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How Workflow Automation is Changing the Back Office

workflow automation

The back office of your business consists of employees in administrative and supportive roles. While the admin responsibilities don’t directly work with customers, they’re the engine of your ship. The back-office staff keeps everything up and running no matter what happens up front, and they need support to do so.

Workflow automation changes how the back office operates, maximizing efficiency and ensuring a more effective system overall. As powerful as workflow automation can be, implementing it is no small task.

Don’t know where to start with office automation? These examples will get your wheels turning and help you find direction.

Software Integration

Back offices rely on a variety of software programs to keep operations going. Keeping track of all the tools involved can lead to confusion. Workflow automation eliminates these issues by seamlessly integrating systems together.

Using iPaaS, or integration platforms as a service, you can set up your own workflow automation to tie all your programs together. For example, you can put a trigger in your project management software that will automatically download any files that your team shares to your email. This one simple step might not seem like much, but set up enough automation and you’ll be saving a ton of time.

Human Resources

The back office takes care of all employee management, whether they’re at the front desk or the warehouse. Hiring new employees, training and retention, and compliance are all essential aspects of business management. The more attention an organization can give to their employees, the more they will give back to the company.

Automation greatly assists in managing document-related tasks, which are the name of the game in human resource departments. Automatically generating and filing all the needed paperwork enables HR managers to spend less time at a desk and more time addressing employee needs and concerns. Workflow automation can also help with employee training for new hires or seasoned veterans who may need a refresher.

Banking and Finances

Nearly every back office has a financial team. They make sure books are lined up, invoices are sent and received, and budgets are followed. Automation helps ensure accuracy when taking care of company finances while accomplishing tasks at a quicker pace.

A simple example can be found with invoicing. Having workplace automation send and collect invoices takes a load off of your financial team so they can focus on other things. All they have to do is double-check the work and move on.

Purchasing and Inventory

Your procurement team will greatly benefit from workflow automation. Tracking inventory on its own is very time consuming, and it’s not an activity many enjoy doing. Automating inventory and subsequent purchasing will streamline the process, saving both time and money.

You can automate your inventory list to automatically update with purchases and shipments. When your inventory hits a certain level, your automation will trigger a notification to your procurement team that an order needs to be placed. While you still need the proper manpower to double-check industry counts and confirm shipments — automation helps ensure accuracy and timeliness with orders.

Data Analytics

Right on pace with automation is the growth of data analytics in business. Data-driven decision making has shown to be more effective than relying on intuition and experience alone. Businesses generate tons of data each day, so automation is an essential requirement for making it all work together.

Workflow automation will sift through the data generated by your business to pick out relevant information for your needs. One valuable aspect of data is its potential for trend forecasting. As workflow automation picks out key pieces of data for you, you can use it to make business plans based on perceived future events.

Data analytics also helps with product development, marketing, operations, and a whole lot more. Every aspect of your business can benefit from data, so this is one of the most important workflow automation areas to focus on.

Customer Experience

The front office consists of customer service and sales representatives who form a direct relationship with consumers. The back office, however, still has an impact on customer experience. For example, web developers work to build a site that enables customers to easily find the information and products they need, which plays a major role in the customer experience.

Developers and IT professionals know very well how beneficial automation can be. Workflow automation can siphon the data they need to make decisions that will improve the customer experience, helping them perform their jobs to a higher level. Automation also helps companies provide targeted content for customers visiting their sites. This personalizes the web experience, ensuring that every visitor finds exactly what they need.


Another vital task performed by your tech team is that of security. Keeping malware and digital attacks at bay protect your data and information and that of your customers. Breaches can be catastrophic, driving away customers and slashing revenue streams.

Workflow automation can detect potential threats automatically, no matter the type of threat or time of day. This can trigger preemptive actions to slow down attacks until a technician can fully address the problem. Automation can also send prompt notifications to further accelerate response times.

In addition to cybersecurity, workflow automation can also help with physical security. It can track employee ID scans and other forms of entry to pick up on trends that may seem suspicious and need verification.

Office Maintenance

There’s nothing worse than finding out you’re out of copy paper or need to make repairs right in the moment. With workflow automation, you can keep track of office materials and equipment to provide proper maintenance for ensuring smooth workdays.

You can set up a workflow that calculates the number of materials your company uses and determines when restocking needs to be done. You can also use these algorithms to track printer toner, air filters, and cleaning materials as well.

Filing and Organization

No one wants to spend a day filing documents, and no manager would have one of their best workers waste time doing so. Digital filing systems and storage are more efficient than their physical counterparts but still need maintenance to ensure proper documents can be readily accessed when needed.

You can set up your own organizational system using workflow automation. Tag certain files to be sent to specific locations, so you know exactly where they’ll be when you need them. You can also automatically send the documents you need directly to your inbox, avoiding the need to hunt them down.

With workflow automation, your back office will never be the same. Not only will you be increasing your company’s efficiency, but you’ll also be giving your workers a huge quality-of-life boost as well. Any team that made it through 2020 unscathed deserves a break, and workflow automation can be just that.

Image Credit: charles parker; pexels

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How to Leverage Marketing Automation to Generate More Leads

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Whether it is a start-up or an established one, marketing teams of every business strive to generate more and more customers who genuinely show interest in your product or service. Generating these customers is known as lead generation, where through transparent means of communication, you develop long-term relationships with customers rather than chasing them randomly for one–time sales. Here is how to leverage marketing automation to generate more leads.

Your long-lasting customer relationships.

These long-lasting relationships with customers help you secure new leads, too, as they keep you updated on your strengths and weaknesses. Such honest feedback or results make you realize how you can improve your business opportunities and know honestly whether your current strategies are working or not. 

Although this does not mean that you stop engaging yourself in efforts to attract new customers, yet you should focus on gaining customer insights and gain extra information on whether your product or services are up-to-the-mark or not. Keeping them impressed will also ensure that they share their experience further with other people, which will ensure the generation of more leads.

What is Marketing Automation?

The process of lead generation is a tough one yet is necessary so that you do not waste further time on customers who do not care about your product or service and who will never become potential leads.

The process may look tedious initially but reaps immense profits in the long-run by converting these leads into your loyal customers. To avoid excess manual interference and reduce costs, businesses use various software that automates the process of lead generation. T

these digital marketing automation tools attract more leads, keep them engaged and updated with your products and services, and, ultimately, improve your leads’ quality and accelerate the sales targets of your business. 

