Bridging the Digital Divide

The wide-ranging benefits of digitalisation to business has never been more obvious.  Recent McKinsey & Company research demonstrates the pandemic has had such a profound effect on digital transformation that seven years of progress was made in a matter of months.  No wonder this has thrust digital transformation to the forefront of business goals.  According to a survey by HCL Technologies, 80% of organisations now see it as a priority.

However, despite the obvious benefits, data also indicates that SME’s lag behind big business in the adoption of nearly all technologies.  The largest gaps are in the digitalisation of internal organisation processes where automation can save time and money. Why is this the case? Are SME’s unsure how to proceed to best benefit their business? What are the barriers to digital transformation? How can SME’s also ride the wave of this technology revolution?

Process automation and digitalisation could be the answer. Using simple, cost-efficient technologies, SME’s can transform manual operations into digital ones.  For SME’s, the benefits of embracing automation are huge:

  • Save time to focus on what matters
  • Reduce costs
  • Boost sales
  • Reduce human error

We acknowledge SME’s are a diverse group but some processes are common to us all.  Think how long the sales process can be. Quotes, approvals and sales contracts going back and forth in countless emails and phone calls.  Routine documents such as NDA’s, onboarding new clients (and staff), invoices and reports are also extremely time-consuming.  Overcomplicated communication, slow approvals, rerouting of documents, fixing errors and digging through piles of paperwork and emails.  Automation is the answer – it simplifies the systems, eliminates the tedious tasks and replaces staff time with tech, freeing up more time for them to do what they do best (which let’s face it, is what you employed them for).

So, what is holding SME’s back?  Why is there this digital divide? Is the perception that the cost of automation is too high for a small business?  Automation doesn’t have to be expensive just strategic.  Simple tools can be used to do repetitive tasks for you, saving time and money for the business.  But implementing automation must require specialist skills by IT programmers that we simply don’t have, right? Wrong! New low or no-code platforms like AUTTO puts the technology directly into the hands of people who run the everyday business without the need for specialist programming skills.  Valued staff are empowered to identify their own pain points and easily automate their day-to-day tasks with no-code automation.

The McKinsey research concludes that although small business is less likely to automate than large corporates it is more likely to succeed.  We at AUTTO want to help you realise this. Get in touch today to book your free demo:  https://www.autto.io/book-a-demo

The Top 5 Processes Every SME Should Automate Now!

Business automation has become a key part of driving success forwards and is no longer the preserve of big corporations.   With platforms such as AUTTO, small businesses can now afford to easily incorporate automation in every aspect of their business, leading to huge time and cost savings.   It can be quite confusing for small business owners to identify exactly which daily tasks should be automated. So, in this post, we explore our recommended top 5…

 

  1. Sales Completion 

Salespeople hate paperwork but heaps of forms are inherent when closing a deal. Documents such as:

  • Sales Agreements
  • Invoices
  • Client information gathering
  • Updating CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems can all be automated.

It transforms the sales process into a highly time-saving, more accurate and less laborious one for the team responsible.  This frees up their time and energy to do what they do best – sell more and grow your business.

 

  1. Managing Approvals

Automation cuts down on time spent seeking complicated approvals across the business. Getting approval for example for a PO over a certain amount or for a discount being offered to a client would usually require manual input from multiple people.  Each of these can hold up the time taken and make the process open to human error.  Automating this process makes it seamless, accurate and cuts time dramatically.

 

  1. Employee Onboarding

Taking on new staff is a time-intensive process for all and for the new employee, there is nothing worse than arriving for a new job, full of excitement than spending the first day filling out forms! Let automation handle the lot.

  • Employee contracts are created and signed digitally,
  • Processes are created to ensure all new hires have access to the passwords,
  • Keys and important files they need from day one
  • Automatic background checks, verifications and screenings.  This last one provides an important audit trail, vital particularly for those companies that have regulations. This leads us neatly onto…

 

  1. Audit Trail for Compliance

Many industries have regulations specific to them and must demonstrate compliance with certain processes – a lengthy and painful process. Automation takes the headache away by automatically providing an audit trail to prove compliance. At AUTTO, for example, we use our own software in-house to ensure and prove all new employees have had the information security training required to honour our ISO 27001 status.

