Automation has become an integral part of most businesses, especially for the large and established ones. With even the startups considering automation as an integral part of their capital planning, business software like ERPs has a long way to go in the market.
Till recently, small businesses were managing the bare minimum automation using MS Excel which is a powerful business automation tool. MS Excel, which even a toddler now knows how to use, has been an integral part of business automation in its bare essentials.
For someone who knows how to program in Excel can very well create a small automation tool of it which can be used by a small venture.
With the availability of business automation software like ERPs, Excel has been shown its way out now. People are able to get more complex data analytics within the click of a few buttons using business automation software.
Business automation software – where all does it hit?
If you are wondering which type of business can automation software become useful, think the opposite – where all does it become not usable? In the current scenario, one cannot think of a business without software that maps with its processes.
This makes every process accountable in terms of money and effort. Automation provides you with complex yet significant data analytics and helps in strategic decision making.
It helps establish a clear hierarchical approval system and also records each and every process happening in the business. This real-time and historical data are used for analytics which is very powerful way to influence management decision making.
Business process automation covers all aspects of a business, from accounting and sales to inventory and customer relations. Now companies have come up with unique methods to capture timesheet of the employees which will be the single entry to be used as a basis for important management decisions such as Performance Appraisal and Cost-effectiveness of the employee.
This is only one instance of business automation. Accounting, Sales, Payroll, Purchases, Inventory, Budgeting and all other business processes are involved in the integrated business automation software such as an ERP which provides seamlessly integrated data which requires only one-time entry.
How do they help in managing the businesses better?
Business automation software uses existing data to communicate with the customers, employees and other stakeholders through the various business reports they access.
Budgeting is made possible with historic data and the real-time data is used for various data analytics of the present time. Here are some of the major advantage businesses enjoy because of automation software:
1. One time data-entry – With ERP software or integrated software, a single entry is reflected in all related modules automatically. For example, a sales entry will automatically reflect the inventory, salesman and accounts at the minimum.
2. Accurate data handling – Since there’s only single entry, which is well-validated for the bounds, the data entered is more accurate. For example, if a sales of $1000 has happened and the sales entry is for $1000, it will not reflect as $100 or $10000 in other modules.
3. Accounting and Financials made easy – Most of the accounting data is automatically derived from the integrated modules. There’s very little to be manually entered like the bank interest and other external entries which are not covered by the various modules. Financial Reports are also available in the required format which makes the life of accountants easier.
4. Inventory tracking made easy – Since the purchase and sales modules are automated, the system will always have the actual inventory. As set by the various business requirements, reorder level and quantity will be alerted and maintained by the system. The system will make sure that the stock levels are maintained optimally.
5. Purchasing and Invoicing directly linked to accounts – All purchases and sales made through the system will reflect in the accounts directly.
6. Managing Customer Relations made easy – With the vast customer database and their buying behaviour available in the system, the ERPs come up with various recommendations on the sales trends and on improving the customer relations. Better customer relations result in more satisfied customers who would further add more customers to the company’s clientele.
7. Employees and Skill database well managed – Employee or Talent Management is a big task as far as large organizations are concerned. Automation of HR management makes the task a cakewalk with the right software.
8. Payroll automated and synced to Accounts – Since the payroll is also automated, the system keeps track of the leaves, taxes etc. and calculates the salary payable to each employee for each month.
This is automatically posted to their accounts and the company’s accounting software which remove a huge overhead for large businesses involving more than a 200 employees.
9. Integrated Reports – Since all the data can be accessed by other modules with proper authority, purchase cost, the cost of sales and cost of accounting overheads all kinds of data can be easily accessed by the management.
10. Cross-relations (among various department) made clearer – With integrated data available, how employees cost to the sales and how sales cost to the accounts will be clearly available in the management reports.
11. More accurate projections are available – Management Information Reports that show various data analytics including the trends and projections can be used for decision making.
Simple reports that showcase the shortfalls in sales pitching or inventory can be availed every week to make sure everything is well under control.
Any variations from the plans will be projected or alerted to the supervisor and the management and the corrective action can be promptly taken.
In many ways, business automation software is a big boon to the established and emerging businesses. Now with cloud computing, businesses no longer have to invest a huge amount in purchasing and implementing the software in their business premises.
Instead, they can access these from even remote locations using a browser which makes life simpler for everyone involved.