Imagine how much more productive and efficient your work would be if you could take all of the repetitive, routine, and manual work out of your day. Imagine if that kind of work were simply done for you, freeing up more time for value-added work that can drive success for you, your business, and your customers.

A growing number of companies are going beyond simply imagining it.

The big trend

Companies have been investing in business automation for decades to eliminate manual tasks and enable employees to focus on things that drive growth. Those investments have accelerated as automation has become more sophisticated and spread to every corner of the organisation. Eighty-five percent of organisations said in a 2021 Deloitte study they are rethinking how work gets done, and are moving from task-based automation to end-to-end automation. Thirteen percent said their organisation has implemented over 50 automations, up from just 4% who did so in 2018.

Why it matters

Business leaders are prioritising technology investments that drive efficiency and productivity, and business automation is at the top of that list. Companies that take a broad view of automation (beyond simple, task-based desktop automations) have saved a lot of costs and increased productivity.

What your company can do

Apply automation anywhere, and everywhere

  • Finance and accounting. Frees up time for more strategic things like analysis, strategy, and collaboration. One example, automated invoicing and approval routing. 
  • Marketing. Helps you target customers with automated messages across channels. Identify audiences, design relevant content and automatically trigger actions. 
  • Customer service. Next generation service automation, using AI, augmented reality and the Internet of Things (IoT) can predict service events and automatically resolve them through digital channels. 
  • Human resources. Automate job application processing, response tracking and interview scheduling, onboarding and offboarding, payroll management and benefits administration. 
  • Sales. A third of sales tasks, including strategy, planning, lead identification, qualification, configuration, pricing, and order management, can be automated.

Want to learn more? Here’s a deeper look

Automating tasks makes workers happier and more productive

Many knowledge workers spend a lot of time manually entering and retrieving information between multiple systems as part of a multi-step, manual process. This is not the best use of a person’s time, and could erode morale and employee engagement. 

In the APAC Engagement Research conducted by Salesforce, 34% office workers strongly agree that outdated and inefficient technology makes them feel unhappy and unmotivated at work. And this lack of motivation adversely affects the quality of their work. They say their workplace experience could be improved with technology to help them with a variety of business tasks — particularly messaging or collaboration (49%), customer or client communications (45%), and client record management (39%).

When office workers were asked to nominate the issues that negatively affect their engagement at work, the top two were technology-related: when it fails or doesn’t work as it should (60%) and the quality of the technology (51%). 

How can companies identify opportunities for automation? Global Field Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of digital transformation office at MuleSoft, Matt McLarty said one large financial services firm did it by asking employees a simple question: What’s the dumbest thing you have to do every day?

"They made it into a contest, with prizes," he said. "People were so frustrated about wasting their time on this stuff that they volunteered all this information, which created a foundation for the company to automate those things."


Automation for every team

Efficiency, productivity, and cost containment are top priorities for business leaders. You can automate and integrate work across every business function and system, so you can focus on the things that grow your business.

Here's how

Business automation can be applied anywhere, and everywhere

You don’t need to understand exactly how automation works. You just need to understand its impact and how powerful it can be. Here’s how different departments can use automation to reduce manual processes, cut costs, reduce inefficiencies, and serve customers and employees better:

Finance and accounting

Automating financial planning and accounting functions frees up time for more strategically important things like analysis, strategy, and collaboration with stakeholders. One example is Accounts Payable. Data capture is automated (no more digging through miles of spreadsheets), invoices are automatically matched to relevant documents, and approvals are routed. This is not only more efficient but also reduces the risk of errors. 


There is no value in having to press “send” on every email, campaign, or social-media post you create. By automating marketing, you can target customers with automated messages across multiple channels. The best tools help you identify your audience, design the most relevant content, and automatically trigger actions like offers based on schedules and customer behaviour. These efforts can then be aligned with a customer relationship management (CRM) system

Customer service

It doesn’t take a human to answer basic questions like “How do I reset my password?” or “Where’s my order?” Chatbots, voice bots, and self-service are already in wide use, freeing up agents to help customers navigate more complex service situations. Next-generation service automation, using AI, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT), can predict service events and resolve them through digital channels. And it can give customers a total view of service activity for self-service support and automated monitoring.

Human resources

HR systems can automate a wide range of tasks, from job application processing, response tracking and interview scheduling to job offers, onboarding and offboarding, payroll management, and benefits administration. Using analytics, these systems can also provide insights into workforce sentiment, productivity, and engagement.


One management consultancy estimated that about one-third of all sales tasks can be automated, yet many business decision makers don’t take advantage of the capability. Sales strategy and planning, lead identification and qualification, configuration, pricing and quotation, order management, and post sales are all areas ripe for automation. Early adopters, the firm noted, consistently report increased customer-facing time, higher customer satisfaction, and efficiency improvements of up to 15 percent.

Leaders need to consider business automation a strategic asset

Like other digital transformations, the success of end-to-end automation relies on cultural changes driven from the top and executed in each function. Training, incentives, and key performance indicators are all essential. 

Spending on automation, particularly AI systems in Asia Pacific will rise from $17.6 billion in 2022 to around $32 billion in 2025. The impact is profound, affecting the way we work, compete, innovate, and serve customers.


Prepare your business for a digital future. Learn how to automate your business to be more efficient and productive. 



This post originally appeared on the U.S.-version of the Salesforce blog.