What is task automation?
Task automation makes work easier and faster while improving the consistency and accuracy of workflows.
It does this by reducing the time and energy required to complete repetitive, frequent, or regularly scheduled jobs or duties. Task automation minimizes the amount of manual process labor required to complete a workflow or deliver results.
Businesses often deploy task automation software to simplify and speed up workflows, as well as to alleviate the burnout and fatigue that come from completing the same task, over and over. Task automation frees up time so employees can be more attentive to customers, focus on higher priorities, and think creatively about their work.
Characteristics of manual tasks that can be automated
|Frequent||High volumes that must be completed multiple times in an hour, day, or week|
|Dependent||Triggered by a specific event or change in status|
|Repetitive||Involves the same steps or inputs each time|
|Simple||Does not require complex information or problem-solving|
|Scheduled||Regularly occurs at the same time or on the same day each week/month|
|Predictable||Planned element of a regular workflow or process|
|Collaborative||Requires action or information from multiple stakeholders|
The automation of tasks, work, and processes is nothing new. In fact, we humans have a long history of finding ways to turn manual processes into automations for our benefit. Consider the way robotics and assembly lines have standardized and sped up the manufacturing process. Or the ways we are using software and AI to handle some of the data analytics work we used to complete with a pencil and calculator. Some automations are so commonplace that we might even take them for granted.
Automated work tasks in business
Many types of work can be automated, in whole or in part. Some of these are highly complex functions that require AI or specialized task automation tools. Others are tasks which are common to many types of businesses. We will focus on this second category of tasks for now.
The kinds of tasks that are most often automated can be grouped into three broad categories: communication tasks, scheduling and time-sensitive tasks, and workflow-enabling tasks.
Business processes often include components that require emails or other types of follow-up. For example, an HR onboarding workflow may require documents to be sent to a new hire upon acceptance of a job offer. Automation can make that happen as soon as a signature is received: no human action necessary.
In the sales process, following a prospecting call with an email may be a standard part of the workflow. These can also be automated. The use of an email template makes this work even easier and more consistent.
Scheduled & time sensitive tasks
Tasks that happen on a regular schedule or which impact deadlines can also benefit from automation. In a task automation tool, it’s possible to create tasks that occur at regular intervals or when triggered by another event. These kinds of automations help keep workflows on schedule without constant monitoring or intervention from your team.
Many steps in a workflow create dependencies. That is, the completion of one task must wait for the completion of a previous task. Task automation can help ensure that the workflow moves along as planned by notifying team members when work is ready for them.
Examples of task automation by department & process
|Human Resources|| |
|Customer Service|| |
Task automation tools
Businesses have many choices when it comes to the tools they use to bring automation to their workflows. In order to choose the right tool, you’ll want to make sure you have an idea of which processes, workflows, and tasks need automation. It’s also important to understand the degree of flexibility you will want in a tool. Some tools can be adapted for virtually any process, department, or team.
Work smarter, not harder
Transforming manual tasks into automated tasks delivers big benefits for employees and businesses. Automation simplifies the workflow, prevents employee burnout, and brings consistency and accuracy to critical business processes.
Most importantly, task automation means that your team spends less time performing repetitive (and boring!) manual tasks and more time doing the things that create value for your company.
Task automation makes work easier and faster while improving the consistency and accuracy of workflows. "