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    Wix vs. WordPress vs. Shopify vs. Squarespace

    Choosing the right content management system (CMS) for your specific business needs can be a daunting task to say the least. The good news, is that now more than ever there are literally dozens of viable and robust options available at your disposal.

    However, the flip side of this is that navigating the sea of information can quite easily give anyone some serious sensory overload.

    That’s why we’re here.

    We’ve brought you a list of four of the most popular, mainstream content management systems with the hope that you’ll gain some insight into the various platforms in order to make the best decision for your specific business needs.

    This is by no means an exhaustive list — so you won’t find dozens of options available to peruse. What you will find is insightful and focused information on the pros and cons of some of the most popular platforms out there that account for the majority of the CMS market.

    Enjoy!

    Wix

    Wix has been on the scene for quite some time now and has upped their advertising game, showcasing the various celebrity and influential individuals who use the platform.

    Wix markets primarily to the creative millennial entrepreneur type (just check out their advertising images on their website). So if you’re a travel vlogger, fashion blogger, or someone just starting out and looking for an easy user-friendly platform, then this is definitely the best option for you.

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    Pros

    • Fairly user-friendly.
    • Mobile optimization
    • ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence)
    • Cost-effective.

    Wix offers five package prices ranging from $5/month – $25/month. The basic plan allows you to connect your domain and comes with 1GB of bandwidth and 500MB of storage.

    The second-tier offers double the bandwidth (2GB), increased storage (3GB), a free domain and removal of Wix ads.

    Users can upgrade to their most popular third-tier plan for $14/month and get unlimited bandwidth, increased storage (10GB), removal of Wix ads, a $300 ad voucher as well as a site booster and form builder app.

    The e-Commerce option is the fourth-tier package and offers upgraded storage (20GB) and an online store and the fifth tier option (the VIP Package) offers “VIP Support” as well as Priority Response and a Professional Site Review in addition to the aforementioned benefits.

    Wix advertises as a free website builder, however anyone vaguely familiar with content management systems knows that the catch is  most of the important features will require upgrades.

    Also worth mentioning is that the site booster, form builder, free domain and ad vouchers aren’t included if you decide to move forward with a monthly subscription, so the costs will be additional.

    This platform is great for individuals without extensive design knowledge. It’s ADI (artificial design interface) which includes professional text, images and more makes it a cinch for individuals don’t have to have extensive coding knowledge or skills.

    Additionally, Wix boasts the “most innovative drag and drop website builder”,  and over 500 designer-made templates including the option of video backgrounds, parallax scrolling (take a look at Firewatch’s website for an insane example) and animation.

    For those looking for more advanced coding capabilities, these again are available with an upgrade which according to the platform includes “a website builder, reliable web hosting, top security and the best SEO” in addition to a “dedicated Support Team”.

    Cons

    • SEO
    • Not ideal for those looking for more advanced, robust or versatile options

    While the platform boasts itself as “SEO compatible”, the truth is it isn’t the most ideal option available on the market if this is one of your primary strategic goals. Some have complained that it doesn’t allow you to really knock it out of the park with SEO because while there are designated areas for SEO best practices, , “it’s just not ideal to get your traffic to your site through Google searches”.

    This could be perhaps due to fact that Wix is a self-described website “for developers, by developers” – so they really haven’t knocked it out of the park with making SEO easy-peasy and user-friendly much like competitors such as WordPress (their Yoast SEO plug-in is divine).

    Nevertheless, they do offer a blog full of information on optimizing your website with SEO best practices and tons of in-depth articles on the topic

    Wix is hands-down the most cost-effective and straightforward starter option. However, users should be aware that you could very easily start paying as much as you would for a more premium platform only to get stuck with a less superior one with the same price tag.

    WordPress

    WordPress is hands down the most popular and widely used content management platform due to its versatility and endless integrations and plug-ins. The biggest question we get asked is, Why WordPress? WordPress has nearly 60% of the market share amongst other CMS-based websites. WordPress has continued to grow its reputable brand year after year and is recognized as one of the most flexible tools for website management. With over 75 million websites using WordPress, we believe that WordPress is the clear go-to web development tool. Visioneer’s Hosted WordPress Solution allows our clients the ability to set up their own website, import an existing WordPress site within minutes or have our amazing team of designers do the work for you!