 

  1. Information Gathering and Creating Reports

For organisations that need to gather and compound large amounts of data to produce bespoke reports for clients, automation will transform their business.  The time it would usually take to collect and collate info and create a relevant client document can be shortened dramatically with automation.  That frees up time to grow your business.  Small business consultancies, balance scorecards in the construction industry and talent management can for example all benefit from this.

 

So there it is – our top 5 automation suggestions.  If you’re interested in automating your business, talk to us now. We’d love to hear from you CONTACT US or sign up for our FREE TRIAL!

Lead with Tech – Why all leaders need to be tech savvy

“Technology is no longer just one vehicle for success – it’s the vehicle all possible success depends on.”

Strong words for business leaders. So why are so many still not championing the use of technology in their business?

Why is it too often seen as the job of the ‘IT manager’ or the ‘Operations person’? The disruptors of the past year have brutally exposed to small start-ups and big business alike the limitations of the longstanding norms of doing business. The “if it ain’t broke why fix it?” attitude has to change.

Every leader should now be aiming to be a technology pioneer and show a hands-on approach to adopting new technology to fill these limitations. Clearly if technology innovation is not on the priority agenda of the CEO there’s a low chance it will succeed – the new times we operate in now call for leaders to upend convention and take a more proactive approach to tech.

However, understandably many business leaders struggle to see where to begin – research suggests 45% do not even know where to start with digital transformation[i]. But the good news is with the tools that are available today, leaders don’t need the knowledge of an IT consultant.

New low or no-code platforms like AUTTO puts the technology directly into the hands of people who run the everyday business without the need for specialist programming skills. Leaders win on all fronts – technology transforms business efficiency whilst valued staff are empowered to identify their own pain points to fix.

Powerful automation platforms like AUTTO allow employees to:

  1. Think for themselves on the best way to streamline their key business processes, documents, and everyday tasks.
  2. No-code automation means they can then easily, without any programming skills, develop their own applications in response.
  3. Important but laborious daily tasks, such as cutting and pasting into a spreadsheet or sending out endless emails are automated freeing up valuable time.

Our customers tell us they save about 75% of their time using AUTTO. Staff hours are redirected to doing far more valuable and creative tasks.

This “democratisation” of technology creates an enormous opportunity to drive businesses forward but whether it succeeds or not is up to the leaders– they must take an active role to embrace and champion tech to thrive in the new tech World.

Keeping your best staff in the new hybrid workforce

With 1 in 4 of the British workforce considering a career change in 2021 firms are worried. Employees are fed up with solely working from home and whilst the hybrid workforce is set to be the new now for most organisations, it may not be enough.

 

Large corporates such as BT have announced post-pandemic proposals to have a mix of onsite and remote working and a Lloyds Banking Group staff survey found that nearly 80% wanted to work at home for at least three days a week. Small and medium companies will probably follow suit – in part responding to their employees wishes. But more needs to be done to retain good staff. Getting the balance right is going to be key.

 

A 2020 study showed 80% of managers are concerned about retaining valued employees. Broken down over half (47%) worry about how much staff morale has suffered in the past year and how heavier workloads are leading to burnout. Some are anxious that the shift in working patterns has meant their people have simply lost interest in working for the company.

 

There’s no argument that small and medium companies in particular value their hard working staff with many firms having a family-like regard for their teams. But to keep employees happy you have to take away the heavy workloads, give them space for creative thinking and problem solving and demonstrate a trust in them. As ever, technology and more specifically automation is going to be the key to succeed in this new hybrid work model.

