Business automation aims at improving a company’s performance by reducing costs, increasing the accuracy of the available data and minimizing delays.
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There are several software solutions that are available for most business functions and once any company automates its basic functions, the other aspects of the business will work more efficiently. Check out my post on what systems you can automate in your business here!
This is due to the fact that the automation process results in relevant data that is readily available in a form which software can process.
This enables business owners to access the data quickly, make the corresponding decisions and also report on their results and actions.
Businesses that employ automation strategies can respond to the market changes quickly and adjust effectively to any unexpected events.
It is obvious that business automation tools provide major competitive advantages to the businesses that utilize them. However, before we take a look at specific automation tools, let’s review a couple of the advantages that these tools can provide to your business.
Small businesses mostly use local suppliers for most of their business automation wants because they do not have the resources for building their own customized applications or customize standard products of the larger business automation companies.
You can normally find businesses that specialize in your given area of business with adapted software packages for a license, compliance, local tax and shipping requirements of your business.
Typical business tools that partially automate standard business functions are the ones for payroll, material receiving, point-of-sale systems, shipping, invoicing, human resources and project management.
A major advantage of an automated business system is the controls which software can apply. Previously, company policies authorizing a given employee to issue the purchase orders to a certain amount used to rely on manager verification or employee compliance.
The automated business tool refuses to allow any employee to exceed his/her authorization. When an employee logs in using his/her password and username, the system will include his purchase order limits in his permissions.
Such types of controls are more effective as compared to non-automated procedures.
Once the data about a company’s operations have been put in an automated system, owners and managers can extract data and get a good idea about company performances.
Reliable data on profit, receivables, and sales are available quickly. The automated business tools can customize reports so as to enable employees to get information that they need.
However, all sensitive information is normally reserved for the leaders in the company.
A major challenge for smaller businesses is complying with record-keeping requirements in their locality.
Business automation tools make record-keeping to be less. Once the data is in the system, the tool can handle archiving key data, data retention, and tracking results.
Some automated tools shall certify that the company products comply with certain requirements thus enabling companies to reduce the risk of audits and fines.
An added business-automation function which companies mostly have to buy separately is decision support.
Such tools run scenarios and also analyze situations as well as data to help the owners and managers to make difficult decisions. Users are able to input their possible decisions together with their situation and then ask the tool to project the results.
This function relies on data generated from the tool automating standard business functions and is normally the final step in the business-automation structure.
Now that we have an additional handle on the benefits of business automation tools, it’s time to take a look at the specific tools themselves! Check out some of my favorite tools here.
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