Sci-fi enterprises like Star Wars and The Terminator may be responsible for the association of the popular imagination of automation to images of sentient robots and androids taking over people's jobs. In reality, however, automation is something more subtle than the images these worlds portray.
The word ‘automation’ comes from the Greek verb automaton, itself coined from the words auto (meaning self) and maton (meaning moving); automaton thus means something that does an action/movement by itself without the help of human beings.
You already encounter these technologies in your daily life. For example, when you use an Uber like app that matches your route with a nearby driver, or when you use your Ventra app to check real-time arrivals and departures for CTA buses/trains, Pace and Metra in the Chicagoland area. The push notifications on your phone are also automated; they don’t need to be prompted to show new messages. Automation has become so ingrained in today’s society that you barely notice it’s there.
When it comes to the workplace, McKinsey & Company argues that up to 45% of tasks can be automated. This is good news for small- to medium-sized businesses that do not have a large workforce, since automated tasks can make work quicker and lighter for their employees. Automation also doesn’t have to impact crucial tasks. In fact, it’s not meant to do that. Ideally, it’s the small repetitive tasks that get automated. Here are five specific ways that your business can benefit from automation.
1. Centralized database
Paper and digital files move from one person to another all the time, sometimes even between departments, and keeping track of them can be time-consuming and confusing. Through a cloud-based automated document management system (DMS), file sharing can be streamlined by consolidating manual files and files in different hard drives into a shared database where employees can view their status in real time. This centralized control also provides transparency that can be key to eliminating redundant or incorrect file entries, further improving workflows.
2. Tighter security
When all your documents are stored in one database, it becomes possible to put automated security protocols in place. Your DMS can be configured to automatically secure your data by encrypting it and limiting user access, giving you layers of protection from cyber attacks or security breaches. And when sophisticated security measures are easy to implement, compliance to industry-specific standards like Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) also becomes a breeze.
3. Lower operational costs
Apart from helping you manage and secure documents, automation also lowers your operational costs significantly by getting tasks done without you having to add people to your workforce. For example, healthcare organizations often times house data in disparate systems and require staff to enter data into multiple systems. It can result in data entry errors and having to pay overtime. This can be easily addressed with Electronic Medical Record integration. The integration will reduce the manual entry time, improve the overall data quality and contain operational costs.
4. Less human error
While humans get tired after some time, automated systems can repeatedly do the same amount of work at the same rate indefinitely. And because humans are vulnerable to mistakes that can be caused by anything from tiredness to carelessness to neglect, automated processes provide safer options, especially in workflows that involve finances, like client billing or payroll.
5. More time for human tasks
Not all things can be automated — at least, not yet. Tasks involving nuanced emotions and creativity like devising strategic business solutions or developing new products and services still need to be done by human beings. When you utilize self-managing systems to streamline tasks, you can spend less time on routine work, and have more time for “human” tasks.
Each business has unique automation needs, and MXOtech can help you configure intelligent technology solutions that will work best for your business by guiding you through a Business Process Improvement Analysis. Depending on our findings we can recommend a change in your existing process, an off-the-shelf product or build a customized app for you. Contact us today.