Automation in the workplace has seen a sharp rise in the last two years. According to Gartner, global revenues from automation software will reach $1.89 billion in 2021, up by 19.5% since 2020, and this double-digit growth rate is expected to continue through 2024. This is due to several key benefits of automation such as error reduction, improved productivity, cost savings, and reduced risk. Yet, if implemented haphazardly, workplace automation could end in significant sunk costs and companies could struggle to scale beyond the first few pilots. Studies by McKinsey found that just 15% of companies were able to set up a comprehensive and scalable automation program in 2020.
In other words, despite the clear benefits of automation in the workplace, companies must look beyond the traditional siloed approach and adopt an integrated platform model to achieve their evolving growth needs. To understand this further, let us explore the meaning of process automation in more detail.
What is Process Automation?
Process automation can be defined as a collection of technologies that help to remove or reduce the manual efforts needed in front, middle, and back-office tasks to unlock efficiency gains.
The more sophisticated your process automation is, the more complex tasks it can optimize. For example, a highly advanced intelligent automation solution like JIFFY.ai can reduce thousands of person-hours spent on manually processing invoices, while learning and adapting to various invoice templates, rules, supplier types, and other exceptions. Typically, process automation uses cognitive technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and optical character recognition (OCR) to unlock outsized benefits.
Benefits of Automation in the Workplace
Workplace automation can help you:
- Drive accuracy – There are fewer chances of human bias, subjectivity, negligence, or fatigue impacting your process outcomes. 67% of companies felt this is a top benefit, as per IDC.
- Boost productivity – You can complete a higher volume of tasks per employee, as manual effort per task is reduced. 64% agreed on this benefit.
- Save costs – Reduced errors and more productivity mean that your expenditure per task will shrink. 60% of companies gained from this benefit.
- Reduce risk – As processes become more consistent and less error-prone, you can strengthen compliance and risk management. 54% experienced a reduction in operational risk due to workplace automation.
- Empower employees – As mundane and repetitive mid- and back-office tasks are automated, your employees can focus on customer experience, product innovation, business strategy, and achieve better work-life balance. This was a key benefit for 51% of companies.
Pros and Cons of Automation in the Workplace
Automation’s biggest advantage is that you can make tasks and processes significantly more efficient. This lets you utilize your human talent to scale faster and innovate better. However, there are a few challenges it brings along:
- It can take time to deploy – Writing complex automation scripts from scratch and maintaining them is extremely time and effort-intensive. A wiser approach is to invest in a low-code platform approach, like the JIFFY.ai AUTOMATE platform with its HyperApps that can be configured and run by business users.
- Traditional RPA is rigid – Robotic process automation (RPA) uses fixed business rules to automate workflows, which makes it difficult to adapt to complex or variable processes. You need a flexible platform that can learn using ML and loop in a human being when necessary.
- It can cause silos and fragmentation – If just one, standalone process is automated, there will be fragmentation in data flow and workflow across the enterprise. That’s why your automation platform needs to be integrated with business systems like ERPs and CRMs to reap the full benefits of digital transformation.
Companies including the Fortune and Global 500, and the Big4 consulting have worked with JIFFY.ai to address automation challenges and modernize their workplaces for the future. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.