Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are in a difficult position. On the one hand, they must make do with limited resources. On the other hand, the expectations of their customers are, to a large extent, shaped by large enterprises with massive budgets and access to top talent.
To remain competitive and meet their customers’ growing expectations, SMBs must optimize their processes so they can do more work and provide a better quality of service. The solution? Automation.
Automation Is Becoming Essential for Survival
Businesses can’t afford to sit still because the world is changing at a rapid pace, and only those who adapt and remain at the forefront of innovation get to enjoy long-term financial prosperity.
Not too long ago, the most important factor determining the future of small and medium-sized businesses was their willingness to switch from paper-based to digital processes. Today, it’s virtually impossible to find a successful small business that doesn’t depend on digital technology for its success.
But just because all businesses use digital technology doesn’t mean that it no longer provides a competitive advantage. It certainly can—it all depends on how it’s used.
New research from Norwalk, CT-based Xerox indicates that up to 80 percent of organizations believe that automation is essential for their survival.
Another research, published by Redwood Software and conducted by technical content provider Vanson Bourne makes it clear why so many SMBs consider automation to be so important.
According to this research, 79 percent of SMBs said automation delivered time savings, 69 percent cited improved business productivity as the key benefit of automation, and 61 percent said automation regularly provided cost savings.
Clearly, automation can help SMBs be more competitive by allowing them to accomplish more with less resources, which is why the global robotic process automation market is expected to reach a whopping $13.74 billion by 2028, up from just $1.6 billion in 2020.
There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Automation
Just because there are many business automation solutions that just about any small and medium-sized business can implement doesn’t mean that doing so is a good idea.
When it comes to business automation, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach because all SMBs rely on different processes, have different needs, and have different relationships with digital technology.
Still, there are some business areas where automation can be hugely rewarding:
These examples of how SMBs can apply automation to become more efficient and, as a result, more competitive merely scratch the surface of what’s possible with today’s digital technology.
Getting Started with Automation Is Easy
Business process automation may seem to require highly technical skills and ongoing IT support, but that’s not really the case anymore.
These days, there are many off-the-shelf solutions that can be used by small businesses with all kinds of technical abilities to automate business processes without writing a single line of code.
One excellent example is Microsoft Power Platform, which includes Power BI (business analytics service with data visualization capabilities), Power Apps (a solution that makes it possible to quickly build custom business apps), Power Automate (low-code business process automation application), and Power Virtual Agents (a platform for building powerful chatbots).
Microsoft Power Platform integrates with Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Azure, and hundreds of other apps, giving businesses endless flexibility to automate in a way that suits them the most.
If you would like to learn more about Microsoft Power Platform and other business process automation solutions that can help your organization become more competitive, then contact us at Aligned Technology Solutions, and we’ll help you make modern technology work for you.