    Pros

    • Open source
    • Cost-effective
    • User-friendly
    • SEO friendly
    • Access to in-depth analytics & reports

    WordPress offers endless design options available at your fingertips, mobile optimization and analytics. They’re also extremely SEO friendly due to the fact that they’re so user-friendly, their designs are simple and work to enhance the user experience and they are easily crawlable by search engines.

    WordPress can be tricky for individuals who don’t have time or interest to commit to learning a bit of code.

    We offer a Monthly Maintenance packages as well as website live chat, built-in appointment scheduling widget,  and even a review generation services to help improve your online reputation. Here are a few more technical details about our hosting solutions.

    Cons

    • Security
    • Permissions

    Within conventional wordpress installation’s security flaws are present due to the fact that it makes it more of an ideal target for hackers. However with Visioneer’s Managed WordPress Solution we have partnered with Google to offer a top notch secure product which gives our customers piece of mind that their business website is protected.


    Shopify

    Shopify is pretty much the go-to platform for e-commerce companies and businesses who rely heavily on conversions. It’s designed specifically for this purpose and as a result, it excels where other platforms fail due to the fact that it has a more focused target demographic and niche.

    Pros

    • Drop ship options
    • Somewhat user-friendly
    • Made for e-commerce
    • Shopify shipping
    • A more seamless integration with other selling channels and payment platforms

    This platform excels at getting inside the head of the e-commerce minded individual in so many ways it’s kind of ridiculous. They also offer convenient opportunities to capitalize on sales from other shops with their drop-ship program and options.

    Many users will appreciate that they’re able to add products from other companies to their shop and take a commission without having to deal with the hassle of shipping and handling.

    Think of it like a step up from your  Etsy shop. There’s no extensive design or coding skill or knowledge necessary and it offers users the ability to accept credit cards instantly with Shopify payments and seamlessly sell on additional platforms such as Pinterest and/or Amazon.

    Shopify shipping also saves you time and money, increasing your conversions by giving you access to more accelerated checkouts.

    If you’re looking to branch out of your Etsy shop and build a more personalized and professional brand and you have a solid track record of sales, then this is the place for you. If you don’t have all your ducks in a row and you’re not geared up and ready to go with your selling, then there are other options available that are more suitable for your needs.

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    Cons

    • Not the most cost-effective
    • More of a learning curve

    To be honest with you, there really aren’t a boatload of cons when it comes to the Shopify platform. A few individuals have complained that the 14-day trial is less than ideal and the fact that once it’s over you’re immediately locked out and forced to upgrade is a bit much.

    However, you can have access to monthly plan options and to be honest, I think that Shopify is well aware that they have a superior product in many ways (especially for e-commerce businesses) and as a result, they aren’t pressed to be competitive with their pricing.

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    All in all, the platform features a robust set of offerings and is an ideal option for anyone with a business heavily based on sales and numbers.

    However, creatives that are often drawn to other platforms such as Wix or Squarespace should know that if they’re just looking to just grab onto a platform where they can simply throw up a portfolio of for exposure, then this is definitely not the most ideal option.

    However, if you’re putting up a platform to get direct conversions such as an artist looking to increase sales or an e-commerce company, then Shopify is going to be your best bet on this list.

    Squarespace

    Squarespace is heavy into advertising and mainly markets their services to artists and creative entrepreneur types. Squarespace is the superior platform if you’re company is in an industry focused on visuals and aesthetic. This is where they excel.

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    Pros

    • User-friendly
    • Shop feature
    • Award-winning templates.
    • Comprehensive set of marketing tools

    Squarespace is one of those platforms that does contemporary minimalism best. Users also can rest easy that they won’t feel as bombarded with an endless sea of design and template options as often is the case with so many other platforms.

    However, what they can count on is a robust, visually engaging platform that will give your business the competitive edge and absolutely ooze professionalism. As the platform boasts, users get the chance to “look like an expert right from the start” and with the visually stunning design layouts they back up their statements 100%.