Generate leads

Being one of the most widely used methods for lead generation, it becomes pertinent to understand the meaning of Marketing Automation before using it.

Search Salesforce gives a proper definition for Marketing Automation “the use of the software for automating the marketing processes like customer data integration, customer segmentation, and campaign management.

Using marketing automation helps make the processes much more efficient, which would otherwise be performed manually; it also makes newer processes possible. Marketing automation has lately become an integral component of CRM.�

Marketing Automation is not merely software but a method altogether.

Hence, it can be seen clearly that Marketing Automation is not merely software but a method altogether to make the manual efforts much easier, productive, and cost-efficient without any involvement of humans.

Research reports by various institutions like Hubspot confirm that using Marketing Automation increases sales up to 50 percent at almost 33 percent fewer costs. It provides a plethora of benefits to marketing initiatives, such as improve customer experience through better customer-business relations.

Marketing automation can improve efficiency through cost-effective methods, use of customer data available from various channels, increased number and better quality of leads who tend to stay loyal to your brand, better communication, and cooperation between marketing and sales teams in a business, etc. 

However, most companies face issues with gaining optimum benefits through Marketing Automation either due to poor market research or half-hearted efforts by businesses who do not realize its importance, eventually leading to many risks.

Here are a few tips on how to leverage Marketing Automation to generate more leads.

1. Prioritize quality over quantity

Marketing Automation tools generate a pool of data. However, it will be your responsibility to keep a check on the quality of content that you publish.

The aim should be to generate quality leads rather than a large number of leads. The quantity of leads proves to be fruitless when they do not buy your products or services. Therefore, you should ensure that your automation tools keep a check on your leads and determine their intentions before putting in extra efforts.

Your marketing and sales team should decide a criterion you can bifurcate between customers as to who are quality leads and who is not. 

2. Use rewards to entice customers

Your customers need to realize their importance in your business. This helps create better customer-business relations. Long-term growth needs to identify customers who are loyal to your business and offer them rewards or coupons. Such efforts on your part will improve your impression with customers and also build up your publicity. 

3. Focus on nurturing your customers

Your customer base offers you a plethora of opportunities to turn them into leads. It is much more feasible to nurture your customers into becoming leads rather than finding new ones.

Your current customer base has still made efforts to generate loyalty towards your product or service; therefore, if you keep them happy and content with your other services and constant communication, they will automatically turn into loyal leads.

You can segregate such customers and then guide your automation tools to send them tailored content as per their needs and demands. 

4. Use segmentation

Using lists or segments to differentiate between your target audience is one of the most common methods to be applied while using Marketing Automation. These lists help you segregate customers based on their intentions, demands, behavior, the products or services they acquire, geographic data, etc.

You can divide your customers as potential leads, existing prospects, or existing customers. This will help you take tailored steps towards such customers to coax them into becoming leads.

5. Use Lead Scoring

This is another viable method that is used by many to leverage automation software. Lead scoring is the method by which you can assign a particular value to a customer, depending on their likelihood of converting into a lead.

This is highly important as it will determine which customers are ready to be passed on to the sales team. Lead scoring is essential since it will help prevent you from wasting your time and efforts on people who do not intend to become prospective customers.

Top Marketing Automation Tools

Marketing Automation Tools help serve the purpose of leveraging automation to a greater extent. So, here are a few of the top marketing automation tools that help in lead generation:

1. HubSpot

One of the most widely used automation software by businesses to enhance their lead generation is HubSpot. This software is a boon that allows you to track your customers’ behavior through their social media, emails, etc. It generates tools like email marketing, calls to action, social media marketing, etc. which are automated.

A major advantage of this software is that it gives you a plethora of other marketing methods like live chats, pop-ups, email follow-ups, website forms, etc. The HubSpot CRM feature permits you to keep a check on how your leads are behaving towards your strategies, how active they are on your website, and the degree of their interaction.

It is an integrated platform where you can easily combine your data and growth statistics to produce better results. Hubspot also comes with an easy-to-use visual platform, making it easier for customers to adapt to this software.

From blogging, emails’, landing pages to social media, calls-to-action, and ads, Hubspot ensures to leverage your number of leads through its marketing automation techniques.

2. Mailchimp

This software tool helps build email campaigns for your prospective leads with the appropriate content and look to attract their attention. This assists in the creation of landing pages to produce leads with adopt-in boxes.

The forms generated from this software can be customized to collect relevant data from the leads. Discount offers, tests, toolkits, coupons, etc. through this software are major reasons businesses prefer Mailchimp over the other tools in the market. 

3. Drip

Through its finest technology, this automation tool will assist you in segregating your lists into segments depending on the products or services that your customers enlisted for. This will help you further by sending personalized and relevant content to each of them. Its program called Drip NetSuite Integration provides you with ideas about your potential leads want or need.

Through their buying patterns, browsing history, etc. you can easily determine the field of content they would get attracted to, which you can deliver via emails, social media platforms, blogs, etc. 

4. Zendesk

Another widely used operation tool, Zendesk, focuses on handling your customer support conversations, which prove to be highly useful to generate leads. These conversations with customers via emails, phones, or messaging will help you understand your customers’ needs and complaints, and they can spark the probability of sales too.

This tool works in close coordination with your support and sales team. Their feature, known as Zendesk Sell allows instant information to be passed on to your sales team as soon as a lead shows interest.

5. Nimble

This digital marketing (linkopr dotcom), automation tool is another way you can effectively improve customer-business relationships. This particular tool uses CRM software to help build relationships and improve social interaction.

The Nimble marketing automation software uses social data of customers like birthdays, anniversaries, job changes, future goals, etc. and then successfully reach out to them on such special occasions through personalized messages.

Such insights into your customers’ lives help you understand the algorithm as to when to reach out to prospective customers and how to reach out to them. You can easily integrate Nimble with other digital marketing automation tools to access emails and other contact information via other websites. 


Marketing is not an easy job, yet it remains one of the essential parts of a business. Marketing automation is just one of how this tough job can be made a tad bit easier.

Proper lead generation can make your business grow excessively well. With the dawn of technology, where most businesses have started using even artificial intelligence to improve their work, marketing automation is a boon.

The number of possibilities has increased ten-fold with such marketing automation software. However, it depends entirely on how and up to what extent they are willing to use this technology for their benefit.

