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5 Tools to Help You Automate Your Business

5 Tools to Help You Automate Your Business

No matter the size, businesses can be hard to manage, especially with numerous working parts, and high demand for employees and owners to multitask. Unfortunately, this load of work might lead to gaps in certain departments.

This is why many businesses have turned to automation. It’s not only closes skills gaps, but in a recent survey, 91 percent of companies believe automation could transform their operations. However, they don’t know how to do it. To help, here are five tools to help you automate your business.

Software as a Service

Software as a Service (SaaS) isn’t software. Rather, it’s an external team that helps design programs to establish cloud management. SaaS groups also review a company’s infrastructure to determine what programs are needed to grow with the organization, which helps maintain infrastructure automation without large disruptions. There are SaaS companies out there, like Quali, that can help companies of any size with the takeover of administration of programs. As a result, internal IT departments don’t need to have 24/7 on-site support.

Enterprise Resource Planning

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications automate data flow between departments. In addition to that, they also create a workflow that follows a client or project to the very end.

The best thing about an ERP is that it can be heavily customized to fit the needs of a business and it can include data stopovers for purchasing, sales, accounts receivable, inventory, and shipping. Overall, it cuts down on the amount of foot traffic needed to maintain daily office operations.

Customer Relationship Management

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application works similarly to an ERP. In fact, it can be included in an ERP if desired. When started, a CRM can automate and improve customer management from beginning to end. Its biggest advantage is at the initiation. Customer data can be lost or forgotten when entered manually, but the CRM records the customer’s interests and alerts the proper sales representative. From there, the employee tracks all correspondence with the customer and the results.

Another advantage of a CRM is that it allows supervisors to see why a customer moved to the next stage of purchase or decided to go elsewhere. As a result, they work with the sales representative if improvements are needed.

Human Resource Information System

Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) are powerful automation tools that maintain employee records. This is more than a payroll system– though that module can be incorporated– it tracks an employee from the start. The information delved from their initial application and assessment will determine if they will move to the interview stage. If the person is hired, the HRIS automates the onboarding process.

Once employees, this information system tracks manager reviews, complaints, and awards. It can also help determine the rate of salary increase or promotion. Granted, an HRIS isn’t artificial intelligence, yet it does simplify the duties of human resources representatives.

The .Net Framework

For companies that deal with software creation and maintenance, one of the best automation tools out there is the .Net Framework. Designed by Microsoft, the open-source platform is no longer used for Windows-based applications as it has now expanded to Linux, Apple, the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence.

The .Net Framework doesn’t automate the creation process. Rather, it simplifies the compilation and distribution. This means that programmers don’t need to install multiple computer language libraries on a device as .Net allows for the execution of these programs on the destination device through their own mechanisms.

Another automation benefit to the .Net Framework is version storage. The advantage here is it allows developers to retrieve old versions of a program if they’re needed to install an application or to troubleshoot potential issues. As a result, error resolution is quicker and downtime is minimized.

Businesses can no longer rely on manual entry and paperwork to keep up with other companies. Without automation, they will remain behind to the point they can no longer compete. Through the automation tools listed, organizations can catch up in a small amount of time, and, in the end, potentially have a leg up on the competition.

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by Amy Sloane //

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.