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    Cons

    • Limiting

    To be honest, there aren’t many cons to this visually geared platform, especially if you’re coming from the creative industry. However,  if you hit more along the lines of a type-A personality with a design background, then chances are you may have an issue with the lack of options available in comparison to other platforms.  

    But hey — some find this ideal (such as myself) and it really just depends on your cup of tea.

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    Conclusion

    Finding the perfect content management system to fit your specific business needs can often feel like finding a needle in a haystack. With so many CMS options available of varying capabilities, specializations and prices, companies more than ever are finding the ability to navigate the ever-expanding sea of  information at their fingertips an essential habit to master.

    This  list is by no means  an exhaustive end-all-be-all of course and there are dozens of viable competitors not listed within this article such as Drupal, Joomla! and more that may very well work better with your strategic goals.

    The important concept to take away from this is that there are pros and cons to every CMS and the only way that you’re going to be able to really understand which is the best for your particular needs is by using a strategic combination of research and trial and error.  

    Hopefully, we’ve at the very least enlightened you a bit on the pros and cons and have left you feeling more informed on the subject matter than you were when you stopped by.

    We would love the opportunity to chat with you about our Managed WordPress Solution

    Have any other suggestions for awesome content management systems not listed in this article? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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    The Shocking Truth About Chatbots

    Are chatbots really preparing to take over the world?

    There’s definitely a decent amount of individuals out there who feel legitimately threatened by the exponentially increasing knowledge being cultivated by artificial intelligence. Will they soon surpass us to the point that they become self-aware, sentient beings?

    The recent hype surrounding Facebook’s failed AI experiment definitely didn’t do much to ease the ever-growing sense of public paranoia on the concept.

    News exploded onto the digital scene recently from every heavy hitting media outlet from Forbes to Wired and TechCrunch that Facebook’s AI experiment was shut down because staff discovered the chatbots were beginning to create their own secret language between each other.

    The actual truth behind the scenario is far less horrifying than many media outlets would like you to believe. I mean, can you blame them? Would you have clicked on their article if you hadn’t been fed the idea of an imminent technological apocalypse?

    While many can agree that chatbot technology is still in it’s infancy stage, the fact of the matter is that the AI technology working behind the scenes has the potential to immensely impact the economy, job market and businesses all over.

    So, if you’ve been interested in learning more about chatbot technology, the science behind it, how they’re impacting the business industry and their potential effects on the job market, then you’re in luck.

    This article will delve into all of these subjects and hopefully leave you with a greater amount of insight on the topic and how it can and will impact your current and future business pursuits.

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    What are chatbots and how do they work?

    For some reason people want to fantasize about bots being these highly intelligent Terminator-like robots. Well – not exactly. The truth of the matter a chatbot is a relatively uncomplicated concept.

    Chatbots are computer programs that are created to automate certain tasks and these tasks typically involve some form of communication with  a user via a “conversational interface”. This is why they’ve become so popular for use on your favorite messaging apps such as WeChat, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

    These bots follow a set of programming rules, often in an “if-then statement” format, stipulated by engineers via what is coined a “bot-building platform” and often can be done without needing to have extensive coding knowledge.

    Bots are generally broken down into two types:

    1) Informational bots

    2) Utility bots

    The purpose of an informational bot is to provide a user with a new format for content consumption and involve things such as subscriptions to various newsworthy alerts in various industries.

    A utility bot solves a problem for a consumer “via a user-prompted transaction”, with the most readily available example being a shopping bot that helps you order your favorite latte at your local coffee shop or a new pair of shoes. These bots are great for administrative purposes as they excel in automating tasks such as appointment booking and notification alerts.

    The more advanced of these bots are powered by artificial intelligence and capable of processing more complex matters which include everything from personalization of responses and the ability to exponentially grow and improve their abilities over time.

    This is a breakdown of the science behind the reason why you can ask Siri to find you the best pho restaurant in your neighborhood instead of having to search through dozens of listings and websites in order to get this answer yourself.

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    What is their impact?

    According to Ray Kurzwell, a Google engineer who Inc.com also describes as an “inventor” and “futurist”, chatbots will be practically indistinguishable from humans pretty much within the next decade.

