When it comes to automation, many businesses are hesitant to get started simply because of some common misconceptions. Commercient’s NextGen podcast hosts Noah Thomas and Victoria Jenkins identified and de-bunked five automation misconceptions with Kelly Skelton, the director of digital transformation at Fiber-Optics Center.
1. Automation does not make employees redundant
One of the reasons why many companies fear automation is that they commonly associate them with making people’s positions redundant. This is simply not true; AI is not coming for your job.
Automation is rather a way to speed up processes and provide people with more information than they had prior. It assists with the job but does not displace the current process or procedure.
When automating something, don’t look for ways to remove the work or cut out the process. Rather, you and your team should ask, “How can we improve the process?”
2. Automation is not the same as AI
The common notion that automating processes is the same as introducing an AI system to your workplace is simply not true; there are many differences between AI and automation.
AI systems can make decisions for themselves. They can be large, costly, and difficult to utilize without proper training and specialization. Although there are some smaller forms of AI available to general consumers, such as Amazon’s Alexa products and Apple’s Siri features on the iPhone, AI is not necessarily ‘there yet’ when it comes to business processes.
Automation, on the other hand, is much simpler than AI. Often automations are made to move data, fill in data, or perform quick calculations. Automating redundant business processes can allow employees more time to focus on high-importance tasks.
3. Using multiple automations is the best way to rapidly improve business processes
Kelly has implemented a large handful of automations at Fiber Optics Center. As automations can often be small, simple parts of larger processes, it’s crucial to continue seeking out automations that can be combined to give your business processes more power.
One large-scale automation Kelly swears by is Commercient SYNC, especially when combined with smaller automations such as Duplicate Check. For Fiber Optic Center, Commercient SYNC integrates their Sage 100 ERP and Salesforce Enterprise CRM systems to give them a 360-degree view of customer information, sales order history, inventory, and much more all in one dashboard. To learn more about how Commercient SYNC can streamline your business, get in touch with a sales representative today!
4. Any size business can find an automation to suit their needs
You don’t have to be a medium-to-large business with excessive amounts of money available to find cost-effective, appropriate automation. Large and small companies alike can utilize many of the same automation tools, often at low or free price points. The most universal options often improve marketing operations or customer service. For example, Commercient’s homepage uses chatbot automation to help customers visiting the site quickly find what they’re looking for, receive quotes on SYNC products, or get in touch with sales or our 24-hour support team. Free chatbot automations are available on many social media platforms, such as Facebook Messenger and Twitter, and can benefit businesses of any size.
5. Even if your business is running smoothly now, automation can still be beneficial
One of the main reasons companies shy away from automating their business processes is because they are operating perfectly fine without any automation. If everything is alright, then why bother automating anything? It’s simple, for two reasons.
First, technology is developing rapidly, and you don’t want to fall behind. By making small changes slowly, you can save your business a sudden realization that you’re operating in an outdated or inefficient way. Small changes to business processes over a large amount of time can help bring your company up to speed with new tech trends without a shock.
Second, even small automations can save a large amount of your employees’ time, thus allowing them to work more on other business operations that generate more profit. Asking employees in departments what they spend the bulk of their time on can be an easy way to determine some areas that could benefit from implementation.
You can learn more about how Kelly and Fiber Optics Center streamlined their business processes with Commercient’s large-scale SYNC in the case study here. For more on AI and Automation, listen to Episode One of the NextGen Podcast, available in these places: