We live in a world of unprecedented disruption and SMEs have been dealing with one disruption after another since the pandemic began. First, it was taking their workforce remote, then it was global supply chain issues. And if that wasn’t enough, along came the Great Resignation.
To better deal with disruption, SMEs need to have a big business mindset. This means instead of hoping their people can shoulder the burden of keeping the lights on during times of great difficulty, they need to invest in technology to help share the workload, build business resilience, and allow employees to pursue more meaningful activities that ensure business success.
How SMEs improve performance with technology
Adopting new technology doesn’t happen overnight or in a vacuum. It requires analysis, understanding, thought and planning. We’re increasingly seeing small business innovators thinking big and adopting high tech intelligent automation (IA) mindsets more commonly seen in big business.
By thinking big and investing in tech, SMEs are doing more than proving they’re hard to knock down. They’re strengthening their position in the market and growing their profitability, market share, and customer satisfaction despite turbulent conditions.
What makes a successful business? You need satisfied customers, happy employees, and efficient operations. To achieve these goals, your key customer, financial and operational workflows must be healthy and strong. IA platforms make it possible to automate, manage and orchestrate these workflows at scale.
Business executives from around the world were asked what they expect to gain by automating high-value workflows as part of the Kofax 2022 Intelligent Automation Benchmark Study. Their responses demonstrate the belief in automation as a source of strength for business.
Accounts payable automation, transaction processing, document security management and invoice automation are just some examples of how IA can take these high-value, labour intense workflows and improve employee efficiencies, align disparate platforms among suppliers and customers, and provide employees with better systems and data. The end goal of satisfied customers, happy employees, and efficient operations isn’t an empty promise. They’re all attainable, even for SMEs, given the right technology.
Dipping into the automation playing field
Whether you’re looking to automate just a few of these high-value workflows or all of them, you’ll need a quality intelligent automation platform to get you there. When you do your research, keep an eye out for some key features you’ll need to achieve scalable, enterprise-wide automation that benefits your small business.
For instance, cognitive capture gives small businesses the ability to process documents faster and with fewer errors. This frees your employees precious time to focus more on strategic thinking – like how you can go about building your business. And at the same time, customers are benefiting from faster and better service.
Similarly, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the use of smart robots that can act upon and interpret data quickly and efficiently. This enables you to maximise capacity and efficiency for an agile, scalable workforce, critical for small businesses operating with minimal staff levels.
Finally, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies like machine learning and natural language processing can extract and analyse data from structured and unstructured content. Vendors claim that their AI products will handle nearly everything, so be sure to look for real-time decision-making capabilities, as well as advanced analytics to provide actionable insight for faster, smarter decision making that can help your business in a multitude of ways.
SMEs need to forget about just surviving. Intelligent automation and other technology commonly associated with big business give them a clear competitive advantage that can help them grow in the short, medium and long term. By adopting IA they’re positioned to build and then rely on a strong core of technology, allowing them to forge ahead and lead the way to success.