As a trend, automation isn’t new to the scene; however, over the next few years, technology will enable offices to automate in even more exciting and transformative ways, like never before. Automation got its foot in the door as organizations looked to automate repetitive and simplistic tasks as a brilliant way to save time, boost efficiency, and cut costs. Having proved its worth, automation is now poised to accomplish much more and have an even greater automated impact. Here are five automation trends to watch for:   

  1. Accommodations for Off-site Workers. More and more, working remotely is embraced by employers as well as employees. According to globalworkspaceanalytics.com, 50% of the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework, and 80% to 90% of the US workforce says they would to like to telework at least part time. Traditionally, to help workers stay flexible, companies incorporate mobile devices, collaborative software, and other technologies to assist teleworkers with uniformity and staying connected. Automation is another tool that can be utilized to strengthen this culture. Repetitive tasks that interfere with productivity, such as transferring information from an email to a calendar, or copying and pasting information onto a spreadsheet, can be mitigated through an automation service. When simple tasks are automated, more time becomes available for tasks that require critical thinking and personal expertise. Zapier is a remarkable example of automation services that benefit off-site workers.
  1. Collaborative Communication Systems. One of the biggest factors contributing to the success of any business is whether its employees perform well together, as a team. When a group of people work together to achieve a common goal, by sharing their ideas and skills, the effects can be even more powerful by utilizing a workflow system that incorporates automation. A high-performance automation platform will provide such features as notifications, role-based access content control, dashboards and visibility, and the capability of integrating with existing business systems.  You’ve heard the saying “a lid for every pot?” And so it is with collaboration. For project management, Trello is a remarkable, collaborative task tool. GitHub would be a great recommendation for software development, and Help Scout would be most helpful for customer support. Whatever your focus, there is a collaborative system to support your team.
  1. Data Exchange. A vital part of any office automation system is the facility of electronically exchanging data. Electronic transferring of data actually means the ability to share data, information, graphics, texts, audios, videos, and more, to more than one person at a time. It’s efficient and cost effective, and in today’s world, the electronic transferring of data is simple and user-friendly. The demand for this capability illustrates the collaborative nature of many businesses and the level to which they value the exchange of information.

Advancements in these data exchange systems also feature the instantaneous electronic sharing of information, simultaneously, between individuals or teams – whether they are in the same building, or on opposite ends of the globe. This kind of collaboration software is essentially an electronic meeting system, allowing participants spread throughout the building, city, or world, to instantaneously exchange information in real-time. Currently, the market demands that these exchanges take place without conflicts or technical difficulties. As a result, companies like Teem who offer meeting tools to support groupware are being lauded by companies who value data exchange.

  1. Customer Relationship Management. The trend with CRM automation is this: what was once desirable is now considered mandatory. Automated CRM platforms are invaluable tools for informing both when and how to reach out to your customers. Essentially, they track interactions with current and potential clients, and allow for customized communication with customers. Depending on the platform, some functions may include sending automated messages, streamlining workflows, and providing data to assist with strategic decisions in allocating resources. Tuned in to automation and what should be included in CRM software, Salesforce is a knowledgeable leader in the game of managing your company’s relationships and interactions with current and prospective customers. Upping their game, Salesforce has recently increased its strength in the market by partnering with IBM Watson, the leading AI platform for doing business, globally. This partnership will allow for increased customer insights and provide a powerful, heightened level of intelligent customer engagement across such areas as sales, service, marketing, commerce, and more.
  1. Security. From here to eternity, as we live and conduct business online, Internet security is only going to be of greater and more significant priority. Your favorite apps, access to various SaaS, consumer and business spending – they are similar in that they are all password protected. Managing numerous passwords can be overwhelming, even time consuming. Watch for companies like 1Password who will serve as a one-stop password shop – allowing you to remember just the one password, which then automates the app to generate the rest and safely stores all passwords for a swift retrieval.