 

“No code” platforms like AUTTO make automating key business processes and documents easy. These “time-rich, imagination-poor” but nonetheless important daily tasks of every company will free up staff time – our customers tell us about 75%. What better way of empowering staff than by replacing the hours they take laboriously cutting and pasting into a spreadsheet or sending out endless emails to free them up to do something far more valuable? From a productivity perspective, accuracy improves as the human element is removed from routine documents such as order processing, contracts, T&Cs and licenses and replaced with automation.

 

Showing trust and respect in their abilities will further empower your staff. Give THEM the automations to identify and create – after all they are at the coal face of your business and know which processes need changing. With AUTTO anyone can automate in a few hours with our simple no-code platform. No technical expertise required. You can take any of your unique business processes, easily learn the system and, like Lego building blocks, automate them.

 

The future world of work is upon us all but with it comes new challenges –finding more creative ways to retain the best staff at the same time boosting business productivity is going to be critical. Automation is set to play a pivotal role in this new now.

How to innovate practically | Lawtech with a purpose

The Challenge 

“I wonder if we can do something during B-innovative week?” In August, I was on a Zoom call with the Innovation and Client Solutions team at independent UK law firm Burges Salmon. Who were speculating on next steps following a trial of Autto by one of its trainees, Alex. 

Alex Knowles-Smith (now qualified and in the Pensions team) was finishing his traineeship with a seat in the Innovation team. One of his assignments had been to trial Autto for an afternoon to see how easy it was to create useful tools. Autto is a no-code automation solution that makes it easy for professionals to deliver solutions to clients or colleagues using knowledge, business process and document automation. Alex had progressed from never having logged on to Autto before, to building an automated NDA process in only three hours. Alex, a history graduate, doesn’t have a technical background and his success with Autto in such a short time had galvanised our discussion with the firm. Alex had an idea, and a few hours later, it was working – a practical innovation. 

As Autto’s product owner, it was thrilling. It is very easy when building software to get caught up comparing your feature list with the next product along and forget about the user. The reality is it doesn’t matter how many features you have if your software is so complicated most of the functionality never gets used. Our product philosophy at Autto has always been about practical innovation. In business, ideas are worthless if they don’t make off the drawing board; they must be implemented to have real value. For the Autto team, this means rapid easy-to-use automation available to non-technical users at a price point that isn’t eye watering. Alex’s feedback was another confirmation that our hard work was paying off. 

The Next Generation 

This week we presented Autto and Alex’s NDA process to the broader Burges Salmon team. In the Q&A at the end of the session, one of his colleagues asked Alex how useful he had found his time working with Autto and the Innovation team. Alex’s response was fascinating:  

“It made me think in-depth for the first time during my training contract beyond the services we provide as lawyers, to how we provide those services. It set me thinking more creatively and more broadly about the ways the profession might change in future. The ways that the firm is positioning itself to navigate and harness those changes.  

The model by which legal services have been delivered has been unchanged for so long. We record by the hour, a lot of it is still done using classic legal resources. It set me thinking about how we take that legal expertise, engineer it in different ways, and deliver it to the client in different ways. It was the first time that I’d grappled with that and thought about it in some depth. Going forward, I’m going to be trying to build that technological angle into my career. As more and more things are automated and the profession changes, it’s going to be very valuable.” 

It seems the latest generation of lawyers is not only more open than previous generations to real changes in the way their legal services are delivered but expect and value that opportunity as part of their careers.  

How can law firms be practically innovative? 

What can we learn from this example.  I think there are three simple steps law firms can take. 

If law firms give lawyers, particularly digitally native lawyers, hands-on access to different technologies, then many ideas on using them to benefit both clients and the firm will come quickly. It is hard for lawyers to conceive these ideas in a vacuum – the technology experience helps them understand what is possible for their clients.  If the technologies are too difficult for your lawyers to use or understand, they are the wrong technologies.  

