11 automation statistics you should be aware of in 2021

In our increasingly digital age, automation is synonymous with driverless cars and robots in the checkout queue. But automation can also mean added assistance in the workplace, especially with menial tasks that you probably wouldn’t want to spend the bulk of your time and productivity on. These functions range from automatically streamlining data to reducing the steps needed to fulfill an action.

Most execs already know that streamlining operations is important — according to an MIT Sloan survey, executives at 91% of companies say digital technologies have the potential to fundamentally transform the way companies work — but exactly how does it transform work? At Workato, we’ve seen how workflow automation has helped companies of all sizes be more productive. 

To help you understand how automation can help, we’ll review 8 statistics that showcase opportunities for implementing automation. But before we do, let’s review 3 forward-looking stats that can give you a sense of where automation is headed.

Related: 4 automation trends to look out for 

Organizations will embrace employee-focused automations

Fact: Over the next two years, 64% of business professionals at enterprise organizations plan to build automations that focus on improving the employee experience.

Automation statistic around the employee experience

These automations can vary widely. When it comes to onboarding employees, this may include instantly provisioning new hires with the apps and equipment they need on day 1. When it comes to the day-to-day employee experience, this can take the form of streamlining the process of making requests and approvals (e.g. PTO). And when it comes to offboarding employees, this can be automating the process of removing employees’ access to apps and returning their equipment.

Organizations will look to build customer-centric automations

Fact: Over the next two years, 57% business professionals at enterprise organizations plan to build automations that focus on improving the customer experience.

Automation statistic around the customer experience

How, exactly, can automation improve the day-to-day experiences of customers? For starters, you can build automations around product usage data that allow your customer-facing colleagues to identify clients who aren’t using your product effectively. From there, your colleagues can reach out to clients and offer proactive, productive feedback. In addition, you can build a workflow that enables your marketers to easily view the product usage data among clients who sign up for an event (e.g. a marketing webinar). Based on the insights your colleagues glean, they can personalize the event in a way that caters to attendees’ interests. 

Beyond product usage data, you can resolve clients issues faster by automating your incident management process, and you can address client feedback quickly by automating the process of collecting and analyzing their responses via surveys.

Organizations will look for a single platform to manage their integration and automation needs

Fact: 94% of business professionals at enterprise organizations say they would rather use a unified platform integrating their applications and building workflow automations than rely on several systems.

Statistic that reflects the desire to have a single platform for building integrations and automations

Implementing various tools for building integrations and automations, like an iPaaS, an ETL, an RPA, etc. results in various issues:

  • It’s expensive, as each tool comes with its own price tag
  • It’s difficult to manage internally, as these tools tend to require  specialists
  • It can lead to wasted time and effort, as employees will have to work across these tools to implement integrations and automations. 

An enterprise automation platform like Workato neatly addresses these drawbacks by providing a single platform that allows employees to build integrations AND automations—and do so without having to write a single line of code.

The rest of our automation statistics focus on specific challenges and opportunities that workflow automations can address. Read on to see what they are!

Automation supports sales processes

Fact: Less than 1% of B2B organizations call or email an inbound lead within 5 minutes.

Considering that your odds of qualifying a lead decreases by 400% when you delay your response time from 5 to 10 minutes, it’s clear that organizations are leaving a lot of money on the table. With automation, you can intelligently route leads. This means you’re seamlessly sharing leads with reps, and providing them with the information they need from your CRM, an enrichment tool like Clearbit—among other tools—, and sharing it with reps on the platform they’re working on already (e.g. Slack).

Fact: 50% of sales time is wasted on unproductive prospecting.

Sales doesn’t have to be hit-or-miss. You can easily identify quality prospects with the right tools. It all boils down to knowing your customers well—which is key to closing a sale. It’s important to build relationships with your customers by understanding what they need at each point of the buyer’s journey. Mapping lead nurturing content is easy with the right tools that support your goals throughout the sales cycle.

Automation is the glue that holds your MarTech stack together

Fact: 51% of organizations use 21 or more digital marketing solutions, but only 9% of companies have a complete, fully-utilized MarTech stack.

A marketing technology stack is the collective use of specialized technologies for your marketing efforts—from content management and CRM to analytics and social media tools. With the explosion in the development and use of MarTech, it’s clear that companies are discovering the real value of digital marketing solutions. The MarTech space is teeming with apps, but simply using a bunch of apps does not a MarTech stack make. Integration links your marketing apps together and allows you to construct automated workflows, so your marketing workflows happen just as you need them to.

Fact: Email is 40x more effective at converting new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined.

You’d think that with the rise of social media and chat platforms in recent years, email might not be as valuable a tool as it once was. But it still boasts the most significant marketing ROI and conversions—if you update your email marketing strategy. Implementing personalization is made vastly easier by automation, which allows you to use apps like Constant Contact or MailChimp to send well-crafted and highly targeted emails to effectively nurture your prospects.

Multitasking comes with a steep price tag

Fact: 40% of productivity is lost to task-switching.

We may try to juggle as many projects or tasks as possible, but in the end we’re only human. In fact, studies have shown that we are inherently bad at multitasking; our brains are simply wired to focus on one thing at a time. But many workflows require that we work within multiple apps simultaneously.

Customer service agents, for example, straddle apps such as Zendesk, Salesforce, and Intercom to triage and resolve tickets. With automation, you can streamline data across these apps, optimizing agents’ time by increasing visibility and centralizing their work. You can even use bots to perform tasks from your preferred hub, such as Slack.

Fact: 97% of employees and executives believe that a lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project.

At any successful company, teams and departments run like well-oiled machines. Collaboration is key to functioning well—and that means keeping up with changes between departments. Automation effectively supports modern teamwork by making it easy to get everyone on the same page (and keep them there!), from syncing departmental apps to automating long process like onboarding and reporting.

Fact: 73% of Customer Support professionals report that managing time and workload was the biggest issue faced in customer support.

As the frontline of the customer experience, Customer Support professionals face their fair share of challenges. They’re constantly bombarded with tickets to resolve, and unhappy customers to pacify—not to mention all the apps they need to juggle on a daily basis. A possible consequence? Burn out. Automation can definitely make their jobs easier, simply because they have fewer processes to execute, whether it’s accessing the right customer information or accurately triaging a large volume of tickets.

Automation eliminates manual data entry

Fact: Employees spend 20% to 40% of their time searching for documents manually. In fact, professionals spend 50% of their time searching for information and take an average of 18 minutes to locate each document.

Silos exist because of a lack of communication between teams or due to poor organization in the form of incorrectly filed documents or lost data. Sometimes, we may even spend more time manually recreating a duplicate, thinking we’ve lost the original. This tedious process comes at a cost, wasting precious time and inhibiting productivity.

With automation, however, we can eliminate the admin work we all spend too much time doing—and reduce app silos in the process! For example, it allows you to automatically streamline data between a CRM (like Salesforce) and an accounting program (such as NetSuite)—no more manually adding invoices to opportunities! And automation also simplifies searching for, retrieving, and archiving data.

Despite all the benefits that come with automating, many organizations have yet to streamline their key workflows. You can learn more about the automations that are gaining adoption and those that aren’t by downloading The State of Automation report!