5 tasks you should be automating and securing in your business

At first glance, our phones are seemingly filled with apps we use to manage our life. You can get directions, count your steps, and even file your taxes all from a device we keep at arm’s reach.

Of course, the apps that let us do these things are highly complex pieces of software; each taking great time and talent to go from conception to our home screen if you want a seamless and easy to use experience.

But it should come as no surprise that, even today, so many of our daily business tasks are still done in manual, monotonous and unsecured ways. Think about your last full day at work; how many times did you send a one-line email or print out a document to be signed? Not only does this waste time, but printing out paperwork for signature or emailing confidential documents isn’t a secure approach. Chances are, there are plenty of critical business tasks in your day that are still done without the ease of automation and peace-of-mind of security.

We have an app to check the weather and another to tell you who won the game, so why can’t we have simple “apps” for our own unique business tasks? Using traditional methods to build an app takes huge resources - including both time and money - so building a one-off app for a single task isn't a realistic priority for most businesses.

Additionally, unlike a weather app where one version works for everyone, business apps need to be customised to fit the particular nuances of each each business. However, the BPM (business process management) industry is evolving towards this goal. As software and platforms catch up, quickly “appifying” your daily business tasks is becoming a reality. So, what kind of tasks am I talking about? Here are five that you should be securely automating:

  • Contracts

How many emailed PDFs do you have sitting in your inbox? Even worse; how many printed-and-scanned have you seen? My bet is one too many. It’s 2016, and emailing documents for approval is outdated and inefficient. Instead, you should be using secure apps built on a BPM platform that automates this process and hosts the file that needs to be signed.

  • Meeting Planning

Still sending chats, emails and yelling across the room to get your team to agree on a meeting time? Think about how much wasted time is spent trying to navigate through everyone’s packed schedules. Instead, use a centrally-hosted BPM offering that will allow your team to individually pick times that work for them.

  • HR Onboarding

A new hire’s first day is usually spent knee-high in paperwork. And commonly, that means documents still on actual paper. Instead, use a BPM platform to securely host these contracts and documents so your HR manager can rest easy about security and keep organised. Better yet, the employee can get it done with ease from their computer, phone or tablet.

  • Expense Reporting

You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who loves their time-tracking software. Anyone in the professional services or time-incurred industries knows that keeping an accurate account of hours spent is key, yet all-too-often accounting that time is a pain. Instead of fighting arbitrary systems to keep track of your hours, use a BPM platform to build a customised time-tracking app built specifically for your business that can be accessed on any device, from anywhere. Keeping track of your time while running from meeting to meeting will be that much easier.

  • Document Approval

Nothing creates chaos as quickly as an email chain full of revisions to a document. Instead of sending Word docs with version 5, 6 and beyond in the title, use a BPM platform to build a custom application that accesses your company file system and allows revisions to be stored in a central location, all with complete security and audit capabilities. Not only can people keep track of approvals and new additions, they can access the document securely from any device - a dream if you’re in a BYOD environment.

These are only a few examples of business tasks that we still seem to spend too much time on. Of course, there are plenty of pre-built applications and systems out there you could use for each of these things, but off-the-shelf and pre-built solutions are inherently one-size-fits-all. No business is the same, so wouldn’t it be better to replace an off-the-shelf solution with one that’s custom built?

With the advances in BPM software, not only can you get a perfectly-designed system for your business, you can do it yourself for a fraction of the time and cost. Keep this in mind the next time you find yourself doing one of these five common tasks.

Ron Rock, CEO of Point.io

Image source: Shutterstock/Kirill Wright