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Back to Basics – What is Business Automation? We break it down for you.

  • April 22, 2021

Business Automation


What is business automation?

Business Automation is a systematic approach to replacing redundant manual and business processes with intelligent rule-driven automated technology. This is done with the aim to minimize costs, increase efficiency, decrease human error and streamline processes. Business Automation is crucial in order to take your company on its Digital Transformation Journey. To meet the changing market demands, this is achieved with Modern Application Development. Let’s unpack all of this. 

“Digital Transformation”… What’s that exactly?

Simply put, digital transformation incorporates digital technology into all areas of a business and refers to the process where you use digital technologies to create or modify an existing business process to meet changing business and market requirements, often in the departments of sales, marketing, and customer service. 

Contrary to popular belief, this does not include discarding a well established traditional business process or model. However, adoption is the most crucial. In the most drastic scenario, and if required, a company replaces non-digital or manual processes with digital processes to streamline their business’ daily lifecycle and ultimately increase efficiency and most importantly, it’s revenue.1 

“Modern Application Development” in a nutshell:

Modern Application Development may sound like a mouthful but simplified, they are digital tools developed to increase your company’s turnaround time to the market, increase transparency and communication between different departments within your organization, as well as enhance maintainability of a newer, more efficient standard within your company’s business processes and front-end results.

These tools are created in a way that are user-friendly and simple to use; you don’t need to be an IT genius to understand the tailored dashboard created for your company. 

Modern Application Development revamps how your business delivers value. In some cases, it may even reinvent your approach. 

56% of CEOs say digital transformation has increased profits, according to a survey from Gartner. 

There is proof in the pudding with a statistic like this.

Let’s use an example to practically demonstrate these concepts:

Posh Wash is a laundry company based in Johannesburg.

They provide laundry services that pick up client’s laundry conveniently from their houses, ensures that it’s washed and ironed, at one of their 4 laundromats in the city, and delivers it back to customers on the same day. 

Thandi started and ran the business out of her partner’s house as a student. However, following word-of-mouth marketing in her area the business has grown significantly over the past 2 years and now consists of the following team:

  • Service Agents who respond to service requests, pick up laundry and take it to one of the aforementioned laundromats.
  • Laundromat managers who work at the laundromat facilities and ensure that Posh Wash’s service agents’ orders are processed on the same day.
  • Customer Agents, who work at Posh Wash’s offices, deal with customer requests such as new job orders, customer queries and complaints, and post-service follow-ups. It is also their responsibility to ensure that a Service Agent is assigned to a job order and to ensure that job order requests are fulfilled. 

Thandi knows that in order to effectively manage and scale her business, she would need to digitally optimise operations. 

Thandi needs to see data to make informed business decisions. Looking at Posh Wash’s customers, she needs to see who they are and where they live in order to decide where to focus marketing efforts. She also needs to see how her Customer Agents are performing, who is processing the most orders and who may need assistance to increase their job orders.

Thandi has tasked John with this, one of the Customer Agents. It is John’s responsibility to compile this data by keeping track of Posh Wash’s job orders on a spreadsheet: by capturing data on the profile of each of the customers, where they stay and which Customer Agent they dealt with.

John captures this data at the end of every day upon request via email to the Customer Agents, and then compiles and sends this in a report to Thandi at the end of every week. Thandi then looks at this report on an excel spreadsheet, needing to save all these reports in a folder on her computer, and opens multiple reports if she wants to compare data over weeks and months. 

Whilst this is a digital process and gives Thandi the information she wants to see, it is limited in its application, requires a lot of time to compile, and involves the input of multiple people.

In addition, and as a result of the process and detail it requires, human error can creep in at times as John is more focused on customer service and is not familiar with all Excel functionalities. By building Thandi a dashboard where live data is tracked the whole time, various charts and business metrics are constantly available with flexible reporting functionalities.

This is an example of business automation where we have taken a process that traditionally requires a lot of time and administration and through Modern Application Development, redesigned it into a process that saves time, resources and is more efficient, and by Digitally Transforming the reporting process, has resulted in the following:

  • Thandi can see data in greater detail in a more visual way. She can compare various metrics, and because it is live, she does not have to save it, nor does she have to wait for John to send it and can access, filter and manipulate the data at any time with a push of a button 
  • She does not need analytical skills, nor does she need to employ someone with these skills as the dashboard presents data in a dynamic and detailed way allowing Thandi to quickly see the information she needs to 
  • Should John leave the company or should Thandi’s computer crash, she would not lose the ability to access and see her reports and data.
  • Because human involvement is reduced, human error is also reduced. 
  • John now has more time to focus on the things he is good at doing which will inevitably result in more and happier customers.


Tune in next time to see how SmartenUp has used tools to optimise team collaboration, to ensure that Thandi’s team communicates effectively and functions in the best way possible, making team work a breeze.


“Digital transformation marks a radical rethinking of how an organization uses technology, people and processes to fundamentally change business performance.”

George Westerman, MIT principal research scientist and author of Leading Digital: Turning Technology Into Business Transformation.


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(1) https://www.salesforce.com/ap/products/platform/what-is-digital-transformation/
(2) https://www.techrepublic.com/article/report-56-of-ceos-say-digital-transformation-has-increased-profits/
(3) https://pages.awscloud.com/rs/112-TZM-766/images/MAD_modern_application_eBook.pdf
(4) https://www.cio.com/article/3211428/what-is-digital-transformation-a-necessary-disruption.html
(5) https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/solutions/modern-application-development/
(6) https://enterprisersproject.com/what-is-digital-transformation#:~:text=Digital%20transformation%20is%20the%20integration,and%20get%20comfortable%20with%20failure.
(7) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_process_automation

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