The technology is available to bring those ideas to reality quickly, but it requires time from legal professionals who understand the problems. Given a choice between a lawyer spending an hour developing an innovative new way to serve a client and billing an hour to the same client, almost all law firms will pick the latter. Law firms should value time spent developing new ways to serve clients in a similar way they value CPD, as the essential non-billable time required to deliver a better professional service. Until they do, progress will inevitably be limited. 

Finally bringing those ideas to reality will require a broader team of analysts, technologists and designers. These are the teams which provide specific expertise to bring lawyers ideas to practical delivery to clients. 

After four years of spending a lot of time talking to law firms, my view is that many firms are now investing in the third of these steps, but neglecting the first two. Law firms that want to deliver better value to clients through real-world, practical innovation will need to value the time and effort which goes into these improvements in an equally tangible way. 

How are Burges Salmon delivering real innovation? 

Each year Burges Salmon stages “B-innovative”, a week of events, training and thought leadership to encourage positive change. This year, Autto has teamed up with the firm’s innovation team to replicate Alex’s experience on a larger scale. Thirty-seven of the firm’s trainees have divided into teams, and we have given them full access to Autto. The firm has challenged each group to deliver a prototype automation or app that could be of value to a client in the next three weeks.  

The goal is to challenge trainees to think how best to meet client needs and help Burges Salmon better understand how lawyers can be involved with new technological developments.  Importantly the goal is not just the idea but the actual delivery of a working prototype.  It is an exercise in practical innovation.  

As senior innovation lead Emma Sorrell, who is running the challenge told me: “Burges Salmon knows the clients we serve are digitising, and technologies like Autto are giving us the tools to adapt and keep up. But we are still exploring the right mix of skills to bring these new client services to market. When and how to combine the skills and experience of our solicitors, our business professionals and our technologists. This year’s Autto challenge is an opportunity to explore that further.” 

We will report back here in a couple of weeks on how the trainees got on.   

By engaging their trainees with technology directly Burges Salmon are taking an important step to delivering better legal services to their clients with technology. 

Lockdown has taught us to be more connected, not less.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world this year, in particular businesses and their staff. This disruption has made businesses re-evaluate their processes and investigate technology that facilitates remote working. While some companies have struggled, others have quickly adapted to this new style of working.

Now more than ever, we’re more connected to our colleagues, prospects, customers and suppliers via cloud phone systems and communications. As cloud communication experts, we’ve been implementing software and tools to help our staff work efficiently. We’ve also helped advise businesses and supported them with our services to help them stay connected and better equipped in these scenarios. Here’s a few thoughts on what’s worked and what hasn’t.

The power of the phone

While today’s digital age has given us more options for how to communicate, the phone still remains the preferred method of communication for businesses. Often overlooked for video and live chat, being available by phone is crucial for business operations – whether you’re in the office or not.

This is where cloud phone systems have really come into their own during lockdown. Having access to systems like 3CX (a modern, software-based PBX) and Microsoft Teams helped make the transition to remote working easier and less disruptive. Having the ability to run audio meetings, make phone calls with a click of a button and send instant messages to one another has ensured that businesses are functioning normally, even when staff are working from their kitchen tables, bedrooms and living rooms.

Businessman hand using mobile phone with digital layer effect as business strategy concept

 

Unifying communications

Regularly communicating with colleagues is vital to keep a business up and running. We’ve found that combining strong unified communications platforms has helped both our staff and customers stay productive and connected with one another.

Platforms like Microsoft Teams, Skype, Slack and Zoom have seen a significant rise this year but its Microsoft Teams which has seen the biggest growth, having hit 75 million global daily active users this year. It occupies a prominent space on the desktop and good integrations with other Microsoft products. Users also appreciate its familiar look and feel.

It hasn’t quite got the full feature set of a PBX but coupled with 3CX it’s a force to be reckoned with. Of course, if you’re happy with the built-in features and don’t need reporting or call recording then you should consider Direct Routing as an alternative to Microsoft’s restrictive call plans.