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Is Automation Truly Coming for White Collar Jobs?

For years, we’ve been hearing that automation is coming to white collar jobs, crossing a barrier that we previously thought uncrossable. But is this truly the case? And if so, which white collar jobs are the most susceptible to being replaced?

Blue Collar vs. White Collar: The Automation Dilemma

Historically, blue collar jobs have been the most vulnerable to AI and automation. This is because blue collar jobs tend to have a handful of qualities that make them relatively easy to replace.

These jobs are:

  • Predictable. First, these jobs are predictable. They tend to unfold in the same ways; the potential problems are easy to anticipate and list, and most of these problems can be resolved in a formulaic way. There are few external variables that can influence the course of action in these positions.
  • Repetitive. These jobs are also highly repetitive. The first day on the job looks very similar to a day three years into the job. You can set a schedule and follow it consistently, and there aren’t many curveballs or surprises.
  • Low risk. Though some blue collar jobs deal with multimillion dollar equipment and high-stakes orders, many positions are relatively low risk. They deal with production and other low-level tasks, so mistakes and errors aren’t especially costly.
  • Easy to learn. For both AI systems and humans, these jobs are relatively easy to learn. There may be lots of facts to memorize and demand for practice, but anyone with a high school degree and a willingness to learn can get the hang of things in a matter of days (or a matter of hours for adaptive AI).

For example, learning to complete a task on an assembly line is relatively easy. Almost anyone, including a machine, can learn the steps necessarily to efficiently and safely produce an item.

By contrast, many white collar jobs are:

  • Unpredictable. The problems you face in a white collar position are often more nuanced or qualitative than those in blue collar jobs; this makes them unpredictable, and therefore hard for an AI to learn.
  • Multifaceted. High-ranking, white collar professionals typically juggle many different types of responsibilities. Consider the founder of a new business, who must make decisions related to marketing, HR, accounting, and product development all in the same day.
  • High risk. The stakes are often higher in high-ranking white collar jobs. People in the highest positions often make decisions and take actions that can influence the movement of millions of dollars—and a mistake can be deadly.
  • Hard to learn. Though many white collar jobs are easily learnable, some require many years of effort. A human being may require several years of university-level education, combined with many years of onsite experience, to do the job effectively. An AI, at current levels of sophistication, may require an exceptional length of time to do its job effectively—and even then, it may need additional supervision.

For example, making decisions as a CMO requires you to incorporate many different types of information, and respond to an ever-changing work environment. To be an effective CMO, you need years of education and experience, and you’ll be making decisions that can impact multi-billion dollar corporations in some cases.

Advancing AI

AI is constantly getting better, so from a certain perspective, it’s only a matter of time before AI algorithms become sophisticated enough to handle more complicated jobs.

We’ve already seen this play out in a handful of areas. For example, AI is being increasingly used in the marketing industry to crunch numbers and intelligently recommend new strategies. It’s being used to write content on a regular basis—and the content it produces is almost indistinguishable from content generated by human writers. AI is also being used in the medical field, responsible for executing precise surgeries on patients and analyzing and filling prescriptions for patients in a pharmacist role.

Perhaps the most promising area of development in AI and automation is the inclusion of human emotion. Engineers are developing chatbots and other forms of AI that can both “understand� and replicate human emotions; in the near future, you may be able to have an open conversation about your feelings to an AI-based, virtual HR rep. You may hear notes of compassion in the voice of a chatbot when you call a customer service line. You may even rely on an AI algorithm in a therapy session.

Tech optimists see these forms of progress as an indication of where we’re headed. In 1996, AI was sophisticated enough to beat the human chess champion Garry Kasparov in a game of chess. In 2015, AI became sophisticated enough to beat human go players (with go being considered one of the most complex traditional games). It wasn’t that long ago that it was considered impossible for computers to become advanced enough to beat human players in either chess or go.

The mentality here is that we’ve seen AI do “impossible� things on a consistent basis. Every year, we develop machines to accomplish something new that was previously thought to be unthinkable. Following this line of logic, it’s hard to assert that there’s anything truly impossible for machines to do.

AI and Humans: A Perfect Partnership?

Of course, just because AI could have the power to accomplish human responsibilities doesn’t mean AI is going to replace human beings in a takeover of their current jobs. There are a number of possibilities that could allow humans and AI to work together in harmony.

In the first vision, AI is merely used to handle responsibilities that humans can’t handle, for one reason or another. For example, completely automated surgery may be reserved for handling surgeries when human surgeons are busy or unavailable; there’s a doctor shortage in the United States, and AI-based systems could arise to help fill the void, thereby jeopardizing few (if any) human jobs.

In another vision, AI could mostly serve as a complement to human thinking. Rather than depending exclusively on human creativity or AI-powered calculus, the best systems would reflect a partnership between these modes. Human beings in analyst and creative positions would utilize AI as tools to enhance their own skills, knowledge, and abilities. Their abilities would be enhanced, rather than replaced.

It’s also worth noting that AI could replace some human responsibilities without actually replacing the humans engaging in those responsibilities. For example, if part of your job is generating marketing reports, the AI could take over that portion of your workday—and you could spend more time handling other, more complex responsibilities. In this vision, the nature of white collar work would gradually change, with white collar workers taking on bigger, higher-level, and more complex responsibilities over time. This could result in an even bigger skill gap between blue collar and white collar workers, and spur a number of problematic economic side effects; however, it wouldn’t mean the true end of any white collar jobs.

Where Humans Still Excel

For all its advancements, it’s unlikely that AI will be able to trounce human beings in certain areas. For example, even the best AI algorithms we can imagine will only be able to replicate human emotions; they won’t be able to offer sincere empathy. Many customers, patients, and other consumers will strongly prefer a customer experience in the form of a personal interaction, no matter how “good� the AI alternative is.

Additionally, humans remain far superior to machines when it comes to generating novel concepts, imagining creative solutions, and making sense of complex ideas. at the very least, human minds will need to work together with AI to come up with the best ideas and resolutions.

The Bottom Line

So what’s the bottom line here—is automation truly “coming for white collar jobs?� The answer is yes and no. There are already many white collar applications that are being handled by advanced AI algorithms and machines, and the capabilities of these systems are only going to expand in the immediate future. White collar workers in all industries and at all levels will need to remain adaptable, and prepare to forge a place for themselves in an evolving technological workplace.

