The Power of Automation and Integration – How can I take advantage of automation in my business?

Most of us know that automation is essential for our business to thrive in the years to come. However, most of us have done little automation and know very little about HOW to automate.

There are a few key technologies that are vital to automation. In an effort to simplify, we are only going to focus on a CRM and BPM. A CRM stands for client relationship management system and a BPM stands for a business process management system.

What is a CRM? CRM’s come in all shapes and sizes. But for simplicity sake, a CRM should be a foundational system used for storing all types of information as it relates to your business. Everything from contacts to invoices to emails and so on.

What is a BPM? In simple terms, a BPM is the ability to automate and optimize a lot of the mundane tasks and processes associated with your business. It all starts with having your processes either written out or easily understood.

Examples of BPM’s:

  • marketing automation
  • work flows
  • call queues
  • calendar scheduling tools
  • invoicing tools
  • many more

How do I get started?

  1. Setup a CRM if you don’t already have one. I recommend one that integrates easily with other technologies and is easy to use. Many have free trials or previews so that you can see if the user experience is easy to use.  If you need suggestions, I am happy to be a resource.
  2. Either integrate a BPM into your CRM or choose a CRM with a BPM built in.
  3. Choose a simple process in your company that you would like to automate.
  4. Write out every step in that process.
  5. Leverage a BPM to automate as many of those steps as possible.
  6. Become exponentially more productive, have a more organized team, and create exceptional experiences for your clients.

Easy, right? Well, it can seem more complicated than that but the reality is, while it does take some time to setup, the amount of time, efficiency, and happy clients over the long term is invaluable.  When you think about your time as an investment in your future free time, it makes perfect sense!

Let’s look at an example without automation:

Sally is an accountant and has a small business called ABC accounting. Dave is her assistant. When a new client calls in to get the tax return process started the current process is as follows:

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Whew!  Tired yet?

Now let’s look at the process after CRM and BPM solutions have been put into place:

Sally is an accountant and has a small business called ABC accounting. Dave is her assistant. When a new client calls in to get the tax return process started the new process looks like:

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The Impact?

In example one there were a minimum of 21 steps that required a human to complete. In example two, where a fully optimized BPM and CRM were put into place, there are only 5 steps where a human is involved. This illustrates the power of automation. If you think about a tax practice cranking out over 750 returns think about the impact of improving efficiency on just ONE process for each client by over 400%. Further, by using a system like a BPM you can make sure that steps along the way aren’t missed.

All of this leads to what? It leads to a better client experience, a process driven team, and a remarkable increase in efficiency.