New technologies arrive all the time, but few have had the immediate impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and workplace automation. AI-powered automation tools can streamline workflows and automate repetitive tasks, saving your company time and money. Plus, they can free your team up to focus on other, more engaging responsibilities.
Before you embark on your digital transformation, here’s what you need to know about workplace automation technology and the role it will play in the future of work.
What Is Workplace Automation?
Workplace automation is the practice of using software (and in some cases, hardware) to perform manual tasks that would otherwise need to be completed by a human.
This can range from basic tools that we use every day — such as task management software tools that automatically send out a reminder when a task is due — to more advanced tools that can make decisions and even generate content.
Workplace automation has been around for decades, with traditional tools using simple algorithms to automate routine tasks. Modern tools use machine learning and artificial intelligence to process data and make decisions, giving them even more functionality and promising to transform the future of work.
5 Types of Automation in the Modern Workplace
There are several different types of workplace automation, some of which overlap with each other. It’s common for the same business to use different types of automation for different kinds of tasks. Here are five of the most common types of automation.
Business process automation
Business process automation (BPA) refers to the use of software to automate an entire process, from start to finish. Let’s say you’re a dropshipping company. You could use business process automation to accept and process orders, print out shipping labels, send out delivery estimates and shipping updates, and more.
BPA is a good fit for processes that involve more than one system, since you can link multiple pieces of software together using API integrations.
Robotic process automation
Robotic process automation (RPA) is similar to BPA, but with a narrower focus. RPA relies on “bots,” or pre-built pieces of software that can complete specific tasks. RPA tools can replicate manual tasks, such as data entry, but can’t complete higher-level tasks, such as data processing and decision-making.
RPA runs on the front end of the user interface, while BPA runs on the back end and requires more advanced programming knowledge.
Marketing automation is the use of software to automate key parts of the marketing process, such as posting content on social media or sending out emails. Tools like Mailchimp can automate drip campaigns — a multi-part series of emails — while Hootsuite and Buffer allow you to schedule social media posts in advance.
In addition to reducing your manual workload, these tools make it easy to track the results of your marketing campaigns with real-time metrics.
Human resources automation
Human resources automation can be used to automate everything from onboarding workflows to training and performance management. Employees can get automatic email notifications when something needs their attention, and log into a self-service portal to fill out forms, upload documents, and access employee benefits.
More advanced HR automation tools can use artificial intelligence to review resumes, rank candidates, and streamline the recruiting and hiring process.
Customer service automation
Customer service automation applies similar practices to technical support and other customer service interactions. Help desk and ticketing software can streamline ticket resolution workflows, while customer relationship management (CRM) software can automate lead generation and lead scoring.
Artificial intelligence has a role to play here too, with AI-powered chatbots that can field incoming requests and route them to the appropriate team member.
Benefits of Automation in the Workplace
Workplace automation tools are more than just a nice-to-have addition to the workplace. As more and more companies embrace digital transformation, automating manual tasks and streamlining workflows with AI will be key to managing a modern workplace.
Here are ways automation can reduce your workload and improve your bottom line.
It should be no surprise that automation can save you time and money by turning your most time-consuming tasks into effortless workflows. By automating manual tasks like note-taking, scheduling, and data entry, you’ll spend less time on busywork and more time on the high-impact tasks that add value to your business.
Use one of these 9 process improvement methodologies to determine which of your workflows are most due for a digital transformation.
Reduced human error
Automating repetitive tasks reduces opportunities for human error. Instead of copying and pasting data manually, you can use robotic process automation to do it. Plus, you can use AI to look for patterns and anomalies in your existing data sets, eliminating redundancies and flagging discrepancies.
With fewer mistakes to correct, you’ll have fewer disruptions and can make better decisions based on more accurate data.
Improved employee experience
Workplace automation isn’t just good for your bottom line — it’s great for employee retention. In today’s labor market, employees want to feel like their work is making a difference, and that they aren’t just pushing buttons and crunching numbers. Using automation can make jobs more appealing and improve your company culture.
Workplace Automation Use Cases
Implementing workplace automation for the first time doesn’t have to be a hassle. Many automated systems integrate with the tools that you’re currently using, so you can use them alongside your existing workflows rather than overhaul them completely.
Here are three easy ways to get started with workplace automation technology.
1. Automated meeting software
Workplace automation offers dozens of ways to make productive meetings a reality. From automated meeting notes to full meeting transcriptions, AI-powered tools like Anchor AI can take the hassle out of facilitating and documenting meetings.
Anchor AI’s Quick Prep tool generates meeting agendas automatically, based on the details of your last meeting, and the Topical Summary tool creates an easy-to-read summary of the meeting that you can send out in a follow-up email.
You can also use Anchor AI to take meeting minutes or create a recording of your in-person or virtual meeting for playback later. Anchor AI integrates directly with Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other video conferencing software.
2. Smart scheduling tools
Smart scheduling tools use artificial intelligence to schedule meetings, take bookings, set appointments, and perform other tasks related to time management.
Instead of having to email back and forth to schedule a meeting, smart scheduling tools integrate with your calendar to take your current availability into account. You’ll end up with fewer back-to-back meetings and reduce the risk of scheduling conflicts.
These tools are ideal for remote teams that work in different time zones, but are just as useful for coordinating with clients and other stakeholders. Some scheduling tools also offer time-tracking and automated timesheets so you can track the amount of time it takes to complete a task, log billable hours, and more.
3. Project management AI
If you’ve ever used a task management tool that sends out automatic notifications when a task is due, then you’re familiar with basic workflow automation. But task management tools have been rolling out new AI-powered features, like the ability to add tasks using natural language (i.e., “finish report by Friday”) or add due dates automatically.
When you use Anchor AI as your task manager, you can add tasks before or after your meeting to keep all of your action items in one place. Max, your AI project manager, will identify new action items during the meeting and add them to your to-do list, complete with assignees and due dates based on what you’ve discussed in the meeting.
Project management AI opens up whole new ways to streamline your project, including intelligent scheduling and budgeting options to keep your project management triangle intact. You can even Ask Max questions to get more clarity or insight into your project, such as “How did the meeting go?” or “What should we work on next?”
Automate Project Management With Anchor AI
Workplace automation is the practice of using software to automate manual tasks. You can use workplace automation tools in almost any department, from marketing and HR to project management. Artificial intelligence offers even more advanced functionality, including AI chatbots and AI project managers to keep your project on track.
Anchor AI is a cloud-based tool that helps you level up your project management skills and be a better manager with the help of AI. From note-taking to task tracking, Anchor AI empowers you run more efficient meetings and get more done.
Get started today with a free account and see how Anchor can transform your work life!