How SMEs can reap the benefit of automation

by | Jan 4, 2016

Often it’s tempting to think that only larger companies and organisations can really benefit from the automation of processes. This is far from being the case. As technology becomes more and more an integral part of everything we do, SMEs can reap great benefits from automating their finance, HR and marketing processes.

Some SME’s are reluctant to invest in enterprise software packages for fear of not seeing a noticeable return on their investment. The truth is that automation software can be especially valuable for businesses that don’t have huge resources to invest in manpower. Any investment in this software represents the chance to streamline business processes, making the entire business more efficient. These efficiencies in turn help to improve profitability.

The benefits of finance automation for an SME

Long ago, large organisations began investing in automated finance processes, such as e-invoicing. It made sense for them to be able to streamline what had been complex and cumbersome processes. SME’s were reluctant to join the party as it seemed that the initial outlay was not justified by the potential benefits and returns.

The situation has now changed as many Cloud based solutions now offer more affordable packages that in turn lead to more appetising returns. No longer are SMEs restricted by budgetary considerations; they can now reap the rewards that their larger counterparts have been enjoying. They can adopt automated procedures such as electronic invoicing, employee self-service management and e-procurement. Having all of these processes automated in one place greatly reduces the amount of manpower required and helps to streamline and improve financial processes. It also helps to ensure the accuracy of data and guard against potentially damaging errors.

The benefits of HR automation for an SME

It’s easy to see how automating HR processes can be beneficial to large organisations. It’s essential to be able to keep track of HR issues such as recruitment, absence and performance. When you are dealing with a workforce of thousands of people this becomes an almost impossible task if the processes are not automated.

Think about it though, don’t the benefits apply just as much at SME level; albeit on a slightly different scale. Running a recruitment campaign involves time and effort; both of which are greatly increased if paper based processes are used. An automated campaign is far easier to manage and releases time and manpower to deal with other business issues.

All SME’s rely on the ability, performance and dedication of their staff to help them deliver the best product and secure the best returns. Monitoring that performance is one of the most important aspects of the HR world. If there is a need for training or assistance then it’s vital that need is identified and addressed as soon as possible. Automation of performance measurement enables this to happen. Prompt action helps to reduce the effect that any poor performance may have on productivity and profits.

Arguably the most important benefit of an automated HR system for an SME is the ability for owners and managers to keep track of overall performance and monitor important aspects such as KPIs. All of this is immediately available, with just a couple of clicks, if HR automation software is used.

The benefits of marketing automation for an SME

Technology has led to the increased digitalisation of marketing. This does not just apply in the world of big business, but across the entire business arena. SMEs need to be proactive in all of their marketing, in order to compete. This makes the automation of marketing a valuable investment. Marketing automation software varies in its content, but will often enable solutions including content marketing, CRM, email marketing and SEO tools.

Having this automation at their fingertips helps SME’s to make the content of their communications more relevant, through targeted emails and automatically updated contact lists. It’s also easier to ensure that communications are sent in a timely manner when they are automated. One of the most important benefits of marketing automation is the amount of time and manpower it can potentially save. Both of these valuable commodities can be invested in other vital business activities.

Taking a look at the potential benefits and savings involved in automating all of these processes, you can see how automation in SMEs represents an excellent opportunity. Automating processes enables the business to perform in a more streamlined and efficient manner. There is improved affordability in many of today’s automations solutions. Coupled with the manpower and time savings they can secure, this makes purchasing automation software a financially sound decision for most SMEs.

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