However, threats that white collar jobs will be replaced by machines, leaving behind a tormented trail of unemployment and depression, are mostly unfounded scaremongering. It’s unlikely that humans will be totally replaced, so long as they’re willing to grow, learn, and change with these new technologies.

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How Today’s Startups Can Adapt to a Globally Distributed Model

globally distributed model

The world of work is transforming. Although it’s tempting to blame it all on the coronavirus situation and its formidable ripples, the pandemic only accelerated the processes of globalization and digitization that have been underway for decades.

Among its many implications, the digital office means that jobs don’t necessarily need to be done in-person, and today’s startup leaders are realizing that many projects can be done at a lower cost remotely, without any drop in quality.

Still, COVID-19 helped tip the balance towards a globally distributed model.

Factors that are tipping the scales

Government restrictions and fears of infection pushed companies that had previously held out to accept remote working, and many discovered that it’s more manageable than they had expected. Managers realized that there’s little difference between employees working from home on the other side of town and employees working on the other side of the world.

What’s more, outsourcing projects and ongoing operations to offshore teams on a contract basis is a more flexible model that’s easy to scale. A flexible model is especially helpful for startups that can’t always predict what talent they will need when, and have low budgets that force them to hire for project work instead of filling in-house positions.

Given the economic fallout from COVID-19, more and more companies are falling into this category, with an estimated 41% of startups nearing the end of their funding runways, according to Startup Genome.

And finally, running subsidiaries and offices in numerous countries push business owners into overcoming mental barriers to global expansion.

A globally distributed business model allows you to hire the best talent wherever in the world it is. For example, the best R&D teams for your needs might be based in the Ukraine, whereas the best designers may be in Germany.

Transitioning to and managing a globally distributed model isn’t plain sailing. Obstacles to success include enabling collaboration and communication between geographically and culturally distant teams, handling multiple HR and tax requirements, and managing multi-faceted operations around time zone differences.

As with everything in startups, making this change is easier when you plan ahead, but companies that had globally distributed working forced upon them by COVID-19 can still make life easier by following these suggestions.

Automate as much as possible

When you’re running a globally distributed business, you have to adhere to multiple regulations. Each country has different requirements for healthcare and social services contributions, tax obligations, and classifications for types of companies and their obligations to others. Some of these differences are dramatic, while others are nuanced.

For example, you may think you’re hiring a freelance outsourced team that doesn’t receive health benefits, but in your new worker’s home country, she may be considered a contracted employee, with all the rights that go along with that relationship.

In these complex situations, the more you can automate, the better. “Moving to remote work is more than simply changing from an office environment to a distributed workforce,� Papaya Global’s Alex Margolin reminds us. “In the long run, taking advantage of the opportunity remote work offers means building a global vision. This starts with implementing automated tools that will allow your company to grow.�

Automation also helps overcome the dreaded impact of time zones on scheduling. Automated scheduling platforms and smart shared calendars convert meeting times into local time for each participant – and help you check the time in different time zones before you accidentally schedule a meeting for 3am in India.

Create a cohesive team

Whether you’re hiring workers for a short project, setting up a long-term outsourced team, establishing an international partnership, or connecting with a third-party vendor or supplier, it’s vital to support effective communication and collaboration. The various branches of your business can have different work practices and cultural assumptions that can lead to clashes unless you facilitate a smooth working relationship and personal interaction.

As IBM CIO Fletcher Previn puts it, “Some of the biggest challenges for employees revolved around simple human-to-human interaction. When you’re working in an office, it’s easy to have impromptu interactions with colleagues and build friendships.â€�

You need to help everyone connected with your company to feel part of a global team instead of a group of collaborating clusters and individuals. People crave a sense of belonging to something larger than themselves – this depth of cross-functional engagement boosts satisfaction, decreases churn, and increases productivity across the organization.

Previn’s recommendations are to “Define clear guidance, rules, and policies. Train employees on remote etiquette and provide tools for teams to collaborate and contribute.” And no, email is not enough; you’ll need many communication and collaboration channels, including messaging apps and video-conferencing platforms.

Establish policies that promote connection, like a virtual happy hour or fun conversations. Celebrating every holiday in every culture and country where any of your workers are located can also strengthen the sense of being part of a diverse, global team.

Open up access to information

When business lines stretch across countries, time zones, and continents, data can easily get lost along the way.

Remote workers, outsourced teams, distanced managers, suppliers, and more can all struggle to access the information they need at the right time. Time differences can leave knowledge workers waiting 24 hours or more just to get access to one file.

Data is the lifeblood of every business, so it’s vital to set up practices and platforms that enable everyone to get timely responses to questions, find documents, and more. Embed data and analytics in a way that allows all employees, workers and partners to access them and draw actionable insights, without compromising on security, and data protection compliance.

Support agile working practices

Succeeding with a globally distributed business means decentralizing the hierarchy into a flatter organization.

The fast-paced business world favors small, nimble teams that support agile decision-making. C-suite executives must devolve responsibility onto team managers and experts on the ground, giving them the authority to take the initiative and make decisions – otherwise, your global business will be stifled by bottlenecks.

This intersects with the need for good communication to build trust relationships and remove the urge to micromanage. In the words of Owen McGab Enaohwo, CEO and co-founder of SweetProcess, “Micromanagement derails active and ready-to-work employees — ensure that you maintain a certain level of trust, and you randomly check in on your team from time to time. This will help them perform efficiently and productively.�

Delegating authority to your distributed workers makes them more productive and happier. Slack found that 86% of people who enjoy working remotely say that they have a great deal of autonomy at work, while 77% of people who don’t like remote working say they lack autonomy.

A globally distributed model is attainable

Invest in advanced tech to automate awkward processes and improve communication and trust; support free access to the necessary data; and give all participants in a globally distributed business the responsibility they need to do their jobs effectively.

Globally distributed companies are the future for business, but they require the right mindset.

Image Credit: ketut subiyant; pexels

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Knowing WFH Preferences Key to Employee Recruitment and Retention

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It’s no secret that there’s substantial competition in the tech industry for great talent. Understanding what motivates employees and what type of work environments they prefer can go a long way in attracting the best tech talent.

As a result of the pandemic impacting the future of work, major tech companies are taking note and implementing policies that allow for greater flexibility and are now bolstering their Work from Home options. For example, Twitter recently announced a new policy allowing employees to work from home forever. Facebook and Google also extended their remote opportunities for employees through the end of the year and summer 2021, respectively.