 

Managing productivity

Task management software like Trello and Jira have helped many organisations – including ours – stay on track and productive while working away from the office environment. These types of platforms allow teams to see upcoming tasks and deadlines, keeping them on track, organised and accountable. We’ve found that our colleagues feel more connected as they can see what everyone is working on and dive into the detail whenever they need to.

There’s still no substitute for getting teams together and working collaboratively but if you can’t be there in person then these tools definitely help keep projects on track.

However what Trello and Jira don’t do is take the pressure off your teams by digitising and automating routine tasks and processes. You can free up your teams time and ease the pressures on communication by making sure your business operations are fully digitally enabled, important documents can be produced easily and faultlessly and even automate compliance and guidance.   As you digitise more of your business then you will see its overall cadence increase as routine work happens almost instantaneously.

 

double exposure of businessman or salesman handing over a contract on wooden desk

How COVID-19 has changed us

We crave human contact and socialisation. Lockdown has made this more difficult than ever. Being away from the office has interrupted many business processes, including the simple act of speaking to work colleagues face to face.  Digitisation of those processes with platforms like AUTTO can help of course.

Companies where employees work together well and interact regularly are the ones that succeed. Having a good line of communication with colleagues helps organisations run as normal and ensures there isn’t a loss of productivity or business.

Software like 3CX and Microsoft Teams has helped us work together and stay connected. We’ve found that lockdown has made us more connected than ever because we (and our customers) are now really making the most of these tools.

Video calls have been a breakthrough for business communications. As regular users of Teams, we’ve taken full advantage of the video conferencing and virtual meeting capabilities of the platform. They’re easy to setup, manage, chat and share files seamlessly in one forum. With lockdown and the lack of human interaction, looking at the people you’re talking to makes everything easier and let’s face it, more normal and less boring during isolation.

How do you select the right automation software for your business?

So, you’ve decided to automate, congratulations! This is the first step towards changing your life and running your business. Yes, automation will literally change your life, for the better, of course. No more repetitive tasks that you don’t enjoy. Now you can focus on what really adds value to your business. The ultimate aim of automating is turning processes which take hours of your time into process which take minutes or seconds of your time, right?

But, how do you choose the right software for your business? Here’s a couple of things you need to consider before selecting the right fit.

 

What needs automating and why? 

It’s prudent to start by asking the following questions:

  • Where are your businesses choke points – what is talking up the most of your teams time?
  • What processes need performance enhancement – which processes need more accuracy and accountability?
  • What problems need to be solved – this will determine what functionality you require and it will also test if your processes are working optimally even before you automate them.
  • Which repetitive tasks need automating?

These questions may seem obvious but it’s a necessary exercise in order to understand exactly what functionality is required.

You can also ask your employees what they think, ask them what they need help with. User buy-in is a very important aspect to any change in processes.

 

Usability and integration 

You want to choose automation that’s easy and intuitive to use and ensure that it integrates smoothly with existing software applications you may be using. All systems need to work together to ensure that workflow is not disrupted or made more complicated.

 

Using artificial intelligence (AI) 

Be careful not to confuse Artificial Intelligence (AI) with Intelligent Process Automation (IPA). Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) is different to AI. IPA is software used for highly repetitive and predictable tasks and takes instructions from workflows set up by individuals using logical language.   It is rules-based, so IF THAT THEN THIS.

AI is how computer systems use data to imitate human intelligence and reasoning, making the system able to learn, predict and make recommendations.  This is done by using lots of data to train the system to recognise the pattern you are looking for.   For example, using lots of photos of cats that have been tagged as Cat to train the system to recognise cat pictures.  This is called a training set.  So AI is pattern-based, and you need the training data to set it up.    That’s a big commitment.

 

Customising your automation software 

A one-size-fits-all solution might not be adequate for your business, so it’s a good idea to select automation software that is highly customisable. What’s great about automation software providers is that most will allow you to trial the software solution before making a decision.

