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Why Automate?

Let's face it - everyone thinks automation means replacing human beings with computers. When you hear, "We're automating," you think, "We're downsizing.." The word 'automation' puts the fear of Jove into one's heart.

This misconception has its roots in the past. Interestingly enough, today, automation yields far larger rewards, but it is not about downsizing. Automation is about improving the quality level of your business processes. So let's talk about quality for a sec.

Most organizations still pass around paper and spreadsheets. (Did you think you were the last hold-outs?) If your company is one of these, then you already know the downsides of this paper-chase: paper and spreadsheets aren't centralized. They can be lost or misplaced. They're not accessible by the team. They can't be instantly reported on. They are time-consuming to audit, not easily visible, and difficult or time-consuming to retrieve. They're Old School. And not in a good way.

Automation Is About Quality Improvement.

As a rule, if a business process is shared by five or more people it will most likely benefit from an Aestiva-style automation. Here are four general examples of how operational quality can be improved and the financial benefits obtained:

     1) Automating an expense reimbursement process frees business development people from the time-consuming chore of producing expense reports. The benefits of freeing them to stay focused on their sales or business development job are usually sufficient to justify the automation. The "bonus" benefits include saving time, making jobs more enjoyable, lower spend, and arming managers with better compliance information and new reporting capabilities.

2) Automating a budget request process allows budgets to be used more judiciously. Just one bad decision corrected (due to the increased visibility of the budget) is usually enough to justify the automation. And that doesn't include the benefits of faster turn-around or the ability to manage end-of-year spend-down.

3) Automating purchase requests deters staff from overpaying for items or maverick spending. Savings of 5% of gross sales are common. And that benefit doesn't include the savings from being able to review cost history, no longer losing POs, or accidental overpayment on invoices.

4) Automating invoice approval processes stops staff from hiding invoice mistakes. One less mistake can justify the automation. Reduced work, better management visibility, and less supplier confusion are other benefits.

You see, automations lead to organizational quality improvements that lead to financial savings that lead to happy managers. It's the corporate Circle of Life! The benefits include reduced work hours, less mistakes, better team work, shorter turn-around, freeing workers from the more mundane parts of a job, improvements in audit and oversight, saving money, etc. Notice none of these examples has to do with downsizing?

So the answer to "Why automate?" Or to be more specific, "Why use Aestiva to automate?" is that Aestiva-style automations improve organizational quality.

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