Table of Contents
- 1 Data Entry Automation
- 1.1 How to reduce administrative costs
- 1.2 10 Data entry automation solutions to increase company revenue
- 1.3 Benefits of Office Automation
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions
Data Entry Automation
Data entry automation is the use of business process automation software to remove repetitive manual administration tasks from employee workloads, saving businesses time and money to improve performance and increase company revenue.
Business environments change over time, there are peak and off-season periods, economic growth, recessions and unforeseen circumstances, yet in many instances, business processes and overheads remain the same which can put a strain on company cash flow. As business requirements fluctuate, the ability to become flexible and overcome these challenges is at the forefront of the minds of many business owners and decision-makers.
The utilisation of automated data entry software to facilitate business process automation (BPA) provides organisations of all sizes with the ability to automate workflows that can be triggered from database changes and automate, adapt or re-write practically any number of manual data entry tasks to meet forever changing business environments and challenges, allowing them to be flexible to change. In short BPA software is often referred to as the virtual employee that works 24/7, 365 days a year that will save time, reduce operating costs in business, protect against future business conditions and help to sustain cash flow.
Data entry automation allows employees to concentrate on tasks that can add value to businesses such as growing revenue and increasing awareness. Business process automation software can be implemented across an organisation and streamline manual processes such as:
- Repetitive bi-directional data entry between systems and applications e.g. eCommerce, warehouse, couriers
- Creation and distribution of departmental reports and documents
- Communication between departments, customers or suppliers e.g. email, SMS etc.
- Approval workflows e.g. purchase orders, invoices, sales discounts that require a single level or multi-level approval
- Dynamic monitoring and reporting on the alteration of sensitive files or database fields
- Distribution of website generated enquiries
How to reduce administrative costs
Reducing administrative costs through small business automation can enable employees to add value in other areas of the business. Data entry automation frees up valuable employee time by removing intensive bi-directional data entry and other time-consuming tasks from their day-to-day duties.
Businesses deploy a wide range of business systems and applications that can be specific for a particular departments needs. This means that data is held in multiple databases making it disparate from other areas of the business. This, in turn, results in poor visibility and presentation of critical information. Business process automation software provides system integration between disparate systems and databases enabling systems to dynamically ‘talk to each other’. As a result, the consistency of critical business data is improved.
For example, an automated data entry process can be in the form of an eCommerce order management process. When a customer places an order within an online store, order and customer details need to be placed into your business software. Normally, this is a manual process with a time-starved employee manually inputting this information into an ERP / Accounting system. Manual data entry processes expose a business to data input errors and can be a slow and costly process which means that time delays can occur during peak seasonal times.
Another common example of how manual data entry can be automated is the parsing of CSV files between employees, suppliers, customers or remote sites to start, support or end a manual business process such as stock availability, contract renewal updates or current product prices and margins to reduce data entry errors.
System integration example to automate data entry tasks
Day to day administration tasks is often a cost that is overlooked by many businesses. Manually processing data means that management teams are constantly evaluating old data and performance and reviewing out-of-date financial reports. Business process automation removes these bottlenecks by evaluating data and monitoring database changes in real-time, assisting in providing senior employees with up-to-date information to improve decision making. It ensures that information and critical business data is correctly processed and available when it is needed to help avoid costly errors and exposure to financial risk.
Of course, data entry automation is one key area for businesses to explore when looking at cost reduction strategies. Additional areas of cost-saving within business can include the costs of office space, utilities and travel costs.
Learn how you can plan, define and implement your business process automation journey by downloading the BPA Project Management Workbook below or visit BPA Project Management.
10 Data entry automation solutions to increase company revenue
The following data entry automation solutions will help you to scale your business without having to hire additional employees and improve employee productivity by automating the repetitive administration tasks that cost your business time and money.
eCommerce order management: Automate the hidden costs of eCommerce order management to remove administration errors, reduce fulfilment times, increase product line profitability and ensure that stock and pricing are consistent in ERP and eCommerce systems. Additional areas include:
- eCommerce integration between ERP and eCommerce software e.g. Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, Amazon Marketplace etc.
- Payment Gateway integration for automated bank reconciliations e.g. Stripe, PayPal, WorldPay etc.
- Automated order management process
- Courier integration for quicker order fulfilment times e.g. Parcelforce, DPD, Royal Mail, FedEx
- Automatic product updates from ERP to eCommerce platform
Manual eCommerce order management process example before data entry automation
2. Accounting and Finance
Credit control automation: Provides a solution to enforce and automate credit control procedures to reduce aged debtor times, strengthen cash flow and remove error-prone administration by automating credit control letters, placing customers on credit hold and more without employee intervention. Ensure that cash flow is consistent by automating financial reports on a scheduled or data-base driven event. Additional areas include:
- Automated credit referencing of customers via services such as Creditsafe
- Expense management automation
- Automated reminders for annual returns such as tax and VAT
- Automatic creation and delivery of invoices and statements
- Financial report automation
3. Customer Services and Help Desk
Automated customer renewals: Automate the creation and distribution of email and letters to customers up for renewal based on business rules such as expiry within 30 / 60 / 90 days to reduce attrition costs, improve financial performance and remove time consuming administration from employee workloads. Additional areas for automation can include support ticket automation creation and delivery. Additional areas include:
- Customer self-service portal
- Automated creation and delivery of welcome packs, documents and statements
- Automatic creation and employee assignment of support tickets
- Automated escalation of old and unresolved support issues
- Automatic communication with customers regarding deliveries, new stock, services etc.