    Kurzweil was quoted in The Verge as saying “…you’ll be able to have a meaningful conversation with an AI in 2029. But you’ll be able to have interesting conversations before that,”

    That’s a pretty powerful projection from an insanely knowledgeable guy.

    So what does that mean for our future? How will bots be implemented, how can we benefit from them, and how will they impact our job market?

    Bot-powered commerce is definitely the game of the future (37% of Americans say they’re willing to make purchases through chatbots), but when it comes down to it, they are currently most used in a messaging and/or administrative capacity.

    Messaging apps inherently provide the “conversational interface” necessary in order for bots to operate best – and ironically, according to Hubspot, this is where most people spend their time.

    A recent report by MarketingLand stated that mobile users spend a whopping “80% of time in just five apps” with Facebook and Google dominating the market. Who’d have thought? Even more interesting is the fact that these five spots are “increasingly being claimed by messaging apps”, which as of today, claim more users than any social network (5 billion monthly active users to be exact).

    According to Business Insider, by next year, more than 25% of the world population will be using mobile messaging apps such as Kik, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

    Messaging apps provide users with solutions in an unparalleled effective and efficient manner. Why do people turn to messaging apps? Because 71% of consumers want to get customer assistance so they can find a problem to their solution – fast. Forget spammy emails, forget forms and clutter or countless minutes wasted on searches. Bots provide a service and their purpose is being useful with “minimal user input”.

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    Another one of the more readily available ideas for chatbot use is in the world of virtual administration. It’s pretty much a no-brainer conclusion and this use has long been capitalized on with the implementation of Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana, among others.

    Why not? A bot can do everything from making appointments, handling reminders, sorting out calendar issues, handling simple negotiations or ordering an Uber or lunch.

    However, the drawback with these guys lie in the fact  that they simply “can’t engage in complex negotiations”, as Facebook’s Mike Lewis point’s out.

    “If we want bots to help us with more complex tasks, they need to become dealmakers, especially if the task involves cooperation or compromise…” Lewis then goes on to point out that these sorts of skills would be necessary for situations such as handling negotiations of real estate purchases.

    As a result, using bots in a supplementary manner may be a more viable option in the near future. For example, a virtual assistant could handle complex negotiations while the bot could offer “useful tips to the buyer” and provide imperative advice such as “when to withhold certain pieces of information”.

    Regardless of the specifics surrounding their future foothold in the world, one thing is for certain – businesses are taking notice of this trend and jumping on it with gusto.

    According to Research from Forrester, 5% of companies worldwide said they “regularly” used chatbots while 20% of these companies were “piloting them” and 32% of companies were “planning to use or test them”.

    If companies are really looking to become effective in their efforts, Hubspot suggests that they shouldn’t look to bots as simply another communication channel as the “best bots harness the micro-decisions consumers experience on a daily basis and see them as an opportunity to help”. I’m sure you can see the difference.

    The end-goal with bot technology isn’t to use it as an all-in-one solution for an issue, but to have it focus on “a single function” and excel at whatever this function may be.

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    Conclusion

    There’s no denying the fact that general public sentiment around chatbots and artificial intelligence is pretty split. On one hand, we have the “Doomsday” viewpoints which insist that chatbots will soon surpass the cognitive abilities of humans so much so that they will form into sentient beings and eventually claim their true destiny as the overlords of mankind.

    That’s what we like to coin the “glass half empty” view.

    Then, on the other hand, we have the optimistic types who see the technology for the numerous benefits it yields and the countless ways in which it can positively impact humanity.

    Regardless of your personal point of view, one thing is certain, AI technology is some pretty powerful stuff that has the potential to practically transform the economic landscape depending on how it is harnessed and implemented.

    Regardless of public sentiment often leaning towards paranoia, the fact remains that consumers aren’t just ready to interact with chatbots, they prefer them in many cases, especially when they’re made aware of the fact they’re communicating with one.

    According to a recent report, “63% of people would consider messaging an online chatbot to communicate with a  business or brand”. Furthermore, according to Inc.com, 37% of consumers and 48% of millennials are “open to receiving recommendations or advice from chatbots”.

