A new report from Zapier suggests that automation may actually serve to support, rather than compete with, humans.
Despite intensifying fears about automation replacing jobs, the State of Business Automation report shows that most small- and medium-sized businesses found that automation has been beneficial to their companies, particularly since the onset of the pandemic.
The report found that 63% of SMBs say that automation helped their company pivot more quickly as the pandemic hit, and automation is now critical to the running of their business for 66% of those surveyed. This automation has been used for things like bringing goods and services online or changing the entire business model of the company.
There are a number of key areas where the report is seeing automation be used. Thirty-eight percent of those surveyed said they use it for reducing manual data entry, including copying or pasting of data from one platform, database, document or system to another. Thirty-two percent use it for document creation and organization, including creating meeting agendas, to-do lists and the like. Other primary uses include lead management (30%) and managing inventory and distribution (27%).
These uses are largely seen as offering a competitive advantage to workers and their companies. Thirty-four percent of workers say that automation has allowed them to spend less time on administrative tasks, and 35% say it helps provide better customer service and support. Finally, 34% have also found that automating tasks like data entry has helped reduce human error.
Ultimately, 92% of those surveyed believe that automation has served to improve, not diminish, their lives in the workplace. It hasn't just increased productivity, but also worker happiness.