Automation: the future, not the fear

There’s no denying the impact that automation will have on the workforce. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, almost half of all jobs are expected to evolve or be made redundant thanks to automation. Our tendency to focus on such negative, and often misleading, statistics distracts us from the numerous positive impact automation is already having — including generating new, skilled roles.

Professional Services Automation (PSA), a software designed to help businesses run their end-to-end processes more efficiently, specifically has a big role to play in modern digital businesses. PSA empowers staff to identify and understand inbound business opportunities, and establish which people should be deployed on which project and when. It also enables users to manage communication and service delivery over the course of a project.

But what are some of the hidden benefits and how is automation already helping businesses and their employees to step into the future of work?

Improving competitiveness through increased efficiency

The business world is becoming increasingly competitive. Regardless of sector, every customer wants services to be delivered to them faster and at a higher quality than ever before. If one company is unable to fulfil these needs, they’ll take their business to a competitor who can. Similarly, from an internal perspective, businesses must be able to disseminate and absorb insights from data quickly so they can be factored into decision making. Given the speed of business today automation provides the most effective solution.

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PSA specifically enables onboarding teams to make quick and correct decisions about taking on new projects by delivering real-time, easy access to data on risk. This means new customers are serviced quickly and compliantly. Meanwhile, the technology helps financial teams handle payments and reconcile books more efficiently. This means margins can be managed and revenue streams recognised, enabling the best strategies for increasing profitability and growing the business to be identified and pursued. The time saved in both instances, through not having to manually generate data, delivers an invaluable advantage. It also creates bandwidth for teams to focus on more creative and analytical jobs, such as identifying trends in data, which can help them predict risk and confidently find solutions.

Empowering businesses to scale up

If you’re a relatively small businesses, manual processes may not take up too much of your workforce’s time. However, in order for companies to scale up, they need to be using their time more efficiently and have end-to-end visibility into how their company is performing. For instance, which business areas are the most profitable and where is there is the greatest opportunity for growth. This degree of visibility can only be achieved through automation. Companies today generate more data than ever before, and for most companies, it’s virtually impossible to aggregate and analyse all indicative data from across the business manually. Not only does automation make this possible for the first time, it means businesses can rip up traditional lengthy planning cycles and instead move to continuous planning where strategic decisions are made and acted on based on live data.

Tackling the skills challenge

One of the most common reservations about implementing automation software is its impact on the workforce. True, PSA changes the role of the employee and failure to upskill staff will result in unemployment and skills gaps. However, if businesses are willing to adopt a system whereby employees continuously receive training, so they have the skills needed to succeed in a digitally-enabled world, this doesn’t need to be a problem. Furthermore, PSA can deliver insight into how staff are performing so talent can be identified and developed.

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Supporting employee wellbeing

In addition to nurturing employee skill sets, PSA can actively improve staff work experiences by ensuring employees aren’t overworked. The software achieves this by identifying who has capacity and redirects work towards them and away from those who are already at their optimum. As a result, each employee receives a manageable workload, reducing staff turnover through burnout, and ensuring the business maintains its most valuable resource – people.

The importance of inclusion and collaboration

Combining automation with the human touch creates numerous benefits for businesses and their employees. Removing time-consuming practices through automation, such as aggregating and reconciling data, enables staff to better and more efficiently serve customers while enhancing their work experiences. All of which contributes to a more prosperous, profitable and scalable business.

Written by Jens Krueger, chief technology officer, Workday

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