    Perhaps this is the most shocking truth of all.

    What are your opinions on artificial intelligence and chatbots? Tell us about your experience and/or thoughts! We’d love to hear your feedback!

     

    Sources:

    https://chatbotsmagazine.com/3-uncomfortable-reasons-why-chatbots-are-failing-8913901a29e5

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/06/the-secret-language-of-chatbots/

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23431304-300-chatbots-learn-how-to-drive-a-hard-bargain/

    https://www.inc.com/larry-kim/11-amazing-facts-you-might-not-know-about-chatbots.html

    http://www.mindshareworld.com/sites/default/files/MINDSHARE_HUDDLE_HUMANITY_MACHINE_2016_0.pdf

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-messaging-app-report-2015-11

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    Business Process Automation: Don’t Be a Martyr—Let BPA Save the Day

    When it comes to business process automation (BPA), many businesses understandably just don’t know where to begin. If you’re one of many individuals looking to increase productivity and find ways to effectively scale your business, automation is the single best way to do this.

    Kissflow very succinctly described business process automation as “…a hands-free, innovative approach to systematize critical business processes.”

    When it comes down to it, pretty much half, if not most of business processes could benefit from automation in some type of way—and just about every successful business knows this first hand.

    Visioneer Blog Automation

    One Cognizant study found survey respondents claiming that on average, 24-45% of their business workflow was automated. This automation typically dealt with process and tasks high on “rote procedures” and “manual inputs”.

    Additionally, “about half” of the respondents foresaw automation to “significantly improve” their business processes, with “nearly one-fifth” claiming to have achieved cost savings greater than 15%.

    There’s no denying the power of automation. So how do you know if this is the right decision for your business? Well communication is one significant area that often shows need for improvement when it comes to workflow.

    Do you find there is often a struggle with communication? Erratic communication is a major sign that your business could benefit from automation. Erratic communication leads to a lack of accountability, which can lead to missteps in processes and key tasks being skipped or even forgotten.

    Needless to say, this can have a major impact on your bottom line. So if you’re one of the many businesses out there struggling with these common occurrences, you’re going to want to take a look into some of the main benefits that automation can have for you.

     

    Visioneer Blog Automation
    Visioneer Blog Automation

    Benefits of automation

    The benefits of process automation are practically endless. However, when it comes down to it, there are three main ways automation can help improve your workflow by helping your business to become more

    1. Efficient

    Automation helps cut costs, save time and get rid of menacing bottlenecks in workflow processes. Stop wasting valuable employee resources on rote and redundant tasks such as invoicing and data entry. Not only can businesses cut costs, but they can also increase revenue because automation can drastically improve workflow productivity.

    1. Effective

    Automation helps increase the effectiveness of your processes. Nix the busywork and get your employees focusing on more pertinent tasks and projects. By doing this you are setting your business up to scale and meet more demand from clients.

    Automation helps minimize human error by harnessing the accuracy of machines and can work to improve the flow of communications. It also increases accountability because projects and processes are better managed and thus productivity increases.

    1. Capable

    Automation also makes your business more capable so you are better able to serve your clientele and reduce variation in the customer experience.

     

    Visioneer Blog Automation
    Use of BPA Technology

    Whether your goal is to increase efficiency and effectiveness with your company’s internal lines of communication, marketing processes, project management, sales and acquisitions or all of the above, automation can make this possible.

    So stop wasting valuable employee time and energy on tasks such as expense reporting, invoicing and employment reviews.

    According to CompTIA’s Trend in Workforce Automation and Communication, these are all areas where organizations are implementing technology in order to “move away from paper and manual processes to digital formats”.

     

    Visioneer Blog Automation
    Business Process Automation Cycle

    Steps to take when considering automation for your business

    When it comes down it, a major goal for any business should be to automate as many manual processes as possible.

    Identifying realistic goals and a defined scope is the first step to success in strategizing. After all, you want to get a baseline so that you can be sure that the costs associated with the implementation of such an endeavor such as potential licensing agreements and employee training are going to be worth it.