Some more things to think about before you sign on the dotted line:

  • Make sure that when you choose a solution provider that they are available to guide you and offer you the best possible customer service once implemented.
  • Make sure the software has an intuitive user interface and navigation, so that no special skills or training are necessary to run it.
  • Make sure you choose a partner that helps you consider issues like security and quality control.
  • A good solution provider will also guide you on how to scale your software solutions as your business grows.
  • Does the software allow remote access, so that you’re online anywhere, anytime?
  • Does the software offer cloud capabilities and remote cloud access?
  • Does the software offer a mobile capability?
  • How much money do you have to invest?

These are just a few of the many considerations before finding the right solution. AUTTO is here to help you discover the right fit for your business!

Contact us now to find out how to take your business to the next level.

The 5-Minute Guide to Business Automation.

A comprehensive guide to help your business improve productivity with process automation.

What is business automation?

When people ask me what I do, I tell them I build software that makes business automation easy. They smile, nod politely, and put me down as doing something with computers. They don’t know what I am talking about. And yet they should. Not because they should be interested in me (though that would be nice) but because automation is one of the three technological As transforming business today: automation, analytics and artificial Intelligence. There are many different names for business automation, namely: business process automation, digital automation, intelligent process automation, digital transformation or robotic process automation. As you can see it’s an ever-expanding list of jargon. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE.org) are writing the dictionary of automation (https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8070671). They call business automation ‘Software-based Intelligent Process Automation’. Their definition is a tortured piece of English that has clearly been written by a committee of engineers after too much coffee: ‘A preconfigured software instance that combines business rules, experience-based context determination logic, and decision criteria to initiate and execute multiple interrelated human and automated processes in a dynamic context. The goal is to complete the execution of a combination of processes, activities, and tasks in one or more unrelated software systems that deliver a result or service with minimal or no human intervention.’   businessman hand working with modern technology and digital layer effect as business strategy concept-1 It’s an accurate technical definition, but it is the kind of writing that makes people’s eyes glaze over. Wikipedia’s shot at the same job (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_process_automationis a lot more comprehensible. ‘Business process automation (BPA), also known as business automation or digital transformation, is the technology-enabled automation of complex business processes. It can streamline a business for simplicity, achieve digital transformation, increase service quality, improve service delivery or contain costs.’ However, I think we can be even simpler than that. My definition is: ‘Business automation is getting software to do some work so that humans don’t have to.’

Why automate?

Human beings are good at dealing with highly variable situations where subtle judgement, complex communication and understanding human emotions are critical. Conversely, people are poor at doing repetitive, rule-based tasks accurately. Human beings enjoy novelty, they find repetitive work boring. So work slows, errors creep in, and employees try to find a job doing something more interesting. Automation software loves the work that people hate. It is good at speed, repetition and accuracy. Implementing automation can reduce the time spent on tasks by 75% to 99% depending on the level of human involvement, and this has obvious business implications for reducing costs. It is perhaps less clear, but equally vital that it can also increase the tempo at which your business operates. As software completes tasks within seconds instead of hours or days then cues staff or another automation to begin the next task, then the overall pace at which your business responds increases. It is not only the amount of time that a member of your team spends doing a task (time spent) that can drop to near zero, but also that the ‘time elapsed’ between when a job was requested, and when it is completed drops rapidly. As your customers (both internal and external) are becoming more used to an ‘Amazon Prime’ business culture of immediate fulfilment, then the ability to deliver quickly is a competitive edge.   christopher-gower-m_HRfLhgABo-unsplash

How do I implement business automation in my business?

Automation software is now available for use in use all sorts of contexts. The business context for automation varies both by the volume of runs of a process and the type of technology that is currently being used to do the job. The possible software solutions for these contexts are different though, of course, the same company may encounter one or more of these situations. You need to select the right type of software for your business situation.

