Automated Systems: When It Pays to Put Those Eggs in One Basket

When it comes to workplace efficiency, it’s often worth letting automated systems manage multiple tasks using one convenient platform. Here are a few.

There are times when it makes sense to diversify and not put all of your eggs in one basket–when investing in the stock market, for example. But when it comes to workplace efficiency, it’s often worth letting automated systems manage multiple tasks using one convenient platform.

Many entrepreneurs–small business owners especially–have “powering through” in their genes, so streamlining tasks might seem counterintuitive. And any size business can have managers with control issues. These attitudes make it hard to delegate tasks to other employees, let alone automated systems. Time to learn to let it go, friend.

The reality is that digital technology has increased the speed at which the business world operates. Stubbornly refusing to embrace new systems will cause you to fall too far behind to catch up, and you’ll miss out on some great benefits as well.

What’s in it for you?

Of business owners who have thrown their symbolic eggs into an automated basket, 96 percent of them project business growth because of it, according to Ontraport. It’s sort of like exercise–you don’t see how good it is for you until you really get into it.

Automating certain tasks also frees up team members to focus instead on innovating and developing other systems that can’t be handled by software. There’s no need for someone to be manually sorting out payroll and scrambling on the last day of the month, in a big mess, when there’s software that does that.

No one person can do it all, but many systems can, so don’t let the thought of giving up the illusion of control scare you. You can actually gain a lot more control by embracing automation technology. Here are some examples of ways to put automation to use:

Finding and paying your team

There are a number of platforms that can handle the day-to-day tasks keeping your business afloat, so there’s no need to be buried in calendars and spreadsheets, or troubleshooting from five different folders stored on your desktop. But nothing is more important than human resources and payroll–at least if you want to keep your staff happy.

Especially for entrepreneurs and small and midsized businesses, using a payroll or HR platform helps cut costs early on, freeing up time to make real moves and scale your brand. A few to try: Sage, Patriot, Due and Inova for payroll, and TSheets, BambooHR and Greenhouse for HR.

Marketing insights

Social marketing still requires a human element, but automated social media monitoring tools make you way more effective.

Most social listening platforms, like NetBase, help you understand the emotions driving social conversations, allowing for more authentic connections with consumers. When your team has access to real-time data, decisions can be made quickly about how best to leverage insights or deal with issues.

This is as opposed to being bogged down, attempting to manually analyze data for useful information, which can take long enough to have you missing out on trends or ending up on the wrong side of a viral post from a disgruntled customer. Other platforms to explore: Buzzsumo, Mention and Trackur.

Organized innovation

The idea that innovation is always spontaneous and unplanned is a myth. Innovation takes dedicated, organized effort, and companies are increasingly setting aside special teams precisely to focus on making it happen, both to grow their brand and change their role in the marketplace.

For innovation to be a priority, you need software to help your team communicate with each other, set goals and track outcomes. Streamlining the process also means no one gets stuck beating the same dead idea over and over while your budget dwindles. Give Altitude, Brightidea or IdeaScale a try.

Putting all (or multiple) business tasks into one basket may seem like a risk, but the benefits far outweigh any wrinkles you might come across in the transition. It’s working smarter, not harder–and lining up your business with where the future is taking us all. So take a long, steady look at where you could gain more efficient ground: There’s probably a platform for that.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

@MaryCLong Mary C. Long is Chief Ghost at Digital Media Ghost. She writes about everything online and is published widely, with a focus on privacy concerns, specifically social sabotage.