    Are you looking to improve interdepartmental communications? Are you looking to streamline the digital marketing process? Perhaps you are searching to get a handle on project management. Write these down and use them as a baseline to work from.

    Know the goals you want to achieve with this process and how you plan to measure the effectiveness of the potential change.

    Conducting a thorough workflow analysis is the second step togetting started on the right foot when attempting to implement business process automation.

    Try making a visual depiction such as a diagram in order to better understand the current workflow process and identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Talk to key employees and get the breakdown from their perspectives. This is especially important for processes/projects that span various departments.

     

    Visioneer Blog Automation
    Identify Automation Opportunities

    So how do you decide which processes/tasks should be automated? In a recent article, Tallyfy discusses three main questions to ask when considering whether to automate a task or process:

    1. Is it repetitive?
    2. Does it involve predictable steps?
    3. Are two or more people required for it to be completed manually?

    If the answers to these are a resounding “yes”, then you’ve found yourself a winner.

    It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t ever force your way into automating areas that show the “highest resistance” and/or have the potential to reap the lowest benefits from automation.

    Identifying the best solution for your unique situation is the third step in the automation process. Keep in mind that the worst thing you can do is try to automate an inefficient process using an ineffective solution.

    Ineffective solutions can range from choosing the wrong tools to not properly training and preparing employees for the transition.

    Generally speaking, you want a robust, intuitive platform that will give you plenty of customization options and a wide array of extension for app interconnection.

    What tools/systems do you currently use? If Google Calendars is the backbone in your scheduling process, you’ll want to find an application that is capable of integrating with it if scheduling is integral to the process you’re attempting to automate.

     

    Visioneer Blog Automation
    Impact of Automation

    Popular systems
    The best systems on the market in their niche are the best because they have all of these features. Any business in need of a solid analytics platform heads straight to GoogleAnalytics or other reliable and full-featured options such as Kissmetrics because they’ve proven to be worth their weight in gold.

    E-commerce companies use Shopify, Hubspot and Salesforce.com are the biggest in the Sales & Marketing arena and when it comes to project management, Asana, Basecamp and Trello are the heavy hitters.

    If you’re looking for social media marketing automation, Hootsuite, Buffer and Quuu are extremely popular, while Slack is the go-to in communication automation.

    There are endless options to choose from whatever your needs are and choosing the best system for your business boils down to your unique situation.

    Implementing your chosen solution as seamlessly as possible is key to the next step. In order to be successful in the implementation process you have to be proactive. Many times one of the biggest obstacles to business process automation is getting everyone onboard with the concept.

    Often times employees are concerned that automation inevitably leads to job loss, however this is not always the case. It is important to explain the numerous benefits that automation can have on employee satisfaction and the quality of their work life by eliminating busywork and mundane repetitive tasks.

    Automation can provide them the opportunity to focus on more crucial aspects of the workflow process and bring a more significant level of contribution and value to the company. By all intents and purposes, automation is meant to enhance the employee experience.

    Remind them that automation is a gradual process and help overcome feelings of skepticism and concern with proper  with open communication and transparency.             

    Visioneer Blog Automation
    Workplace Automation

    Analysis is the crucial final step in business process automation. Your work is far from over once implementation begins. Now, comes the part where you measure the progress, check back on your defined goals and tweak processes for optimization.

    This is where setting predefined timelines will come back to benefit you. Three months, six months or twelve months down the line you want to have a solid idea of where you should be in terms of progress. Don’t forget to identify key employees in the process and get feedback on the process and results and always remember that continuous improvement upon these processes is the key to success

     

    Visioneer Blog Automation
    Business Automation is a necessity

     

       Conclusion

    Business process automation is essential to take into consideration if you’re seriously looking to increase efficiency while effectively scaling your business. Don’t get stuck wasting valuable resources such as time, energy and money on processes that can be simplified and streamlined.

    Not only is this detrimental to your bottom line but it directly impacts employee satisfaction. So don’t get stuck at the tail-end of technological advancement. If you’re looking to be one of the companies that thrives in this rapidly changing and ever-evolving business landscape, then you’re going to have to get smart with your processes and stay ahead of the game.

    What are some ways that you think you can improve your workflow process with automation?

     

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