Are Manual Processes Hurting Your Business?

In today's 24/7 business environment technology has become central to day-to-day operations, yet according to Forrester, some 50% of automation opportunities are being missed. In today's article, we take a look at 5 ways manual processes could be hurting your business.

The author of this page: Prateek Desai
Prateek Desai, Practice Director - D365 Customer Engagement & Power Platform Aug 24, 2023

From always-on customer service to the latest developments in AI, technology continues to redefine the way we work, yet many organisations across all industries continue to rely on manual, repetitive tasks for vital business processes. But, at what cost?

1. Reduced Productivity

Findings from the recents Microsoft Ireland Work Trends Index revealing that almost half of Irish workers are experiencing feelings of burn out at work, with most struggling simply not having enough time to complete their work (55%). With just 25-40% of workflows automated (Cognizant Center for the Future of Work) it is little wonder that employees are feeling this pressure. In fact McKinsey Global Institute found that 60% of workers estimated that if manual tasks were automated they would save on average 6 hours per week, almost one full workday.

From data entry to searching for the right information, your employees are wasting value time and energy on processes that could easily be automated. With 42% of employees surveyed for the Work Trend Index report, stating they spend too much time searching for the right data. Time that could be better spent on value add activities that drive business growth and innovation.

2. Negative Customer Experience

In an always on business landscape customers expectations have evolved, today's consumer demands a seamless customer experience across all touch points, with rapid response rates and access to knowledge experts. With a report from Accenture reporting that some 52% of customers have switched providers in the past year due to customer service, and the estimated cost of customers switching due to poor service $1.6 trillion in the past year, it is clear that consumers are more willing than ever to shop around where companies fail to meet service expectations.

An over-reliance on inefficient manual processes can therefore have a ripple effect, negatively impacting customer experience and leading to a decline in customer retention rates. Manual processes can lead to delays in response times, missed opportunities and inconsistent customer communications.

3. Increased Business Risk

An over reliance on manual processes exposes your business to higher levels of business risk, be it from data entry errors to inconsistent workflows or breaches in compliance. Afterall 'to err is human', with research from the Institute for Robotic Process Automation revealing that out of every 100 steps, a human is likely to make 10 errors, even when carrying out somewhat redundant work. Where organisations rely on manual processes, inconsistent operating processes often emerge as every employee has their own workflow or system workarounds. Reconciling these workflow inconsistencies across employees can prove costly and create blindspots in data processing and control.

At best these errors and data blindspots may result in inconsistencies and slight delays, at worst they could prove costly for example in the event where data is not processed or managed in compliance with industry or data regulations.

4. Lack of Scalability

Where business critical processes rely on human workers to complete them, scaling up during periods of seasonal demand or rapid growth can prove difficult to manage from both a resource and cost perspective. Afterall as demand increases the size of your staff has to scale alongside processing demands. To keep pace with this increased volume, organisations must find, hire and train new employees - taking the time to guide them through onboarding processes and helping them on their learning curve.

5. Innovation Shortfalls

For organisations with a heavily reliance on manual processes, innovation can often prove collateral damage as employees struggle under the weight of work and the exponential growth in business data. Repetitive adminstrative tasks often pull employees and knowledge workers away from strategic activities with a study by Deloitte revealing 73% of activities in an average process do not add value. With so much time of your employees time spent on admin heavy tasks, little time remains for data analysis, research and innovation.

With the costs of manual processes so high, why haven't these manual tasks been automated? The challenge often comes down to a dependence on legacy systems that prove difficult to integrate with modern applications, external data sources that don't have APIs to connect to, exceptions within core business processes that fall outside of normal automated processes and an overburdened IT department that simply can't get to all project requests.

To find out how Low Code solution Power Platform can help your organisation overcome these challenges and harness the benefits of RPA, contact a member of our team today.

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