Using Digital Automation to Release Innovation

Every problem provides the opportunity to unearth new ideas and find innovative ways to solve them. That innovation can unleash more efficient processes and competitive advantages that propel a business forward. The challenge for businesses is finding these ideas and innovations when their teams are busy with daily mundane tasks like completing forms or manually inputting data – time-consuming, uncreative work.

For those businesses, digital transformation using digital automation can liberate innovation from the chains of repetitive manual tasks. It can shift focus from managing the business to creating innovative ways to build the business.

Here are a couple of ways digital automation can be used by businesses and how it can help them liberate time and resources to discover strategic and impactful innovation.

Less time on basic tasks

There are many basic tasks in an office that are routine and specific to the role a worker has in the business. Yet, according to a study done by Wrike, non-role specific tasks take up almost 61% of office workers’ time.

Does a business need to have its workers spend time manually inputting data into a database or copying and pasting from emails, forms or spreadsheets into the same database every day? The answer comes from the voice of their workers since, in the same study, more than two-thirds (38%) said that 40% of their work could be automated.

Digital automation can revolutionize many business processes by cutting down or eliminating keyboard clicks, reducing spreadsheet entries or automating document assembly and approval lines, to name a few. Giving back time to office workers lets them do their specific jobs better and frees them to generate and implement even more innovative ideas to grow the business.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) are ripe for automating basic tasks. As these businesses grow, they scale out of how they handle the intake of client information they receive.

A good example is a work intake flow that has been centered around individuals receiving data from clients by email and then routing that email to the proper resource area that needs the information or can answer the question. A time-saving, error-reducing solution can be the use of an online form in which fields can be completed by the client. Once complete, the form can then be routed to a  specific folder. Based on the completed fields and using pre-programmed rules, the form can be automatically routed to the appropriate employee to handle the customer request or question.

That simple solution can free time for workers to concentrate on their core strategic tasks and create more innovative products, processes or new business areas that help the SMB grow.

Today, solutions resellers can offer a wide variety of solutions and services that automate basic tasks. Whether coding and installing robots, automating repetitive keyboard input or screen scraping,  installing process automation software, or moving many automated document process tasks to the cloud, it comes down to understanding the processes and tasks the customer wants to automate.

Finding the needle in the information haystack

Did you know that up to 50% of annual employee turnover is attributable to worker burnout, and that work stress is a significant contributor to burnout? Interestingly, in another study, 42% of high-stressed workers reported that their stress level was increased by the inability to find information they knew they had seen or used before.

Automating information capture, filing and discovery processes not only makes a business more efficient but can reduce this employee stress. Reducing the effort and time employees take to file and find information frees time for them to use the information and develop new innovative ideas that make the business more competitive.

Automatically adding tags and keywords to digital documents, forms, digitally captured paper documents and even images can automate the filing of data into the proper databases or folders. When workers need to find information, they can search the system using the keyword or tags. But what if the employee doesn’t know the specific tag or keyword to use, or there is other information in other systems that can be relevant to their search?

Contextual tagging and search levels up digital automation for filing and discovery by using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). “Automagically” adding metadata, tags, and keywords based on the context of the contents of the file helps store it properly. During discovery, an employee can use natural language questions to search and, based upon the context of the request and the context of the file(s), information can be retrieved that is even more relevant to what the employee is looking for.

Solutions that provide this type of digital automation in the filing and discovery processes of businesses can help find needles in the information haystack that provide the background or strategic insight needed to deliver results to customers faster and develop innovative new business processes. Additionally, a solution expert can help reduce the stress levels of employees and perhaps deliver a possible solution to a client’s employee turnover problem.

Digital automation leads to innovation

These areas of digital automation are just a few ways businesses can be successful in their digital transformation, unleashing time and resources to spend on innovative ways to grow their business. You might say automation could be the tip of the innovation iceberg.  By delivering digital automation solutions, you can help your clients discover even more ways to release their workers’ energies in more profitable pursuits.

The key points to remember are:

  • Get insight and visibility to the client’s work processes. Talk to the employees that are involved in the process, observe what they do in order to fully understand the tasks involved. Additionally, help the client have a clear view of the processes and tasks and the possible problems they create.
  • Identify the process and tasks that can add value. Find those time-intensive processes – those that take up the majority of workers daily tasks. You want to be able to show time reductions, how employees spending time on creating innovative solutions to help improve customer experiences and satisfaction ratings will help increase revenue.
  • After a solution is implemented remember it is not a “set and forget” process. Make sure to regularly review with your client how the process is proceeding and what tweaks, improvements or changes need to be made. Remember, employees change, roles change, processes change so staying on top of those changes is important to continue to be the added value and trusted advisor that helps your client build and efficiently run their business.

Not all manual processes can be digitally automated. But automating the right processes frees time to let your customers’ innovations blossom and your business grow.