The lifeblood of businesses of all sizes across different industries and verticals—data is produced at an exceptionally higher rate. Whether communicating with customers, targeting marketing campaigns, tracking from advertising, or sales prospecting, data keeps flowing continuously.
According to the recent Statista report, the total amount of data created, captured, copied, and consumed globally was 64.2 zettabytes in 2020. It is further forecasted to grow to more than 180 zettabytes in the next five years.
Hence, businesses looking to maximize data insights must know that relying on manual data collection processes is simply no longer an option. They need a robust data collection workflow to make the most of this avalanche of information and sustain in the market.
Smart companies understand that introducing the automation advantage to data collection workflows is paramount for gaining accurate insights and making strategic data-driven decisions.
Limitations of Manual Data Collection
Manual data collection processes add to operational expenditures not only in terms of labor costs, but also paper resources, compliance risks, unavailability of skilled personnel, human error, and so on. Organizations manually collecting and handling high volumes of data already know the limitations and challenges of these processes.
Streamlining repetitive manual workflows and scaling them effectively while keeping the expenses minimum becomes difficult for organizations. Such limitations keep companies at bay from experiencing a full digital transformation and hinder their efforts of staying relevant in today’s competitive business environment. So, growth-focused leaders use workflow automation to answer such data collection challenges.
The Automation Advantage
Answer this simple question: what kept the light on for certain businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic? Certainly, technological transformation is what helped companies achieve resilience through those uncertain times and bounce back to the ‘new normal’ even stronger. It was a pandemic that hit the fast-forward button on technology transformation for businesses.
As technology became a lifeline for employees, friends, families, and customers to stay connected, years of planned transformation compressed into weeks and months. Amidst this, automation was a vital part of that accelerated transformation.
Automating ancillary processes such as data collection, data capture, data cleaning, and formatting enable businesses to transform their raw unorganized data into structured schema-compliant XML for analytics, data products, AI/ML applications, etc. So, putting it simply, automated data collection processes combine human intelligence with Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML).
Automated Data Collection Perks
Automating data collection workflows provides several key advantages, many of which can lead to long-term business growth. Listed are the significant benefits of data collection automation for organizations:
The manual data collection process gets daunting and mundane with time. Even if the resource is trained, the likelihood of human errors is always present. As a result, you are left with spreadsheets or databases full of dirty data. This erroneous data negatively impacts data analysis and decision-making—getting them fixed might be expensive and time-consuming.
Automated data collection workflows deliver circular benefits. You can leave such repetitive no-brainer tasks to bots and free your employees to perform tasks that require creativity, thought-process, and leadership. Ultimately, you get quality and error-free data at easy disposal.
During the manual data entry process, different employees may enter data like phone numbers or pin codes in different formats. This lack of standardization makes it difficult to collect clean data for reporting and analysis.
But with automated workflow, you can be assured of standardization and quality control processes. The captured data is correctly transferred to a CRM like Salesforce with automation. This makes the data capture and formatting process even more accurate.
Scaling manual data entry workflows becomes challenging if there is a sudden spike in the submissions. Apart from this, physical paperwork quickly becomes cluttered and might be lost, slowing down the data collection process. Burdening administrative staff with complicated workflows also increases the chances of errors.
On the other hand, automated data collection can efficiently handle form submissions of varying complexities as the software can easily process large amounts of data. Therefore, companies can expect cleaner data and streamlined workflows without burdening their employees.
Manual workflows mean lengthy processing times. Adding to this are input errors, data silos, and poor data quality. The absence of clean data in an easy-to-access format hinders productivity and strains vendor relationships, leading to customer dissatisfaction.
Automation data collection helps you overcome speed constraints and accelerate processes. As a result, organizations can optimize the effort and time spent on capturing, storing, and managing volumes of data. Businesses get real-time insights and more accurate analytics, resulting in maximized productivity.
Implementing new automated data collection workflows is an investment that pays off quickly. It not only improves the bottom line but also enhances the quality and security of information being captured. Hence, the data entered into a CRM or ERP is error-free and legally compliant, both of which reduce costly fines due to data breaches.
While you plan to configure automated data collection solutions, watch out for myths that might create unnecessary barriers. For example, the company isn’t ready for automation yet. Automation solutions are majorly technology projects that help you grow revenues by being a fast-follower instead of being a tech pioneer. Know that none of them are true!
Adopting automation is a significant undertaking but the rewards are worth it. The employees will be available to perform high-value tasks. The customers will be elated by new experiences. And the company will lead others confidently.