Technology and automation are such an integral part of our life that we often do not think about the impact it has. From our mobile phones, to the car we drive, technology is ever pervasive. In the field of business, words like automation, machine learning, artificial intelligence has become common. Most businesses today (a) have some idea about what it entails and (b) understand that it is important to embrace technology and automation.
The question then is, how can business growth be impacted by technology and does it even make sense to adopt it. Consider something as basic as uploading a photo with your friends on your Facebook profile. If your friends are on Facebook, the social networking site uses machine learning to suggest the names of the people in the photo that you may want to tag. In the end it makes the uploading process simpler, faster and easier. Technology and automation can play a similar role in a business.
Reduces time – One of the greatest advantages of using technology is that it vastly reduces the amount of time taken to do the same job. Machines can do a far more in a limited amount of time without any drudgery. The advances in computing power have meant complex, mundane and even huge volume of work can be tackled within minutes. It is said that the pyramid was built by 4000 workers across 20 years, but with today’s technology, the same building can be done in about five years.
Revenue and Profit – According to a Google and KPMG report, engagement with digital technologies can help Indian SMBs grow their revenues significantly. The report goes on to add that digital technologies like websites, social media and ecommerce can give SMBs a greater market reach and increase the
ability to reach out to customers. Digitally engaged SMBs have nearly twice the revenue growth trajectory compared to offline SMBs.
Productivity – Because more can be achieved in less or the same amount of time, embracing technology increases productivity to a large extent. Technology also frees up the person to do more substantial jobs, if the routine, transactional part can be automated. This leads to better utilization of one’s skills, which in turn could lead to greater productivity. For a business it can also mean lesser manpower requirements to get the same amount of job done.
Efficiency – Technology has meant machines an now carry out tasks that require a high degree of efficiency and precision. Technology and automation can help a business improve efficiencies across functions – from manufacturing to marketing, and ensure costly errors are prevented from happening. This in turn can add to business growth.
Insights – Technology also prove valuable insights about the business. By turning information and numbers into actionable and meaningful data, businesses can use it to arrive at strategic and calculated decisions. Technologies like big data analytics can play a pivotal role in the decision-making process and ensure business growth.
While there are other advantages, the next logical question would be what facets of a business should technology and automation touch? The simple answer to that would be that every aspect of a business can now be automated. Take for example, the functions of a financial organization. According to an
article titled, “Bots, algorithms, and the future of the finance function” by McKinsey & Company, “Finance organizations perform a wide range of activities, from collecting basic data to making complex decisions and counseling business leaders. As a result, the potential for improving performance through automation varies across sub-functions and requires a portfolio of technologies to unlock the full opportunity.” The article goes on to say that applying the same methodology outlined in the McKinsey Global Institute’s automation research, the authors, Frank Plaschke, Ishaan Seth, and Rob Whiteman,
found that currently demonstrated technologies can fully automate 42 percent of finance activities and mostly automate a further 19 percent.
For businesses looking at using technology and automation, the key is to identify the functions that need tech intervention, the efficiencies and results it can provide and the level of disruption the transition process is likely to create. Once these three variables are accounted for, a business should not hesitate to embrace technology and automation.