When organizations listen to and understand their workforce’s preferences about what type of work environment drives motivation, productivity and work satisfaction, it enables them to create a work culture in which employees are engaged, which is especially vital during times of disruption and fundamental change.

New trends in WFH preferences

According to a Gallup poll, 62% of employed Americans say they have worked from home during the COVID-19 crisis. Of those, three in five would prefer to continue working remotely even once current health restrictions are lifted.

In a recent global survey from ABBYY evaluates the ways that quarantine has changed the way employees work. Respondents (53%) said that going forward, they would prefer an arrangement that enables flexibility between working from home and working in the office. Many indicated they prefer either splitting their time 50/50 or working mostly from home with some days in the office.

Employees cite greater productivity working from home

The ABBYY survey found that 43% of respondents noted they were more productive working from home than in an office. Other studies have also found increased employee productivity in remote environments. A Stanford study found gains of up to 22% when it came to employee performance and productivity while working from home.

Reducing employee attrition rates

In the Stanford research, employees who worked from home noted improved work satisfaction, and their attrition rate halved. Employee motivation can play a key role in overall work satisfaction levels. In the ABBYY study, 35% of respondents said they felt more motivated working from home than in an office. Furthermore, almost half (44%) of respondents said that working from home has decreased their overall stress levels. Understanding what motivates employees helps organizations to effectively develop work cultures, policies, and structures that enhance employee retention rates and can also help attract the best talent.

Enhanced work-life balance

Work-life balance has always been a prime concern for employees. Even more so now as the lines between professional life and personal life become blurred with many employees balancing homeschooling their children and managing new household responsibilities all while learning to work in, what is for many, a new type of environment.

One of the most significant advantages for employees in being able to work from home is increased time with family and loved ones. In the ABBYY survey, half of the respondents (50%) noted that spending more time with their families was one of the most significant advantages of being able to work from home. The majority of respondents (56%) also noted that working from home has impacted their work-life balance positively.

Improving the employee experience

Work from Home Preferences Have Evolved as a Result of the Pandemic

The recent disruption in traditional office structures has led many organizations to re-evaluate many longstanding notions of standard work structures and consider new ways to enhance the employee experience and productivity.

Organizations that motivate their employees and create a desirable work environment empower employees to contribute at their highest level. In some organizations, business leaders have accomplished this by reducing or eliminating mundane, repetitive tasks from employee workflows by leveraging automation.

For example, many banks have recently accelerated the adoption of automation tools such as robotic process automation (RPA) and content intelligence to free their employees from paperwork-heavy and time-consuming tasks of data entry, sifting through paperwork, preparing loan applications and processing supporting documentation. This has freed a significant degree of employee time and employer resources.

Understanding what motivates employees can go a long way in attracting the best tech talent.

Recent research from IDC reveals that in the next two years, 18% of administrative tasks will be performed by software robots. Leveraging automation tools to automate repetitive, mundane tasks can go a long way in enabling employees to focus on creative, engaging and meaningful responsibilities.

In addition to freeing employees from tedious administrative responsibilities, automation tools can also help employees make better decisions. The IDC research also found that technology evaluating information will grow by 28% in two years.

Automation can also help provide employees with new capabilities. Equipping employees with new skills via easy-to-use low-code automation solutions strengthen their role as citizen developers and empowers them to assume a greater role in enterprise digital transformation initiatives.


Thriving in the new era of work

The overnight shift to WFH highlighted the many inefficiencies with internal workflows and business processes, and that most staff do not follow processes very often. To identify which processes would be the best fit for automation opportunities, and how the staff interacts with them, it’s valuable to have visibility into all operations across the organization.

However, trying to do so manually or with standalone systems is often insufficient. Innovative technology has emerged, such as process intelligence tools, that leverage an organization’s real-time data to provide a bird’s eye view into its ecosystem of processes. This enables leaders to enhance process efficiencies and choose the best processes for automation that free employees from repetitive tasks and enhance the employee experience.

The future of work is changing rapidly. Organizations that are agile, able to adapt quickly, and create engaging work environments that motivate their employees and attract the best talent will be well-positioned to lead in the new era of work.

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How Robotic Process Automation Can Revolutionize How Startups Manage Data and Empower Employees

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Automation has evolved to become essential in the composition of startups worldwide. Every ambitious company from Seoul to San Diego is now looking to automate their operations as a means of fending off competition and staying competitive.

Robotic process automation (RPA) has been identified by many entrepreneurs as an essential tool in optimizing business processes in a cost-effective manner. Tractica has estimated that the RPA market will see revenues of over $5bn by 2025.


(Tractica reporting suggests that global RPA revenue will top $5bn by 2025. Image: Tractica)

The future is clearly bright for RPA technology and startups looking to manage large volumes of data without committing too much time and money to the challenge. The significance of automation is that it can accelerate the growth of small businesses in a way that wasn’t possible before. Here’s a deeper look into the revolutionary influence that RPA is having over fledgling businesses:

Intelligent Data Processing

Many startups and project managers are capable of accessing large swathes of information but don’t possess the kind of technology that helps them to make real use of it. However, RPA helps users to access varied and extensive use cases from the data they obtain. RPA is a form of data management that can ultimately prove essential in helping businesses to strategically grow from their formative months and years.

Process mining can aid companies in gaining a stronger understanding of the processes involved in the actions that RPA undertakes. When something is automated using RPA, it’s possible to break it down into component parts and the various stages involved while finding areas in which to practice more efficiently and time management.

Process Simulations

Process simulations help users to supply information into a computer before letting it complete a prospective task. This form of hypothetical automation can allow you to calculate and re-calculate how best to approach tasks and see which method brings the most efficiency for your startup without having to focus time and effort on actually undertaking it.

Process simulations are an excellent way for startups and project managers to figure out the most effective way of operating and possibly even change existing setups on the fly – should it be deemed necessary.

The Next Generation of Data Management

RPA is highly useful when it comes to the storing of data, and has the potential to bring efficiency to data cleansing, normalization, data wrangling, and the creation or updating of metadata.

Many startups are required to indulge in some form of data entry throughout their respective lifespans. When data entry is conducted by human hands, the repetitive tasks carry a relatively high rate of error compared to automated alternatives.

By utilizing RPA to manage data entry, it’s possible to automatically screen for errors and irregularities within datasets, move data between different storage systems and eradicate duplicated metadata among other tasks.