High volume, currently using enterprise software applications (bespoke ERP applications)

If you are a large business seeking to automate processes operating at a high volume of repetition and involving multiple existing computer systems, then you should be looking at robotic process automation software. Crucially this software is designed to enable automation without wholesale replacement of a business’ existing software systems. The leading providers in this category are Automation Anywhere, UI Path and Blue Prism. These are intricate pieces of software which have capabilities in API integration, desktop automation (software pretending to be a human on your existing systems) and increasingly AI. Typically implementations cost low hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars and involve a tech team or implementation partner.

Low to high volume, currently using standard desktop and cloud software (MS Office, email, CRMs)

It never ceases to amaze me the number of processes in sophisticated businesses that are still managed by people using spreadsheets as a database, MS Word for documents, email and then cut and paste between them. Importantly this is work that is not currently handled within existing enterprise software, though it may need to be triggered or provide information to it. Typically this kind of work has been done by people because the cost of automation is too high and the processes unique to a particular business. However, the use of cloud-based low-code (simple scripting) and no-code (drag and drop) automation platforms means that companies can build, operate and support an automated system with non-technical staff and budgets from a few thousand dollars a year. It has opened intelligent automation up to companies that could not previously afford this kind of tech. Typically the platforms in this space have a lot of flexibility and yet also allow control, audit trail and monitoring and allocating tasks to human beings. These systems will typically automate document production, calculations, task allocation, approvals, data transformation, integrations and updating records. It is also worth distinguishing this kind of automation software from project and business process management platforms like Asana and Monday.com. These help you manage the allocation of work to employees but don’t automate the work itself.  Separately, there are many cloud-based, software platforms focusing on automating marketing (Hubspot is the leader) and accounting (Receipt Bank, for example).   Two colleages discussing ideas using a tablet computer

Low to medium volume, currently using no software or standard cloud software (Gsuite, online CRMs)

The entry point to automation when you have very low or no budget is software like Zapier and IFTTT (short for If That Then This). These online packages act as integrators linking many different cloud-based software services together – a Google form triggers the creation of a CRM entry and the sending of an email, for example.   Boot-strapping entrepreneurs and small businesses have created remarkably inventive combinations of applications that can automate whole products. However, the interface, control, data governance and security issues are much trickier to manage, so it is less suitable as a business matures and grows.

Automation is accessible

Just over ten years after the automation revolution began, automation is now available to businesses of all sizes and all technical abilities. Now is the time to begin looking at how you can start the digitisation and automation of your business operations.
  1. Pick the scope of the automation project – look for your most obvious pain point
  2. Select the right context from the list above
  3. Examine your vendor choices
  4. Consider PoC or trial

Transforming Your SME With Automation.

Helping enterprises keep up!

Leveraging automation to lower operational costs, reduce delays and errors, improve employee engagement, and boost customer satisfaction can be a game-changer for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Optimising your workforce increases profits

A study conducted by Harvard Business review found that 71 per cent of managers feel employee engagement is one of the most important factors in overall organisational success. When a company automates repetitive and time-consuming tasks, employees can spend less time on basic administrative tasks and more time on strategic tasks. This encourages employees to be more productive and engaged, directly linking to business success and increased profits.

Adapting to seasonal ebbs and flows in business

One way that automation can help businesses grow is to help manage the seasonal spikes and troughs that can be especially challenging for SMEs. In addition to allowing staff the time to engage in tasks that help the business grow, automating routine tasks can lessen the need to hire additional staff during busy times, only to let them go when business slows down.

Enhancing management

Automating repetitive management and operational tasks can give managers the time to inspire, lead, and develop a strategic vision for achieving sustainability in your business. As with all staff, more fulfilled managers are more likely to be better leaders and role models.

Minimising human error and ensuring compliance

When a system for a process is set up once, then automated, the opportunity for human error is greatly reduced. This can greatly improve accuracy of your systems and data.

Improving customer support

According to a 2018 survey by Hubspot research, 80% of customers expect a response within 24 hours while 60% expect it to come within 10 minutes or less. By automating the processes needed to provide this service, SMEs can keep up, or even surpass their customers’ expectations.

