Utilizing automation and artificial intelligence to optimize your business

Automation and artificial intelligence (A.I.) can provide your business the opportunity to improve the efficiency of processes and ultimately better customer experiences when interacting with your product or service. It’s important to stay ahead of the “digital curve” to meet the increasing demands of customers.

What is automation?

Automation involves augmenting manual, human-powered functions, and processes with an automatic system, often utilizing technology. In the context of business, here are some of the areas that companies can benefit from automating: 

  • Repetitive tasks – employees can save time by automating a range of time-consuming tasks such as scheduling, sorting emails, paying bills, tracking news, data entry, proofreading documents, and more
  • Data analysis and reporting – more complex data-related tasks including analysis, preparation, and insight can be completed more efficiently with automation  
  • Marketing – automation can also be used to reach targeted consumers utilizing email, web, social media, and other platforms. Once a digital marketing campaign has been developed, automation can effectively implement it

By automating the appropriate areas, employees can be freed up to focus more on productive functions. 

One analysis by McKinsey found that 45 percent of all work activities could be automated by utilizing existing technology. Automation is a worthwhile support tool for your business and team members, providing value-added work and an increase in overall productivity and growth.

What is artificial intelligence?

optimizing your business with artificial intelligence

Supporting human-powered tasks with an automated system often involves the use of artificial intelligence (A.I.). A.I. is leveraging technology to learn, analyze, and perform tasks to streamline decision making, enhance customer experience, and improve processes. Whether it’s the self-checkout kiosk at your grocery store or the customer service chat function on a retailer’s website, businesses across all industries are adopting forms of A.I. to supplement their operations.

How can you best utilize automation and A.I. to improve your business?

One of the first things a business looking to automate should do is identify areas in which processes can be improved. What aspects of your business process are the most time consuming or have the most human error involved? What tasks involve lots of repetition? Talk with employees in each department to gain a good understanding of what processes can be improved. Automation can be as simple as using Google Forms to handle PTO requests, for example. For more advanced tasks, there are several applications and IT software systems that can help you accomplish your goals.

Once you’ve identified the areas of your business that can be improved by automation, you’ll need to choose the right technology to accomplish your goals. Examples of tools that can be useful include Salesforce (sales and email automation), Google Data Studio (reporting), Microsoft 365 (project management, onboarding, automating workflows), Sprout Social or Hootsuite (social automation), and QuickBooks (accounting automation). 

Start with one area that will be a quick win for your employees and business. Your team will build confidence, grow their skillset, and will want to continue to implement more solutions that lead to lasting improvements.  

At Westfield Bank, our priority is your business’s success and longevity and we’re dedicated to sharing knowledge that can empower your business’s growth.

Watch our Sharing Knowledge Series episode on digital transformation, to learn more ways to apply technology and innovation strategies to your operations.