By utilizing RPA solutions, it’s possible to make your data go further. It’s also possible to simulate tasks in a way that can help you to effectively A/B test your processes to keep ahead of your early competitors.

Easy Efficiency

Using RPA is an effective way of boosting productivity within your workplace. The beauty of RPA solutions is that they require very little technical understanding from users in order to utilize them effectively. Simply speaking, the software follows the instructions of the user and automates its given tasks. This makes it relatively straightforward to replicate the repetitive tasks involved in data entry and the addition of metadata for startups to focus employee energy on other vital tasks.

It’s important for startups to respect the resources available to them and use them in an efficient manner. The implementation of RPA into a startup enables business owners to reallocate staff in order to tend to more pressing matters, due to their workloads being free from repetitive tasks.

Reallocations also allow staff to take more time in their work, creating more creative solutions, and applying more care to the process of undertaking more complex business tasks.

Regardless of how you decide to implement RPA, your team would need to be a big part of the process involved. The reason behind this is that they will already possess a fundamental understanding of said processes and will likely be skilled in finding the most efficient ways in which RPA can undertake work.

Once your RPA system is in place, it’s vital that you use your new resources to their full potential. For instance, you could use the technology to provide support to a section of your startup that’s understaffed, or forecast to require more output in order to support the business’ growth.

Here, it’s vital to remember that automation will only provide users with efficiency and cost-effective processes by allocating the technology to the right areas of your organization.

Automation to Bring Employee Empowerment

The early life of a startup can be a delicate and tentative time for business owners. There are plenty of ways to access funding and prepare your endeavor for its entry onto the market. However, small businesses with fewer employees face a constant challenge in ensuring that all workers remain motivated and committed to the startup.

While automation can help to make employees more efficient, some business owners may be fearful of utilizing automation in the workplace due to the level of disruption it may cause.

However, studies from HR Technologist have shown that 92% of organizations have seen employments in employee satisfaction levels as a result of intelligent automation and robotic process initiatives.

While some employees are perceived to be fearful of automation, reports suggest that the removal of manual and time-consuming workloads aids workers in focussing on more engaging activities.

Increasing the time employees spend on more rewarding and engaging workloads also helps them to increase their motivation for tasks. This can be a key factor in ensuring workers communicate effectively with customers and optimize their own output in a way that helps startups to establish themselves faster during those tentative early months.

Ensuring that your approach to automation efforts keep your employees happy in their line of work is more important than a lot of business owners may know.

The most effective work will often come from contented employees, and it’s important to utilize RPA in a way that gets rid of the workloads that your employees are least engaged in. In doing this, it’s possible to have a positive effect on worker attitudes and your startup’s overall performance.

Employees that approach their work in a positive mindset can help to reduce the costs of staff turnover and the impact of HR tasks associated with recruitment and training.

The early days of a startup are the most important in its lifespan. By failing to optimize your operations, it could cost your business valuable working hours and damage the satisfaction levels of both your employees and customers.

While embracing automation may cost money to set up, it can work wonders in saving money across various other departments – especially when it comes to recruitment and manual tasks. In a competitive landscape that often treats new businesses harshly, RPA can help startups to attain a fighting chance of survival where hope may otherwise be lost.

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Prioritizing Revenue Capture: Why Sales Order Management Needs to be Automated

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Businesses have known for years that digital transformation needs to happen. However, many companies have struggled to initiate Digital Transformation in an effective way, and most DT initiatives have failed to fulfill their goals. Here is: prioritizing revenue capture and why sales order management needs to be automated.

Digital transformation: no more delaying.

Historically, a big cause of DT struggles has been a lack of buy-in from the executive level. Without the support of this kind, initiatives tend to flounder. Why? Because DT is less about technology and more about a top-level business strategy that can drive investments and business decisions.

Without this momentum, the best technology in the world will struggle to take hold.

The turbulence of recent months is putting an end to DT sluggishness.

Executives are properly turning their attention to the potential of DT initiatives, and driving their implementation. Organizations that were dabbling in digital transformation are now rushing to prioritize it, acutely aware that the proper prioritization of digital transformation projects can lead to hundreds of millions in savings.

And so what is the broader, executive-level vision that should underpin this newfound executive enthusiasm for DT?

A key part (perhaps the key part) of digital transformation is automation. As Forrester put it, in December of 2019: “The organization of the future depends on automation to create massive efficiencies and new capabilities,� and embraces automation as a way “to unleash human capital to pursue more creative, higher-value goals.�

Where to start with automation?

Automation is at the core of most successful digital transformation projects. This is why we are seeing various forms of AI enjoying massive adoption across multiple industries. But lots of organizations aren’t sure where to start executing on automation-driven digital transformation projects. Which part of the business? What department? What are the goals?

Here’s the answer: start with low risk, a fast time-to-value process that impacts the most important part of your business: revenue.

One of the easiest places to locate such processes is in the supply chain. The supply chain is benefitting from a range of automation and automation-adjacent technologies (including Blockchain). And one element of the supply chain that is ripe for automating is sales order management.

Sales order processing: Ditching the manual.

A large portion of small business owners is still running manual supply chains. In the US alone, 49% of total B2B sales — totaling $7.37 trillion — are still processed manually.

These stats mean that the conversion of purchase orders into sales orders still happens the way it did decades ago: By hand, one by one. Customer service representatives take a purchase order and manually key it in, doing their best not to make a mistake.

That process is terribly inefficient. With manual sales order processing, you see:

  • 20-30 minutes of manual entry time per order
  • An average cost per order of $9.05
  • CSRs spend 2 to 3 hours a day re-entering orders with errors
  • The order to cash cycle stretches out to an average of 45 days

Some businesses have tried to improve this dated approach with robotic process automation. But RPA is a hit and miss technology. According to Gartner, 50% or more of RPA implementations fail to deliver sustainable returns on the investment. Instead, by 2022, 80% of organizations that pursue a cloud-first strategy will forego the use of RPA in favor of low-code integration platforms.

What sales order processing needs is true automation.

With real automation, a company can automatically convert purchase orders from its customers into sales orders and directly enters those sales orders into their clients’ ERP systems. This isn’t OCR, which still comes with errors. This is a data extraction technology that lifts the text out of a document with 100% accuracy, removing the need for someone to manually review the document.

