For a firm that constantly seeks to remain competitive and improve its bottom-line, striving to increase productivity while reducing costs is a persistent battle. Automation goes an extra mile in ensuring companies gain a competitive advantage by making them operationally efficient and effective to withstand the extremely harsh corporate operating environment. Automation is the use of applications and technology to replace redundant steps from their processes while increasing efficiency. The automation methodology adopted by entities should be customized depending on their current business needs.
Business Process Modelling (BPM) plays a crucial role in automation. It is vital for a business to create a business process model of standard operating procedures and processes in order to understand the current operating environment and determine which areas need to be streamlined. Once you have mapped out the processes, understood them as-is and automated those that need to be automated, it is easier to streamline the business workflow and in return increase the overall productivity of the business. Gradually you start to reap the benefits, some of which we will now take a look at.
Automation saves on resources. Manpower, time, paper, money…you name them. For any organization, resource saving is important. Streamlining processes helps to reduce manual labor and as a result, resources are redistributed to more crucial areas of the business that really need it.
Creation of a sustainable Business Process Model. We have established that it is important to have a BPM during automation. Once you have this, it is easy to keep track of your processes, to understand which ones need not only automation but improvement, re-engineering and which ones need to be phased out. This promotes your business sustainability and increases your chances of noticing a problem in good time.
Quality assurance through reduction or elimination of manual processes. Automation drastically reduces the probability of human error and oversight tasks. System-performed tasks are often less prone to errors compared to human-oriented tasks. This means that output produced is of quality and this, in turn, makes your brand more reliable.
Competitive advantage. Automation of business processes is fundamental to acquiring competitive advantage in one’s business environment. The combination of process improvements, communication, quality assurance and cost reductions all greatly contribute to ensuring that you stay afloat and ahead of your competition. It is important to note that success in business does not stop at automation; in fact, technology is simply an enhancer/enabler of success. Ensure that there is constant market research and analysis of new risks and opportunities, and adapt to the environment.
So how has Cytonn benefited from automation?
- Human resource efficiency: This has been done through the management of our human resource using our HR system CHRIS, which is a state-of-the-art system equipped with numerous functionalities to ensure the ease management of a business' employees and their data. The system caters for most HR tasks, both core and non-core, with the following functionalities: payroll management, maintenance of employee’s personal information, documents management, reports module, leave management, performance management with 360 degree feedback, talent management (which incorporates a client-facing side for applicants as well), and many more.
- Effective management of all Cytonn’s relationships and interactions with our current clients and those prospective using the CRM system. Cytonn CRM handles the management of leads right from the financial advisor level to the unit manager to the operations team of the company. It has been instrumental in getting and following up on leads and converting them into deals.
- Effective Board Management. The Board Management System is aimed at helping Cytonn’s Board members manage their Board meetings and events better by coordinating schedules, having agendas and minutes online, receiving reminders on action items and following up on past risk issues that need decisions made. Board Members can also access other members’ profiles and contacts and board documentation under the resources module.
- Effective management of client investments using our Investments system, CRIMS, which enables the operations team to invest client applications, conduct transactions, track the investment to maturity as well as execute client instructions. On the other hand, clients can track, top-up, withdraw and rollover investments through the system. Our Financial Advisors are also able to track their commissions. The system has helped to better tedious and repetitive work conducted in the operations department by automating such processes.
- Improved efficiency in project management using the Cytonn Real Estate System (CREST) that aims to streamline the project management processes. The system consists of modules that enable the various project stakeholders to manage project budget and expenses, project schedules and project resources. All the project management process will be handled by the PM system. The Research and Deal Origination (RDO) system enable the RDO team to add land deals, contacts, and market research conducted to the system.
As highlighted, automation offers greater opportunities to a business for continuous growth, compliance and maximum productivity. It makes current processes efficient and effective for businesses and clients alike. All you need to do is to fully understand your processes and then use automation to make things better. The first step in the right direction is to assess your current business workflow, then figure out how to use technology to automate your processes to ensure efficiency.