Automation and Profit
Today, automation and the loss of jobs for many is a hot topic. Originally, people thought only menial labor would be the first to go, but then many lawyers who created loan contracts for commercial lenders were surprised to be replaced by a computer. According to Forbes Magazine, "What is the law but a series of algorithms? Codified instructions proscribing dos and don’ts—ifs and thens. Sounds a lot like computer programming, right?" As the Web and I is a business that helps small businesses with their automation needs, however, the moral and ethical and HR implications of this are outside of the scope of this article. The general consensus among authoritative sources is that the number of jobs will decrease, but the jobs remaining will be better jobs with higher pay. The Aspen Institute wrote a good paper about that available here. There are many reputable sources for information on those aspects of automation. What we are most concerned with is how your small business can profit and use automation to great advantage.
Law firms, medical offices, and insurance companies are examples of small businesses with complex client needs, disparate staff needing access to the right information, and security, regulatory and compliance needs.
To that end, many law firms and medical offices take advantage of off-the-shelf software to run their business. However, small businesses are often lacking the functional expertise needed to customize the software or choose a more unique software just designed for them. Also, most of these off-the-shelf software solutions lack customizable and secure phone apps for clients and employees to enter vital data needed to proceed with their work. All non-automated and semi-automated businesses suffer from the inaccuracy and added expense of duplication of effort in data entry. Forms for clients that are extensive in the medical and legal settings are also frustratingly repetitive. These days that does not create the best impression of your business. The Web and I can provide this kind of service. In the past, expense was hard to justify to management and owners. Now, however, the World Economic Forum and many other authoritative sources are telling these decision makers that the way forward to profitability is in proper automation and contemporary business practices.
One of the more daunting processes that are needed is the business process mapping, analysis, and redesign that is needed. Generally the initial business process mapping is very jumbled in appearance, like a bowl of spaghetti, with many twists, turns, and repetitions. The new business process mapping is always simpler and makes logical sense. Information stewardship is assigned to the right employees, as is access to sensitive information. Rules can be put into place to prevent incomplete or inaccurate data entry. This is for many businesses their first experience with the magic of algorithms. These algorithms in data entry can act as a quality control manager without human intervention. The data becomes more accurate. The data is easier to collect, and there are no more duplications of effort. Those pesky repetitive tasks not only cost more to do double and triple the work: they also introduce significant errors that have to be sorted out later. Medical offices and lawyers will find their patients and clients are happier entering their information into an app or redesigned form rather than having to enter reams of paperwork on a clipboard with repetitive questions. This surely improves relationships with customers. Other business models besides those mentioned can benefit from such automation. Most businesses can benefit. The ones that will are going to the the leaders in their respective fields when their automation bears fruit. Will your business be on the winning side?
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