With a sales order automation solution, over 80% of orders can be “touchlessâ€� – meaning there is zero human involvement in the process of a purchase order turning into an (error-free) sales order. This drastically increases an organization’s capacity to process their customer orders, while substantially shortening the fulfillment time. The outcome? Better revenue, better ROI, and better customer experience.

With this level of sales order automation, you can go from order emailed to shipment in less than 15 minutes. Cost per order falls drastically, to less than a dollar per order. And FTEs who were previously spending hours entering orders can be freed up to focus on increasing the level of customer service and engaging in activities that actually drive revenue.

The future is digitally transformed.

Digital transformation can be a daunting task. It’s hard to know where to begin, and hard to be sure you’ll succeed. This is why starting with sales order automation is smart. It’s an easy-to-understand business process that directly impacts revenue. If you could allocate fewer resources to it, then you will recapture revenue.

Global connectivity means that sluggish and inefficient supply chains hurt everyone. For companies that hesitated to digitize, the end is now.

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Automation vs AI – Who Runs the World of Digital Ads?

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We live in a world where each day new technologies with a mission to make our lives easier comes out. Today people can freely enjoy driverless cars, cleaning robots, while ad managers still have to test advanced AI-based solutions offered by the market. They try to find a tool that will help them with customer segmentation and engagement, targeting, and media-buying decisions. Why everything isn’t working in the way it should in the environment of the digital ad? But, who runs the world of digital ads?

In reality, there are hundreds of interesting studies hidden behind loud and bold headlines asserting us that the industry has never been so close to the goal of adopting human-level AI. According to a survey by Advertiser Perceptions, 50% of advertisers have no plans to use AI in their marketing. 56% do believe AI could negatively affect their brands, diminishing creativity, and products’ differentiation.

It’s interesting how all these opinions can get along with the fact that more than 3/4 of global spending on digital display advertising is automated. Does it mean that all this hype around AI for digital ads is just a bubble or we simply expect too much from this technology today?

Do we expect too much from AI for digital ads?

Let’s be honest here. There are two basic things that are expected from AI: cost-cutting and revenue increase. Otherwise, there’s no reason to invest in its development. In the current economic situation hardly any company will want to invest in AI-platform building just to write another press-release. But what are the AI-based solutions for media-buyers that are available now on the market? Generally, they can be divided into 4 main groups:

  • Ad creation

AI creates ads based on products and a promo strategy. With the help of Natural Language Processing and Natural Generation Technologies AI can write copies and suggest the best visuals.

  • Ad exchange

The best example is an up-to-date Real-Time -Bidding platform. The role of Artificial Intelligence is to regulate the sales processes of advertising in real-time. The bad thing about this is that they most often won’t agree to reveal how their AI actually works. So, it’s hard to adjust and be sure of the process’s transparency.

  • Performance and spend optimization

In this case, AI, most specifically, Machine Learning algorithms track ads performance across platforms and offer recommendations for ad campaign improvements based on the data they have.

  • Advanced targeting

Based on the characteristics of past audiences and campaign performance, AI-based solutions identify trends and advise audiences similar to the best performers.

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Now we need to understand, what are the reasons why it doesn’t work.


Why AI doesn’t show the expected results


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  • Data inaccuracy and insufficiency

The first big thing is the accuracy and the relevancy of the data marketers and ad managers feed to AI. To make the right decision, AI needs loads of data, which SMBs simply might not have. Moreover, not all companies use reliable and secure methods of tracking their ads and users. So, some data can be missed or unreliable. It happens quite often if a business relies on 3-rd party cookies as they can be easily deleted by users or browsers. In this case, Even minor inaccuracies can lead to completely misleading conclusions.

  • Inability to act in a changeable environment

Another thing is that AI performs poorly in situations it hasn’t met before. If you have a narrowly defined task in a predictable and stable environment and a clear set of data, then, go ahead. But if we are talking about a complex and ever-changing digital landscape, chances are high that AI won’t cope with it.

  • The Lack of creativity

The third thing is that AI lacks creativity and ingenuity. So, even in case of a super-advanced AI, it still needs human supervision and oversight. There is still no technology that is able to think outside the box better than a human being.

  • The high cost

The last thing is the current cost of AI-based solutions. This point is more about SMBs, as high prices don’t usually scare big and profitable companies. Even so, they have to deal with another problem: talent hiring. 58% of marketers say that attracting and retaining talent is one of the serious challenges of building AI-based ad platforms in-house.

Automation vs Artificial Intelligence for running digital ads

It seems like AI hasn’t been able to achieve its goal so far. Today’s solutions are still unable to replace or supersede human behavior and intelligence. And it shouldn’t be so surprising. In fact, still, not all companies were able to take advantage of an earlier trend – ad automation. Some may even think that Automation and AI are synonyms, but is it really so?

The main difference between these two is that automation algorithms don’t try to beat human brains and make something extra. They are related to sophisticated, but simple rules and explicit programming which can take a big part of the nitty-gritty on themselves by working with unified sets of real-time data.

According to, software automation can save up to date 30% of their time. Not only that, but it optimizes your campaigns for higher CTR and lowers CPC. You set rules for the traffic, algorithms perform the needed actions until the goal is reached.

Good news – automation brings much more transparency to your advertising activities and gives a full understanding of what’s going on with your ad campaigns. Bad news – there’s still no such tool that is able to automate all the process through campaign creation to reporting. Human touch is needed, but only for strategic work.

How digital marketers can benefit from Automation?

The world of existing automated features is huge. To decide whether you really need them or not, simply prioritize your daily tasks and determine the most time-consuming ones and decide if their automation can really help you focus on what’s truly important. The longer the task takes to perform, the bigger the benefits from their automation.

Here we’ll try to explain automation processes and features based on today’s advanced ad trackers. RedTrack asked their clients to name 4 most time-consuming processes they would be happy to delegate or automate:

  1. Ad campaign set-up
  2. Creatives testing
  3. Performance monitoring
  4. Budget updates.

There can be a large number of offers from different brands on the market. Let’s take a look at 4 most popular solutions today’s tools that may solve the aforementioned problems effectively: automatically generated scripts, automate Rules, Reports, creatives rotation.

The best digital ads automation practices currently exist on the market:

digital marketing automation

  • Automatically generated scripts

It’s great if you’re a digital marketer with a coding background or at least some basic skills. But, as practice shows, most digital marketers don’t. So, automatically generated scripts can not only save your time but can result in smaller issues or opportunities you may have missed. In fact, if anything goes wrong, you can always contact the support team and ask for professional help ( Hope there will be no need, though). Another modification of automatically generated scripts is ready-made templates.

