5 Use Cases for Business Automation

Computer and Note Pad Using Business Automation Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Automation should be top of mind for any business. It doesn’t matter if your business has 5 employees or 5,000 employees. Every business from a growing start-up to an established enterprise should use business automation solutions for their everyday workflow. 

Any process you can automate will save time, making room for you and your employees to focus on the more important tasks at hand. There are many ways you can use software to automate your business. Each case varies depending on each company and industry. We compiled a list of the automation solutions we develop most often so you can identify these potential bottlenecks in your own workflow. 

Customer Feedback and Reports

Generating reports, processing documents, and sending forms to clients can become a tedious task. Many times the same set of data needs to be imported into multiple documents, and copy and pasting take over.

When it comes to documentation, especially anything involving important data or financials, accuracy is critical. But, human error is inevitable with excessively repeated tasks. By integrating automation using simple APIs or custom software, you are able to eliminate steps in the process. When you streamline these processes, accuracy is increased because there is less opportunity for mistakes to be made.

Our team recently worked on a project where a customized reporting solution was needed. The company wanted to streamline its reporting by sending out automated quarterly and annual releases to clients. Our developers created a custom web app that imported specific sets of data from QuickBooks and compiled them into customer reports. Instead of manually calculating each report and sending them off, the team now is able to create a report, review the data, and send off each document with just a few clicks. With just one simple automation process, the company saved hours of time and made their customers happy with timely and accurate reports.

Eliminate Steps, Save Time, and Improve Accuracy

With any task completed within the workday, there is a chance that mistakes will be made. It doesn’t matter if it was a simple typo or a miscalculation, with each error there is potential for an unhappy customer and time or money lost. 

Even just implementing a simple API or tool like Zapier will compound time saved by employees and increase accuracy in tasks. By making simple app connections that you toggle through daily, employees can quickly run through their tasks with a streamlined process. By slowly integrating more streamlined processes in the workday, productivity begins to increase. An automated company runs smoothly and efficiently.

When we use automation, we are able to focus on more important tasks that a computer or software system can’t do, like talking to customers or creating valuable content. It also allows workers to stay in work mode and not worry about pivoting tasks and disrupting workflow.

Improve Standard Operating Procedures

Every business has standard operating procedures that they work from, some more defined than others. On their own, these are a form of automation, but you can also streamline each process to make them more efficient. 

SOP’s improve performance because they are an established routine that employees can count on and use repeatedly. Having these outlined and known are important so they can be easily found and followed. You can use standard operating procedures in any part of a company, from onboarding to your sales cycle. 

To automate your SOP’s, you first need to define the processes that are commonly performed throughout your business. Then take a look at what steps are slowing down the procedures and how you can speed up that process. By implementing automation in these tasks that are commonly performed throughout your company, you can further streamline.

Improve Training Experience and Ramp Time

There will always be a learning curve and slower integration time for new employees. This can be slightly offset this by using automation techniques. According to GlassDoor, having a streamlined employee onboarding process can improve retention rates by 82%, yet most of us still have work to do. Many new hires have to engage in activities like setting up an email or signing papers. This can be sped up by automating certain tasks like auto-filling documents.

This can also be used in training with current employees. New processes and systems will be adopted over time in your business, and automating the training experience will get employees back to work faster. By speeding up the rate of productivity and ramp time, your employees will feel valued and fulfilled.

Enhance Customer Onboarding and Conversions

Similar to onboarding new hires, the more efficient your customer onboarding process is, the better your company will perform. The more steps you can take out of the pipeline, the quicker you can deliver results and the more customers you can take on. 

Quicker conversions ultimately equal more money flowing through your pipeline. It is important to still balance this process so new customers have interaction with your company contacts as well as your automated processes. Business is all about balance and taking time to show your customers that you care during onboarding is crucial.

These are just 5 examples of how to use business automation practices in your company, but this is just the start. If you are interested in getting more information on the basics of Automation, check out our Automation 101 blog post. If marketing and sales are your specialties, we also detailed How to Automate your Sales Funnel

How can Software Harmonics, LLC Help with Automation?

Every business is different, and out-of-the-box software options aren’t always an option. Our team knows how to streamline any business process to automate your workday. Efficiency and productivity are top priorities in our company, and we can get yours up to speed too. 

Looking to automate? Let’s set up a discovery call and make it happen!

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How to Budget Time and Money for Your Web Application

Photo of Remote Workspace for Web Application Photo by Dan Dimmock on Unsplash

We understand that committing to building a web app can be daunting, and to be honest, the budgeting process isn’t easy to navigate the first time around. We would know, we’ve done it ourselves! But we are here to guide you through the process as best as we can. With the right information and a strong team, creating a budget for your web application can be an enjoyable process.

Why do I need to budget for my Web Application?

Web apps are custom made from beginning to end, so each one is going to have a different price tag and timeline. A web app isn’t something you can just pick off a shelf. It requires hours of planning and work, and it often changes as it goes along. Because of this, web apps don’t have a one price fits all model. 

