As we start a new decade, the 2020s are already being hailed as the years in which mass automation takes hold across sectors and industries. With the first machine age, during the first industrial revolution, concerning the replacement of manual labor, this second machine age is all about the replacement of cognitive labor.

In short, whatever can be performed by a human on a computer can likely be automated by the computer itself. As such, in order to stay ahead of this trend, and gain a competitive advantage, here are some tips for your automation strategy in the 2020s.

Look at Staff

First, you’re going to want to look at your staff. Conduct an audit across your company, and find out the roles that are currently filled by your workers – and what they typically do in those roles. You can ask middle managers some questions in order to refine your thinking, and to get a good impression of what roles you’re currently supporting that could be automated. From this point, it’s up to you to think of new human-labor roles in your business – like sales and marketing – which you could move to-be automated staff into later.

Check Software Solutions

Your automation is largely going to be derived from the software companies that are producing Software as a Service, or SaaS, in the present day. There are thousands of these businesses, and they range from online-only and cloud-based services, through to those which you must integrate with your computer networks in order to get the highest performance out of them.

It’s worth bearing in mind that these programs can already cover any task that is performed routinely and repetitively by staff. That includes forwarding on calls, sending mass emails, entering order information, and filing data. Meanwhile, even for larger and more expansive tasks, like combining your sales data with your bank balance, can be automated by Quickbooks online authorize net – which can integrate all of your financial data into one automated and easy-to-access program.

Watch for New Developments

The conventional wisdom, in the current economic and technological climate, is that the next-best-thing is only just around the corner. The problem is, that next-best-thing might be outclassed by a superior package in just a few years time. Companies regularly fall into the trap of investing heavily in a new technology, only for it to be replicated – but cheaper and better – by a software competitor. You need to avoid this particular trap.

You’ll do that by keeping abreast of tech news, and subscribing to review websites where experts in the field of B2B software and SaaS solutions will be able to guide you to the automated services that really matter. Don’t spray from the hip when automating your services – as you might end up with a tangle of tech that you can barely make sense of. Wait for those programs that integrate and assimilate with all your business processes before sounding the automation gun.

These tips will help you build a coherent and competitive automation strategy for the 2020s, learning which programs and software to install, and when, over the coming years.