Shaping our future – office automation software

“Office automation” is one of those terms that, having achieved buzzword status, are often downplayed and thrown around for their buzzword status alone. But peer behind the veneer of hyped up tech and you’re very likely to discover a lush constellation of services with one clear aim – to make the office worker’s life easier.

A lot of what is nowadays called office automation exists because of the dotcom bubble and the rise of computer-driven services, particularly:

  • Marketing
  • Accounting
  • Project management
  • Sales
  • Software development
  • Device/ automotive servicing
  • Customer support

Law firms are typically slower to adopt bleeding-edge technologies due to legal constraints and the risks associated with errors that tend to happen during transition phases. However, even they are no strangers to this phenomenon – from room booking solutions such as ours to jurisprudence search engines, office automation has taken the law world by storm.

Marketing and advertising companies are especially adept at hopping on new, exciting trends and as such benefit from the largest selection of services meant to streamline or automate their workflows. You’ve probably clicked on at least one social media post shared with Buffer, Hootsuite, Sproutsocial or AgoraPulse, interacted with a blog post managed with HubSpot or filled in a form created on that same platform.

On the accounting side, services like InvoiceNinja or Xero have proven an indispensable tool for small and medium companies, whereas accounting firms tend to have enterprise-grade solutions deployed on-premise (much like our Enterprise product) custom tailored to their specific needs.

Project managers across many industries are familiar with or expected to be fluent in using platforms like Basecamp, Jira or Trello, all of which take care of sending users reminders and notifications whenever a specific tasks needs attention or when they are to complete a project. It’s tough to estimate how many hours a PM would spend nowadays sending emails if it weren’t for these pieces of software.

Hubspot ticks yet another box on this list with its robust CRM, used throughout the world by sales teams that want a solution that is simpler than SalesForce’s, but easier to feed into a marketing campaign than Close.io’s.

Automotive and technology manufacturers have complex ERPs that track everything from customer complaints to parts ordered and repair costs without the need of human interaction, and platforms such as Zendesk and Intercom are so deeply embedded in companies’ customer support processes that giving them up would severely cripple their customer support process.

However, most of the automations that exist, regardless of their complexity and flexibility (looking at you, ActiveCampaign), are little more than ossified IF-THEN machines. They rely heavily on a lot of pre-planning and process mapping, they’re slow to evolve and ill-equipped to be proactive. They save a lot of time and effort if the company that decides to use them is aware that it’s wasting time or resources on activities that don’t require a lot of creativity or expertise.

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