Think of it like buying a car. If you asked someone, “How much is a car?”, you would get a million different responses. A Ferrari and a beat-up 2001 Toyota Camry are going to have very different price tags. Do you want leather seats and a heated steering wheel? This is going to add to the price! For this same reason, web apps have a lot of different factors that go into determining the budget. 

If you googled ‘How much is a web app?’, you would get answers ranging anywhere from $5,000- $200,000. Similarly, the time frame will also vary anywhere from 2-12 months. This varies based on the complexity of the app, the team developing it, the location of the developers, the number of end-users, and the time frame for development. 

Having a budget for your web application is very important so you can plan accordingly. You don’t want to be surprised throughout the process, and you want to know the timeline of your development as well. Start by figuring out your priorities. 

How do I budget for my Web Application?

Design a Roadmap

When we begin to work with you to develop a web app, the first thing we do is sit down and talk with you about your vision for your web app. This allows us to understand your expectations, and you to better understand our processes. From here, we can plan out mission-critical goals to use as guideposts and checkpoints on your development timeline. It is always important to add a little bit of padding to your time frame to add flexibility. We never expect things to happen, but it is better to overestimate than underestimate! 

Create a Timeline for Your MVP

Once we have a vision for the project, we can start to get detailed with the timeline. We normally start by planning the production of a minimum viable product so you can use the bare bones and then re-evaluate after using your web app. After that, we can really get detailed with the design of your product, and then we can refine and test the final web app. Oftentimes, your idea of what you want changes throughout the process. This is normal and to be expected because needs change over time. This is why we use a continuous development model to revisit and refine your goals as we develop your end product, and continue to update your web app as it is used in the future. 

Find the Perfect Fit

Because every company is different, we suggest shopping around and doing a few discovery calls to see who is best suited for you. Everyone is going to have a different process and pricing. Some use developers in house and others outsource their work to different countries. If you prefer your app to be built using a specific or language or system, this could also affect who you choose. Rates can vary based on experience and company reputation. Your first choice may not always be the best for you, and the lowest price isn’t always going to be your best option either. Shop around and weigh the pros and cons as you commit to working with a team!

In general, developing a web app is a flexible process, because it is custom designed from beginning to end. That being said, you should be prepared to be flexible along the way as well. Sometimes the path to success doesn’t look like a straight line, but the end product will be much better because of it!

How does the process work with Software Harmonics, LLC?

At Software Harmonics, LLC, our team uses a continuous development model to work with your vision from beginning to end. From planning and road mapping to prototyping and beta testing, we will use our expertise to guide your project all the way. Our goal is to deliver an update or mission-critical goal of yours biweekly, with plenty of communication in between. 

Our priority is making your vision a reality. Let’s set up a discovery call and make it happen!

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Automation 101

Business Process Automation Solutions on Computer Software Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

Save time and money for your business through Business Process Automation solutions.

What is Automation?

Automation isn’t a new concept. You use it in your day to day life, whether you know it or not. Maybe you used a Keurig to start brewing your coffee before you got up this morning, or your sprinkler system goes off every evening at 6 PM to water your lawn. These processes save us time and stress, and they allow us to allocate energy into more important parts of our day. 

It’s human nature to discover ways to run more efficiently. Solution development is a part of your everyday life as a business, and we understand that this is crucial in order to thrive. The industrial revolution brought on mechanical automation, and the technological revolution has brought us software automation.

Why Should I Automate My Business?

Is your team using spreadsheets, manual timers, or even paper? Are they repeating tedious but important tasks? Are you still sending your client’s paper invoices and receipts?

Then it is time to automate!

BPA, or Business Process Automation, is when you take one of these tasks and implement software to have it done behind the scenes on a schedule aka automatically. 

Software can be created to seamlessly complete repetitive jobs that you are wasting manpower on. This yields higher profit margins and allows employees to focus on the critical tasks that run your business. Automating requires an initial investment, but it pays off in time & efficiency. The question is not if you should automate, it is what you need to automate and when you will implement it. Automation can scale with your business and grow your processes with consistency. 

How Do I Use Business Process Automation Solutions?

Take a look at your daily tasks as a business. Is there a way you can make these jobs simpler and more straightforward? Automation is most easily applied to the tasks that are repetitive and important to your daily business functions. 

Common areas to automate are marketing, customer service, and recruitment. If your business is spending a lot of time marketing, try implementing a marketing system that sends off a set of emails when someone signs up for your email list. If you are putting a lot of energy into new hires, you could create a recruitment system that sorts through potential applicants for you. It could even be as easy as using a system that automatically puts invites from your emails onto your calendar. 

Applying an automated process to your workflow will reduce errors and increase consistency in output. You won’t have to micromanage because you can be confident that the process will be reliable and have a documented outcome. 

How Can Software Harmonics, LLC Help?

At Software Harmonics, LLC, we work with you one on one to create business process automation solutions that simplify your work and take your business to the next level. By integrating automation into your workflow, we can help you increase your team’s efficiency and accuracy. We automate our own processes every day, and we’ve gotten pretty dang good at it. Our team believes every role should have a set of automated processes with a strong feedback interface and easy-to-understand metrics to guide team members to success. We want to do the same for you.

Our priority is making your vision a reality. Let’s set up a discovery call and make it happen!

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