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5 ways automation can cut your business budget

Cost-saving software tools every organization needs today.

Automation and artificial intelligence are the sources of a lot of anxiety for today’s workforce. But in spite of the mass hysteria, the effect of the age of automation still remains to be seen. Instead of displacing huge swaths of the workforce, as many fear, automation has thus far only made work easier, more cost-efficient and less repetitive.

Rather than finding a robot sitting in their place, employees are finding that today’s technologies are, by and large, enabling them to do their jobs better, quicker and more efficiently than ever before. While some job loss could result from improving efficiencies, the overall benefit to the health and longevity of organizations cannot be overstated. In fact, organizations that aren’t seeking to reduce costs and improve efficiencies through automation are leaving themselves vulnerable to disruption and competition.

Here are five areas in which automation technologies can help reduce costs and improve efficiency at your organization.

1. Accounting

Crunching numbers, tracking transactions, and managing payroll, billing, invoicing and other basic accounting functions can now be automated using a low cost or even free software solution.

Automation in businessNot only can these technologies help with everyday accounting needs, they can also provide high-value insights into potential cost-reducing strategies and overall financial performance.

Such solutions typically range from low or even no-cost basic software for small businesses, to enterprise platforms that provide access to real-time data across a large organization.

Some of the most popular accounting and invoicing platforms include FreshBooks, AccountEdge Pro, QuickBooks and ZipBooks.

     Related: 5 cloud-based accounting solutions you need to know         

2. Supply Chain Management

Also known as inventory management software, supply chain management applications help organizations manage, process and track information pertaining to orders and deliveries.

Such technologies are advancing quickly with the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and radio frequency identification (RFID) chips, both of which promote greater inventory oversight.

Overall, supply chain management systems provide insights to forecast demand and ensure inventory is available to meet that demand. It can also help speed deliveries and reduce warehouse costs through greater efficiency and inventory control. 

Some of the most popular supply chain management applications include Netsuite, SAP and Accenture.

3. Customer Relations Management (CRM)

In an age defined by personalization and customization, delivering a consistent and tailor-made customer experience requires a management system that can track the complete customer journey.

Customer Relations Management

Customer relations management software can help deliver that improved customer experience while tracking customer habits in order to provide greater insights into products and services.

CRM applications can also help target marketing efforts based on customer insights, and anticipate client needs based on historic trends.

The year’s top-rated CRM platforms according to PC Mag are Apptivo CRM, Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional, and Zoho CRM.

4. Enterprise Resource Planning

Automating and optimizing back-office functions using software applications can go a long way in reducing corporate costs, especially if they can be controlled and managed via a central hub.

Enterprise Resource Planning (or ERP) applications are typically utilized by larger organizations and often managed by dedicated teams, while smaller companies can benefit from small business ERP platforms that are specific to their industry or vertical.

ERPs help organizations manage a wide variety of business functions, including product planning, material purchasing, inventory control, accounting, marketing and human resources. When all of these functions are managed under a single platform, each can be optimized based on the real-time conditions of the others.

Some of the most popular ERP platforms include Sage 300, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and NetSuite Global ERP.

5. Human Resource Management

They say a business’s most important assets are their human resources, but managing those resources can be a challenging and time-consuming task.

Whether you’re the owner of a mom-and-pop shop looking to schedule shift work or the head of human resources for a Fortune 500 corporation looking to build a comprehensive benefits package, there’s a solution available to streamline human resource management.

These technology platforms can help manage HR functions ranging from personnel records, legal compliance, candidate sourcing, recruiting and automating payroll and benefits.

Some of the most popular human resource management applications available today include Gusto, Bamboo HR, Zenefits and SAP Success Factors.


Up Next: Accounting doesn't have to be a chore with these cloud-based solutions.

5 cloud-based accounting solutions you need to know

Jared Lindzon

Jared Lindzon is a freelance journalist based in Toronto, covering a variety of topics, including technology, careers, entrepreneurship, politics and music. His work regularly appears in major publications in Canada, the United States and around the world, including the Globe and Mail, Fast Company, Fortune Magazine, Rolling Stone, Politico, the Guardian and more.

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