Keep it simple

Even though SMEs do not have the resources of large corporations, that does not mean that they can’t afford automation. In fact, it generally means the opposite, that they can’t afford not to automate. The key, though, is to keep it simple.

Streamline your goals

Before setting up any automated system, it’s helpful to conduct an audit of the processes that would lend themselves to automation. Look at the tasks staff members spend the most time on. When you find a task that has elements that are repeated frequently, you have found an opportunity for automation.

For example, perhaps your staff is spending a lot of time manually sending out the same document. This task will have several elements that can be automated, freeing employees to spend time on the tasks that cannot be automated.

Ease of use breeds success

Business automation doesn’t mean that everything in your business will be automated. You can start off as small as you’d like, trying out different automation practices and seeing what works for you. Choose a system that is intuitive and easy to learn, for example, AUTTO’s automation workflows can be built by simply dragging and dropping actions into one process that can have as few, or as many steps as you need.

What do clients want that legal tech can solve?

What do clients want?

It’s easy to assume that clients hire law firms for their expertise, but a  research study by Salesforce in 2018 shows that reputation is not enough. According to this study, when clients pay for a service they aren’t just buying the end result. What they are really looking for is a good client experience. It doesn’t matter how large or small the client’s company is, or how much business they generate for you. They want to feel that their unique needs are recognised and addressed by a firm that understands implicitly what is at stake and can act upon that to create the best outcome.

These needs are often at odds with another requirement that seems to contradict the desire for personalised service: value for money. The question remains: what do clients consider “value for money,” and how can law firms sell their specialised expertise in a way that serves clients best while delivering the value they expect?

How do clients measure value for money?

It goes without saying that legal clients want a positive outcome. They also want fast service from a firm that makes them feel that their business is important. When a firm meets these objectives, is this enough to satisfy the client lust for “value for money?”

If the bottom line is not improved, then the answer is no.

The legal marketplace is more competitive now than ever before. Professional services such as accounting firms, alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) and even clients’ in-house legal teams are now competing with law firms and driving down the cost of legal services.  At the same time, the cost of hiring a law firm continues to rise. According to law.com the price of hiring a law firm increased by 130% between 1996 and 2018, well above inflation.

It’s clear that it is time to innovate or be left behind.  Take, for example, the repetitive, low-value tasks that clients don’t expect to pay for. They are often vital to client work and business administration but do valuable (and expensive) staff members need to do these tasks? Automation can do this work quickly and efficiently, allowing staff the time to give clients that individualised attention they expect, while lowering the cost of providing these services.

Clients want outstanding service

Quick service delivered at a lower cost is not worth much if it does not provide what clients need. This is where law firms have an advantage over other services providing legal services. The right technology, combined with the subject matter expertise of a skilled lawyer can provide the best possible scenario for clients because the more your technology does for you, the more time you have to add value to your services. In short, automation can give you more time to think about and approach issues that are important to your clients..

Lawyers can also gain from automation and the extra time it provides.. New recruits do not undertake years of study to spend their working days doing menial administrative tasks. Therefore, the increased opportunity to engage in meaningful, client-facing work results in better employee satisfaction. This opportunity to focus on high-value work increases employee retention, giving your firm a greater overall level of skill, experience, and institutional knowledge, which benefits both the firm and its clients. It’s genuinely a win-win situation.

The point, of course, isn’t to use technology for everything, nor is it to replace lawyers with technology. It’s to find the best ways that people and technology can share the workload to provide the best outcome for lawyers, staff and clients, alike.

NEW WEBINAR!

An Intro To AUTTO

How to Automate a Complex Process without Writing a Line of Code

  • Date: 31 March 2022
  • Time 14:00 BST
  • Host: Ian Gosling, Founder of AUTTO

Hi there,

AUTTO is a no-codebusiness and document automation platform. No-code means you can build tailor-made automated processes without having to be a developer.

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