With repetitive manual data entry proving a pain point for staff members, workplaces must act to ensure their teams stay motivated. Could automation be the answer?

Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary

April 10, 2019

3 Min Read

Automation can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of businesses, as well as reduce risk and increase assurance with things like regulatory compliance. Mundane yet important tasks such as data input into a CRM system are necessary in order to have an up-to-date view of customers and clients, but this is only possible if all information and interactions are recorded promptly and accurately, which can be laborious.

Simply put, sales guys hate doing things like this. It takes them away from their primary job role, which is being on the sales floor, building relationships with candidates and clients. So why waste their valuable time and frustrate them, rather than adopt modern automation methods such as voice input or data parsing to eliminate the pain?

Can task automation increase motivation in your team?

In a recent report on automation in the workplace, 72% of respondents said they would use the time saved through automation to perform higher-value work, while 78% indicated that automating manual, repetitive tasks would allow them to focus on the more interesting and rewarding aspects of their job. Automation of mundane tasks could be key to increasing motivation in your sales teams!

In the case of Washington Frank, we wanted our consultants to spend as much time as they can on the phones speaking to candidates and doing deals, i.e. the thing they are good at, as opposed to filling in forms and customer records.

What type of tasks should be automated?

Of course, you don’t automate just to save time. You can also automate for quality and scalability. 

Automation done well makes things far more precise. If I can use AI or machine learning to find a far better candidate match to a job than we would have manually, that’s a real success. It’s also a repeatable process, so I can be confident of the same outcome going forward.

In addition to this, you can vastly improve the quality of data simply by removing the possibility of human error when inputting information. Not only is the initial data capture more accurate, but it also means you don’t have to worry about data cleansing further down the line — this will be a godsend if you ever migrate to a new CRM.

What’s more, if the information is particularly sensitive or confidential, automation can ensure there’s the correct level of information and data security, reducing risks and helping you adhere to ever-increasing and complex regulations.

Finding the balance

That said, people are obviously still important in a business, even where data input is concerned, and you shouldn’t try to automate processes that your staff can actually add value to.

There’s also a cost consideration, as it makes no sense to exhaust your budget on automating tasks when it would actually be cheaper to bring in a member of staff to do the same work.

It’s about finding the right balance for your organization. While I could attempt to specify exactly which tasks should be automated and which shouldn’t, the reality is that every business is different and so there’s no definitive answer.

You just need to speak to your staff, identify their pain points, and consider whether automation would provide a realistic solution.

It’s important to take a common sense approach, always considering efficiency and effectiveness, to find what’s best for your people, your customers and ultimately your business.

Mark Hill is the Chief Information Officer at Washington Frank, and has 25 years of experience in delivering complex mission-critical technology across both the capital markets and broader financial services sectors.

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Guest Commentary

Guest Commentary

The InformationWeek community brings together IT practitioners and industry experts with IT advice, education, and opinions. We strive to highlight technology executives and subject matter experts and use their knowledge and experiences to help our audience of IT professionals in a meaningful way. We publish Guest Commentaries from IT practitioners, industry analysts, technology evangelists, and researchers in the field. We are focusing on four main topics: cloud computing; DevOps; data and analytics; and IT leadership and career development. We aim to offer objective, practical advice to our audience on those topics from people who have deep experience in these topics and know the ropes. Guest Commentaries must be vendor neutral. We don't publish articles that promote the writer's company or product.

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