Automating data entry and back office operations allows manufacturers to become more profitable by improving cash flow, profitability and productivity by automating stock reports, courier integration, self-service supplier portals and credit control automation. Additional areas include:
- Introducing self-serve supplier portals
- Integration between ERP and accounting software
- Automatic calculation and distribution of KPI reports such as waste % per product line
- Event-driven information on stock levels to assess impact upon production techniques such as Just-In-Time (JIT)
- Automatic notification to other departments when manufacturing of key products is complete
5. Wholesale and distribution
Warehouse Alerts: Remove the reliance on employees to manually check on data by dynamically monitoring your business systems and applications for data changes and automate the creation and delivery of email / SMS alerts to increase the visibility of stock levels, order status, supplier schedules and customer demands. Additional wholesale distribution solutions include:
- Provide customers, suppliers and trading partners with self-service portals
- Report automation e.g. stock, pick lists, delivery notes, cash flow statuses, aged debtors etc.
- Credit control automation
- ERP, eCommerce and Courier service integration
- Automated alerts for stock level warnings, back orders now in stock, delivery alerts etc.
CRM integration: Integrating your CRM system with other business software enables your sales team to spend less time entering customer and sales data into business software, generating pipeline and KPI reports or searching for the correct contacts and more time speaking with existing customers and new business prospects. Additional sales team management solutions include:
- Automatic notifications of sales enquiries via websites that require follow up
- MS Exchange integration with CRM system
- Automatic price change notifications
- Automatically assign sales leads to relevant sales representatives
- Automatic notification of key customer accounts placed on credit hold within accounting software
Data Entry Automation Example: Sales quote approval process example
7. Human Resources
Providing your employees with a self-service working environment reduces the administrative strain on the HR team. A self-serve portal eradicates the need for colleagues to request individual records, HR policies, documentation and holiday requests allowing them to concentrate on other areas of the business. Additional data entry tasks that can be automated include:
- Automate new starter welcome emails including relevant documents and policies
- Automated holiday request approval workflow
- Automatic sickness monitoring with alerts sent to senior management if an employee has a high number of sick days
- Automated alerts to managers when an employee’s probation period is nearing its end
- Automate alerts and notifications for when employees start or leave
Data entry automation within the marketing department allows your marketing team to concentrate on improving marketing performance by removing manual tasks such as unsubscribes, updating eCommerce stores and entering sales leads from campaigns into CRM systems. Additional data entry tasks that can be automated include:
- CRM and email marketing integration e.g. Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sage CRM, dotdigital, MailChimp, HubSpot etc.
- Automation of upgrade, upsell or cross-sell marketing activities
- Automated SMS notifications and alerts for offers and promotional activities
- Automatically process unsubscribes from marketing campaigns
- Automatic monitoring of marketing databases and CRM systems for duplicate, poor quality or missing data
Back office automation helps operations teams to enforce consistent performance by automating common business activities such as creating pick lists, placing orders with courier services or creating web portals for customers and suppliers. Additional data entry tasks that can be automated to reduce costs include:
- Automated purchase ledger process and cross-referencing invoices against expected cost
- Automatic approval workflow for design, planning, production and quality control
- Automated database monitoring for stock levels and issuing of alerts when stock falls below agreed levels
- Automatically produce statistics required for quality schemes such as Six Sigma and ISO
- Creation of self-service web portals to reduce inbound and internal enquiries eating into employee time
10. Information Technology
At the forefront of data entry automation is the IT department. IT professionals can use business process automation software and low-code application tools to reduce bespoke development times and costs, helping you to implement changes quickly and effectively, as and when business conditions change. BPA Platform ensures that there is little, or no coding required in 90% of processes. In addition to IT professionals helping to automate business processes across the business, their administration and development times and costs can be improved too. Additional areas where IT process automation tools can be used to automate tasks that have high volume data to reduce costs include:
- Automated monitoring of key business systems and sending alerts via email or SMS
- Reduced bespoke app development and bespoke system integration times and costs using drag and drop tools e.g. BPA Platform and Applications Platform
- Automate the checking of available hard disk spaces on servers and sending alerts if this falls below thresholds with the option to automate deletions from Temp folders
- Deliver process automation projects quickly and cost-effectively with a set of tools that are compatible with any data source via ODBC, OLEDB, Web services or supported 3rd party APIs through connectors
- Utilise low-code application development tools to build 100% fit applications, bespoke add-ons and software for specific tasks
Benefits of Office Automation
Regardless of the size of your business or industry specialism, businesses are becoming more reliant on data to increase company revenue and become more productive. Data entry automation software streamlines your day-to-day business processes and removes bottlenecks and pain points that can occur with data entry errors and time delays in processing data. Some of the advantages of office automation include:
- Reduced operational costs
- Reduced administration errors
- Enforced workflow approval processes
- Removes the need for outsourcing as it acts like a virtual employee
- Achieve 100% accurate audit trails
- Increased visibility of critical business information
- Improved decision making
Data Entry Automation Next Steps
Codeless Platforms has a proven track record in providing business process automation and system integration solutions that help organisations get the most out of business data, reduce administration times and costs and improve company revenue. For more information on how BPA Platform can help you to improve company performance download the brochure below or call us on +44 (0)330 99 88 700.
Frequently Asked Questions
• Repetitive bi-directional data entry between systems and applications e.g. eCommerce, warehouse, couriers
• Creation and distribution of departmental reports and documents
• Communication between departments, customers or suppliers e.g. email, SMS etc.
• Approval workflows e.g. purchase orders, invoices, sales discounts that require a single level or multi-level approval
• Dynamic monitoring and reporting on the alteration of sensitive files or database fields
• Distribution of website generated enquiries