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4 Common Misconceptions About Process Automation

Workflow automation is a term that elicits a variety of responses depending on who you talk to. Teams with experience will tell you how embracing automation software increases efficiency and productivity in their organization. As an innovative business leader, you will listen because the alternative is succumbing to some of the common myths associated with workflow automation.

It’s time to put these misconceptions to rest, and discover how automation can help streamline a company’s workflows. Let’s debunk four common automation myths together.

1. Automation is too technical for me to understand.

While automation depends on technology, you don’t need a computer science degree to adopt it. In the early days of business automation, tools tended to be technical, overly-customized and installed on-site – which meant you needed a technical understanding and large implementation projects.

Now, that’s not the case. Cloud-based automation tools are less expensive, easier to use, and can be implemented quickly and easily without consultants or an IT degree. Some tools offer a no-code design to enable any user to easily build and deploy workflows without asking IT for help. Great automation software will be supported by the vendor, but it won’t be required!

2. It’s too expensive – especially for my small business.

Many business owners see the benefits of automation, but fail to give it a second thought because they don’t think they can afford it. Let’s think about it another way.

Manual processes are expensive, creating hefty office supply expenses as well as leaving significant room for human error. Slow manual processes also lead to a lagged return on investment as contracts and other documents slowly move through the appropriate workflows.

Forrester Consulting recently conducted an economic impact study on workflow automation and found that the return on investment over three years was 176% with a payback period of 10.5 months! Automation tools expedite business processes, reduce paper costs, and put money into your pocket faster. The price? Well, it just depends on the product.

While some solutions can be rather pricey, others offer unique pricing models that make it much more affordable for clients. For example, OnTask prices based on usage instead of user, and also offers the option to purchase a never-expiring “bucket” of transactions. This allows companies to incrementally automate at a comfortable speed or automate across departments all at once.

3. Automation will take my job.

It’s not an accurate prediction that automation tools will replace most human workers. Automation removes repetitive “request and fulfill” tasks, and allows employees to focus on more important duties, leaving your staff more productive and your budget more effective.

The Samanage State of Work Survey revealed that workers spend an average of 520 hours a year on repetitive tasks such as new employee onboarding, contract review, approvals and supply requests. That’s more than one day of work per week for an entire year! When all of these repetitive services are automated, your company can save time and money. It can even make jobs more meaningful instead of eliminating them.

4. Everything is fine, so I shouldn’t bother changing.

The processes you have work just fine, and you don’t want to mess that up. I get it. Even if you believe your current processes are top notch, it is worthwhile to sit down and evaluate them on a regular basis to ensure that you’re operating efficiently and everyone is following them.

According to a recent study by IDC, companies lose 20-30% of revenue every year due to inefficiencies or mistakes in their process. A major indicator of success is how well your company can adapt to a rapidly evolving business landscape, and unfortunately, dated processes can hold you back.

Automation tools are easily customizable, providing you with flexibility and allowing you to readjust quickly in response to customer needs. Begin by automating one repetitive process to get a peek into how automation tools can give your processes a boost.

All in all, the myths surrounding workflow automation are rooted in understandable misunderstandings. From a distance, automation tools may seem like pricey add-ons sent from the future to steal human jobs. But, when you look more closely, it’s clear to see that workflow automation is here to help streamline processes and make employees’ lives easier.