Automation in times of crisis: Lockdown requires creativity and a shift in the way we do business


As workers hunker down during lockdown and organisations scramble to continue to provide products and services to their customers, pundits whisper in the background that productivity is going to shrink, that businesses may close and the economy will take a hit. This is possible, but the businesses that thrive will be the ones that are nimble enough to quickly adjust and smart enough to do it efficiently.

It’s time to act quickly
This is a time of challenge, where remote working becomes the new norm and skeleton crews maintain vital on-site services. This means that companies need to quickly adjust to doing more with less. With less resources, less onsite employees, and possibly less customers. SMEs are in survival mode. Now, more than ever, is the time to quickly automate repetitive tasks, so staff can focus on everything else. 

Lockdown requires creativity and a shift in the way we do business. With less resources than large corporations, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can be particularly vulnerable in times of economic uncertainty.  

SMEs have agility on their side
However, SMEs can be agile in a way that larger corporations often can’t. They can make decisions and act on them quickly, shifting focus to fit new circumstances and changing customer needs. 

One thing SMEs don’t have is excess staff. As staffing shrinks, employees are required to work differently, perhaps working off site, or in a different capacity. It becomes vital to discover ways to keep the lights on with less staff intervention.  

Shifting staff focus
This is where business process automation can help. At AUTTO, we often talk about how micro-automation can affect small changes to make a big difference. This means automating the common actions, the actions that are similar in multiple business processes. These processes are often common and always predictable.

In times of crisis, the predictable becomes less common. Staff are called upon to address more variation in customer requests and more exceptions to traditional ways of working. It becomes even more important to automate all of the processes that can be automated so staff have the time and ability to look at the exceptions.

Choosing the right technology
This automation needs to be appropriate, useful and easy to deploy. Here’s a quick rundown of the elements needed to ensure a consistent experience for employees and customers alike: 

The right technology: Ensure your staff have the tools they need to do their jobs as effectively and efficiently as possible. Ideally, these tools will be intuitive and easy to use without the need for lengthy training or additional skills. No-code automation is a vital part of this need.

Seamless access: Staff providing your services need to feel supported and engaged. Providing seamless access to the tools they need to do their jobs can help enable this. Cloud-based technology is vital to providing easy access, without the need for extra equipment, from anywhere with an internet connection.

Culture: Open lines of communication and greater staff visibility can help create a culture of collaboration and trust, improving employee morale and productivity. This can also help to create an inclusive environment for remote workers.

Business as usual: Understand that there is no “business as usual.” As this crisis ends and we return to more traditional ways of working, the systems we implement today could have far-reaching implications for the future of business.

If you would like advice on how to incorporate digital business automation into your firm, feel free to contact us at AUTTO. 


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Topics in this article: Featured Productivity Automation SME business process automation no code automation micro automation

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