Automation: the perfect guide

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Automation: the perfect guide – Article by Amélie VIARDOT

Have you ever been overwhelmed by a list of repetitive, tedious tasks you have to complete every day? If so, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll explain how to automate your tasks to help you save time and focus on more important tasks.

We’ll show you the steps you need to take to automate your most repetitive tasks. Then we’ll explain how to create automations with software such as Zapier, scripts and macros. And finally, the pros and cons of task automation.

So, if you want to know more about automation and how it can improve your productivity, keep reading this article!

What is automation?

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Photo by Digital Buggu

Before we get started, here’s a quick explanation of what automation means. 

Automation is the use of tools, software or processes to perform tasks or operations with little or no human intervention. In other words, automation enables tasks to be programmed to be carried out automatically at regular intervals or in response to specific events. This can be particularly useful for repetitive, low-value-added tasks that can be time-consuming if carried out manually. It frees up time to concentrate on more important, high value-added tasks.

 

Steps to follow

Here are the steps you need to take to automate tasks in your company:

1. Identify the tasks to be automated

Start by identifying the repetitive, low-value-added tasks in your company. 

Here are some examples of tasks that can be automated:

  • Data collection: you can automate data collection using web scraping tools such as Octoparse, Scrapy or WebHarvy.
  • E-mail management: You can automate e-mail management using tools such as Polymail or SaneBox.
  • Invoicing: Invoicing can be automated using invoicing tools such as Zoho Invoice or QuickBooks.
  • Contact management: You can automate contact management using tools such as HubSpot or Pipedrive
  • Social network management: automation tools can be used to automatically plan and publish content on social networks, as well as tracking and analyzing performance, such as Repurpose.io or Hootsuite.
  • Project management: some tools can automate tasks such as task assignment, reporting and project planning. Examples include Trello or Notion.

2. Determine the most suitable automation tools

There are many tools available, such as Zapier, IFTTT, macros, scripts and automation management software. Evaluate each tool according to your needs and choose the one that’s right for you.

3. Create rules to automate tasks

Once you’ve chosen the automation tool, it’s time to create rules to automate tasks. These rules can be based on specific events, triggers or actions. They allow you to define the conditions under which automations will be triggered and actions performed.

4. Test and deploy

It’s important to test automations before deploying them. This ensures that they are working properly, and that modifications can be made if necessary. Once the automations have been tested and approved, they can be deployed.

5. Monitor and improve

It’s important to regularly monitor automations to make sure they’re working properly, and to make improvements if necessary. By monitoring them, you can also identify opportunities to automate more tasks in your business.

 

The 3 best automation tools 

There are several automation tools available on the market, but here are the three best:

  • Zapier: This is an automation management software that lets you create automations for almost any online application you use. It lets you perform tasks such as sending e-mails, filling in forms and much more. Here’s a short video explaining how to use this software :
  • Scripts: Scripts are computer programs used to perform specific tasks. They are particularly useful for automating tasks related to Excel or other office software. Examples of scripts include Javascript, Unix Shell Script and Python.
  • Macros: Macros are functions built into certain software programs that allow you to create rules to automate repetitive tasks.

 

The benefits of task automation

Task automation offers a number of advantages:

  • Time savings: Task automation enables tasks to be completed more quickly and efficiently, saving time and freeing up employees for more important tasks.
  • Reduced errors: Task automation can reduce human errors and process inconsistencies, which can improve work quality and reduce error correction costs.
  • Improved productivity: Task automation can increase overall productivity by enabling employees to concentrate on more important, higher value-added tasks.
  • Cost reduction: Task automation can reduce operating costs by eliminating tedious manual tasks and reducing labor requirements.
  • Improved service quality: Task automation can improve service quality by providing a faster, more accurate response to customer requests.
  • Adaptability: Task automation can make processes more flexible and adaptable to changes in the working environment.
  • Better data management: Task automation can facilitate data management by reducing the risk of data entry errors and enabling faster, more accurate data analysis.
  • Improved security: Task automation can improve security by reducing the risk of data entry errors and enabling faster, more accurate data analysis.

 

Disadvantages of automation

  • High initial costs: Automating tasks can involve high initial costs, such as purchasing software and automation tools, training staff and setting up an appropriate IT infrastructure.
  • Risk of loss of flexibility: Task automation can make processes rigid and less flexible, which can make it difficult to adapt to unforeseen situations or changes in the work environment.
  • Risk of technological dependence: Task automation can make companies dependent on technology, which can make it difficult to manage manual tasks if the technology fails.
  • Risk of job loss: Task automation can replace traditional jobs with machines, which can lead to job loss for workers.
  • Risk of poor quality of work: Task automation can lead to inferior quality of work if automation processes are not properly designed, or if automation tools are not regularly updated.

 

And finally…

Task automation has become a major issue for many companies. It saves time and allows you to concentrate on more important tasks. Tools such as Zapier, macros and scripts enable you to create automations according to your needs. All you have to do is follow the necessary steps to automate certain tasks and avoid wasting time on them.

However, it’s important to understand that there’s a difference between automation and flexibility. It is therefore important to determine the precise task before automating it, in order to avoid the problems associated with this. It’s also important to note that not all tasks can be automated, and that it’s essential to focus on those that are most repetitive.

So, convinced?

If you need help getting started automating your tasks, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with us.

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