  • Automated rules

Running digital ads isn’t a quiet and peaceful process. You have to go back and force every five minutes to check if everything is okay in your account. Did you stop the campaign at the right moment? Didn’t you exceed the budget? Does everything you do actually work? Automated Rules take this stressful part of your daily job on themselves. Google Ads were the first to implement them back in 2018, but if you prefer to work with multiple ad networks, then it’s time to look for an ad tracker with automated rules.

  • Reports

Reports are probably the most important element of any ad campaign. With the help of automated algorithms, the main metrics are calculated, the data is distributed in the right columns and you have it organized in the way you really need it to be. If the tool has an open-API, you can build your custom reports in seconds.

  • Creatives management

A/B testing is the key to understanding conversions problems. If some of your creatives are not as efficient as others, advanced ad trackers can change the weights and redistribute traffic to the best performer. So, once the tool has enough data, the leading creative will stay in the rotation, giving others less weight or stopping them at all.

Summing up

While most advertisers still are not satisfied with what AI-based ad tech companies offer to them, they still hope the market offer will go far beyond replacing manual tasks by algorithms.

They want machine learning or AI to handle more complex media-buying decisions. But while the industry is in the trial-and-error period, we can rightfully take advantage of the benefits from automation solutions and hope for the best.

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The Untapped Opportunities in Real Estate Automation

Real estate technology, or proptech, is one of the industries that has produced the most unicorns in the last few years. Historically, however, the real estate industry has been among the lowest spenders by sector on technology. Despite being slow to adopt new technologies, real estate contributes 13% of US GDP, making it the country’s largest industry.

Such a large sector represents a huge market ripe for technological disruption, especially in the post-Covid-19 world.

How automation can improve the real estate process

Automated real estate transactions will soon be the norm. By digitizing documents and paper trails, technology improves information security for both consumers and agents. Processing payments digitally also increase transaction security and speed.

Many automated tools help reduce busywork for agents, freeing up their time to focus on tasks that require a personal touch, like building client relationships.

Automation can also help agents maintain consistent timelines and messaging. The expanded capacity to collect and analyze data allows agents to create informed strategies and concrete measures of success.

As a whole, automation saves agents time and generates more opportunities by scaling their efforts. This, in turn, creates more opportunities and increases revenue.

Over the last few years, the real estate industry has begun to prioritize technology.

With the addition of technology –large real estate corporations have hired CIOs and created technology budgets, and most agents recognize the importance of tech for remaining competitive. The consumer research experience has already been transformed, and 44% ( of buyers now begin searching for homes online.

The rest of the buying and selling process, however, can also be improved through technology that automates previously manual procedures.


The automated marketing tools market was valued at $3.3 billion in 2019 and is expected to nearly double by 2024. While agents can use much of the automated marketing technology that already exists, there is also a demand for marketing technology specifically adapted to real estate needs.

These real estate-focused tools help agents expand their reach and gain insight into their client base. For example, some real estate-focused tools generate targeted video and ad campaigns based on agency listings. Other marketing tools help agents create and manage social media campaigns across different platforms, automatically scheduling and publishing social media posts. Some even suggest existing relevant real estate content that agents can repost on their channels or use as inspiration.

Data analytic tools also help agents track content views and types of engagement. Based on that data, the software compares content performance, helping agents determine what marketing tactics are working best.

Lead Generation

Automation tools can also help agents generate more high-quality leads. Chatbots, for example, allow agents to engage with potential clients through their website at any time of day. The chatbots provide information that moves the lead down the pipeline, so they are better informed when they speak with the agent.

CRMs designed for agents sync with real estate search platforms and agency social media profiles to gather leads across channels. Then, activity tracking tools monitor and sync potential client activity.

Using this information, agents can adjust their outreach strategy for those potential clients. For some, an automated follow-up sequence triggered by specific activities can be activated. Meanwhile, other higher-quality leads might require more personal attention.

Lead scoring tools help agents determine which leads they should prioritize for personalized outreach. In tracking lead activity and source, these tools also show where the best quality leads are coming from, which helps inform marketing strategy.

For agencies with multiple agents, lead routing software can automatically assign leads to agents based on geographic location. By streamlining and improving the lead generation process, these technologies increase lead opportunities and reduce the time it takes to turn a lead into a customer.

Agents’ everyday workflows

In addition to expanding the lead pipeline, automation can help agents manage their everyday workflow. Agents are constantly juggling many clients at different points in their customer journey, and automatically generated task lists can help agents track and sync their activities for each client by stage. Tasks can be assigned deadlines with automatic reminders to keep agents on schedule.

Calendar automation simplifies scheduling with clients, allowing agents to set windows for types of appointments and block off times for inspections and showings. Thanks to calendar updates in real-time, clients can find an available time that works with their schedule, avoiding the back and forth that manual scheduling entails.

For agencies with multiple agents, automation tools sync any updated information or documents, keeping everyone on the same page, and increasing transparency. Agent activity can also be tracked and evaluated to determine performance across the team.

Transaction process

The transaction process to close deals with clients can also benefit from automation technology. For most agents, this process is currently complex, slow, and mostly analog. For the real estate sector alone, technology for managing the transaction process has been valued as a potentially $100 billion opportunity. As a result, fintech solutions are on the rise, with the adoption of fintech quadrupling from 2015 to 2019.

The transaction process involves many steps, each with the potential for improvement through automation. E-signature and e-notarization technology would speed up the signing procedures and increase process transparency. Digitized paperwork facilitates smart contracts, giving all the involved parties access to the most updated version of the agreement and prevents tampering.

Digital money transfers also offer a more secure option for agents and clients.

After a money transfer is made, blockchain technology could automate the digital paperwork update for a faster and smoother ownership transfer. Using technology, agents can improve the customer experience by providing an easier, quicker transaction process, which results both in satisfied customers and efficient agents.

A turning point for the real estate industry

Due to Covid-19, many agents have turned to new technology to continue working. This period will likely be a turning point, marking the start of large-scale adoption of real estate technology throughout the sector. With the market potential, and numerous opportunities to improve security, efficiency, and consistency, proptech will be an industry to keep an eye on.

Image Credit: Pixabay

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