Digital transformation: How automation is driving employee productivity

By Andrew Hayden on Sep 3, 2020

With small and large enterprises increasingly adopting new technologies to help optimize overall business operations, it may come as no surprise that many people think that the automation of manual processes is leading to unemployment. The reality, however, is that more often than not, automation software is driving employee productivity and allowing people to do more valuable tasks.

We recently surveyed over 100 senior professionals in shared service centers (SSCs) across the UK and Ireland. Our findings revealed that the automation of manual tasks is not only enabling nearly half of respondents to start new projects they previously did not have time to do, but it’s also improving the accuracy of data. It’s a win-win situation for both employees and organizations

Shared service centers provide a center of excellence for larger organizations that have decided to merge their back-office functions such as finance, human resources, and IT into a single hub. Yet, it’s not unusual in these environments to find highly qualified professionals spending lots of time on laborious and error-prone manual tasks, which can drain morale and reduce team productivity. Finance teams, for example, will often waste precious hours manually entering massive numbers of journal entries and general ledger updates. It’s frustrating work.

More productive

Adopting automation and eliminating manual processes helps free up these professionals to take on other projects and make a real impact on the business while lowering overall costs. 34% of respondents are now focusing their skills and attention on more productive tasks that offer higher value, such as data analytics.

Gradual steps

Three-quarters of senior SSC professionals see a need for digital process automation, with many taking proactive steps to ensure success. For instance, 52% of respondents reported it was essential to reassure staff that the introduction of automation would not put their jobs under threat. While 42% of respondents believe that achieving small project wins using automation software was necessary to demonstrate its value to the broader business.

Automating for success

85% of respondents do not currently have live automation tools in place, keeping them from realizing the benefits associated with automation, such as improved process productivity and lower cost per transaction. And, with employee productivity being an essential measurement of success for many SSCs, it’s important for these centers to get rid of the manual processes that decrease overall efficiencies.

While our research shows that automation can significantly contribute to a more productive workforce, there is still a long way to go before SSCs fully adopt digital processes within their operations. As more businesses begin to start their automation journeys, employees may start to embrace automation rather than see it as a threat.


To learn more about our research findings, download the full survey report.

About the author

Andrew Hayden

Andrew is a Senior Product Marketing Manager developing sales enablement and product marketing programs for Winshuttle's data management and automation solutions. He currently resides in the Pacific Northwest.

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