rules must be set up, and approvals have to be manually made. Hence, the automated processes are not completely void of human action.
Here is an Easy Comparison table of Advantages and Disadvantages
|Higher production rates
|Requires Huge capital investment
|More controlled use of resources
|Possibility of becoming redundant
|Better product quality
|Could introduce new safety hazards
|Requires human intervention
|The lesser workload for employees
|No labor issues
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Cflow is the Best Automation Partner
As we have discussed the numerous automation benefits, choosing the perfect tool for beginning your fruitful automation journey is essential. Cflow can be the perfect solution for your business. Cflow is a no-code workflow automation platform that can effortlessly streamline any business process for you. As a cloud BPM and workflow automation software, your business can focus and work on a more strategic and systematic approach. It offers a deep sense of clarity to the work that is carried out.
Cflow lets you seamlessly integrate with some of the essential third-party applications like SAP, Zapier, and several others. With its integration features, Cflow leaves you with an option to always choose to integrate other applications with simple steps. Therefore, third-party applications along with Cflow can be integrated into your business processes without coming out of the user interface. The integration feature always ensures the continuous flow of tasks.
Cflow’s workflow automation platform lets you the following:
- Create flowchart-based workflows with just a drag-and-drop action. This feature comes along with pre-designed templates for all of the complex business processes. Users can customize the available Cflow templates as well.
- Users can easily set rules to ensure compliance is maintained through SLAs.
- Tasks can be easily routed to your employees. Users can also formulate customized and specific reminders and notifications regarding tasks, deadlines, and approvals for the respective task.
- It allows you to perform integration with several other SMB applications like Slack and Quickbooks. It allows easy integration with any third-party application or external systems of your choice.
- It helps you receive customized graphical reports and analytics to assess the performance both task-wise and employee-wise to have deeper insights and to make report-oriented decisions.
Why we need automation is quite decipherable now. Automation benefits to businesses have shown a huge positive impact. The multiple and highly sophisticated seaming features offer an effortless user experience to the users. As technology is advancing at a faster pace, the need to stay relevant and competitive has increased.
With the advanced assistance from automation software, organizations can maximize their goals and outcomes, at the same time minimizing resources. Therefore, understanding the pros and cons, which describe the benefits of automation, is crucial when shifting to automation. This is where Cflow stands as a perfect partner for your automation journey. Sign up today!
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