Start by being your own software doctor.
You don’t have to know anything about software to diagnose your pain points. There are automated solutions for a huge variety of business functions, including workplace collaboration, CRM, financial tasks, HR and IT processes
, marketing and communications, customer service, business analytics, and both release and change management.
The solutions are endless, but your budget is not. One of the main purposes of automation is to increase your ROI, so start by determining what workflow processes are costing you the most time and money.
For example, are you losing customers because of poor response time? Maybe it’s time to update your creaky CRM system. How much are delays in product shipment costing you per year? If that’s a pain point, add order processing software to your automation list. Do you have an accounting staff spread out across several offices? If so, take a look at financial software that can manage budgets from a central location and display real-time information to your remote workers.
In addition to looking at budget spreadsheets, talk to department managers to find out about your employees’ sore spots. If they can’t use tools that would make them more productive, you’re losing money you didn’t even know about — and on top of that, you may experience attrition.
If your staff is complaining about endless meetings, for example, a solution like Slack, Flowdock, or Zoho Meeting might help. These systems use “bots” to set up online meetings, sending invitations and asking people questions such as, “What are you working on now,” and “When do you think the project will be complete?” The bots collect responses from everyone simultaneously and share them, creating a conversational thread workers can follow without having to spend time at an in-person round-robin, waiting for their chance to respond.
Customized bots can also deliver progress reports to a project team, or collect performance reviews for the HR department.