Bot automation: the ultimate helping hand for your business
The time has come to define what bot automation is finally all about. Major technological breakthroughs will be reshaping how we do business into the 2020s. Artificial intelligence, algorithms and Bots, are fundamentally changing the way we work and communicate. And while the term ‘bot’ is often misused — leading to speculations about its true nature — automation is here to stay. But this is no cause for concern, because bot automation will be delivering far more benefits than drawbacks to your workplace.
How to use bot automation
Bot automation is the process of automating repetitive tasks, such as data entry, with the help of software robots — known as bots. When properly configured, bots can complete any task for you without further action on your part. And, just like any other program, bots can be used by cybercriminals as spam/scam/web scraping tools.
Next, it’s important to understand that there are tons of bots out there that fall into a variety of categories for performing a wide range operations. For example, one of the most well-known types of software bots today is the chatbot. Other types of bots include web crawler bots and — the most important category — rule-based bot automation.
The problem is that, whether for better or worse, most software bots are “one-trick ponies”, i.e. only applicable to a certain part of a workflow chain and incapable of resolving all your business pain-points on their own.
In reality, however, every workflow is unique, and so are bots. That’s why airSlate isn’t aimed at solving immediate workflow-related issues while accepting their existence in general. Instead, it provides users with the possibility to build an adjustable and transparent document and data flow and automate it with Bots that perform certain actions on pre-set triggers and conditions.
In airSlate, all Bots are divided into the following categories:
Automation Bots are used to set notifications, send reminders, populate documents with CRM data, etc., for the purposes of automating your Flow to the fullest.
Integration Bots allow you to integrate your Flow with the cloud services you’re already using and keep everything you need in one place. For instance, you can transfer data from CRMs, SQL databases, spreadsheets and other sources without any additional hassle.
Let’s say you need a contract approved and signed by a few separate parties (a sales representative, customer, manager, etc.). Assigning specific access levels for each role and distributing them to each party is a hassle. That’s why using Bot automation will save you hours, if not days.
Start with creating an automated Flow by adding a contract template and connecting your CRM system’s account (for example, Salesforce). Next, create roles and configure access settings for everyone involved. The sales representative, the client, and the manager can now fill out their necessary fields and leave comments.
Then, set the Pre-fill Bot to automatically fill the document with your Salesforce data — allowing the Flow participants to skip having to fill in the same information over and over again. A Notification Bot can also be set to notify the Flow participants of any fields being completed. What’s more, another Bot can be activated to automatically update Salesforce record(s) with the filled in data.
Hardware/software purchase requests
Processing hardware/software purchase requests are a common routine for most companies — a request is created by an employee and passed to a manager for approval. A payment form is also added to confirm payment. It may take a while before the employee finally receives their equipment. Afterall, the request has to go through review and approval by their manager, the IT and Accounting departments.
To avoid these complications, the employee can create a simple Flow that contains both their equipment’s Request and the Payment Forms, and share it with both their manager and IT department’s representative for review and approval. The employee can track their request’s progress and receive notifications as soon as both parties have approved their request. The Export to Google Sheet Bot can be added so that the Accounting department can keep track of their company’s purchases.
All the employee had to do was create the Flow. From there, they could simply monitor the progress of the automation Bots while the Flow completed itself.
Onboarding requests & approvals
A lot of things can go wrong during the onboarding process. Maybe there’s a miscommunication regarding an employment contract, or maybe a new employee hasn’t received the IT resources they need to start their job. Issues like these can be resolved by creating an Onboarding Request Flow that contains the necessary document package.
Just create and assign roles for the employee, HR Manager, etc. for filling in any missing data. Then, add and configure Bots for sending notifications and routing documents from role to role, based on the conditions you’ve set. Additionally, you can set up a Bot to archive and store completed and approved documents in Dropbox.
One of the main workflow bottlenecks in healthcare occurs when trying to collect signed and completed forms from the proper parties.
Clinicians can now use airSlate to set the Role Reminder Bot so a physician won’t forget to sign a prescription. Instead of keeping patients in suspense — set up the Notification Bot so that your patient gets notified once their document has been approved. With an automated workflow, both the physician and patient can exchange and sign the necessary documents in real-time and without need for regularly meeting in person.
Integrations: Bot automation vs API
Imagine having to repeat the same administrative data-entry routine everyday for 8 hours, day in and day out. It wouldn’t be long before your focus would drift and the possibility of error becomes a probability. Millions of situations like this occur every day in the workplace and can cost your business up to 30% annually. The best way to focus on tasks that actually matter is to automate. And the best way to automate your workflow is to use Automation Bots.
Set automatic reminders for the participants of your workflow that notify them of any changes made to a document, scheduled reminders, or require them to take action (e-sign a document, fill in data, etc.) — automation Bots are there to help you in any situation.
What’s more, you can set up a separate Bot that would automatically print specific documents from Google Cloud, or update the Audit Trail log whenever a document or spreadsheet has been changed.
The main task of Integration Bots is to ensure seamless data exporting and importing, as well as integrate with the systems you already use — CRM’s, databases, NetSuite, GSuite, Microsoft Dynamics, and so on.
Since Integration Bots connect your Flow to the services you’re using, there’s no need to re-code your entire integration structure or use an API each time your workflow needs a new service added. No-code integrations are especially helpful as your business grows and demands change.
How to configure Bot automation software?
Bots can be easily configured using simple “if-then” logic. First, set their triggers — actions that define when a Bot acts.
When someone opens a document. These Bots are responsible for pre-filling a document with custom data and sending notifications to your teammates.
When someone completes a document. These Bots perform actions pertaining to finalized documents. For instance, you can set up a Bot that archives a document to Dropbox so that you can access it later, or notify a teammate when the document is completed.
Any form of Bot automation occurs according to the conditions you set:
Recipient. This condition is based on the profile information a person enters when creating an airSlate account, such as their email, first name, last name, position and role permissions. Based on this condition, the Bot will only act if the document’s recipient is registered with airSlate and it is able to check that recipient’s personal information.
Date. This condition is only applied if you want a Bot to take action on a date or for a specific duration of dates.
Document. Finally, if you need the Bot to perform an action based on data entered into fillable fields, set this Bot condition with your document.
What automation is and is not
Automation is a business strategy, not a one size fits all. Automation compliments a workflow, it does not replace it. Likewise, as helpful as they are, Bots are just tools in your hands so don’t expect them to do your job for you.
What Bots can do is improve your daily business processes such as team collaboration, employee productivity, customer satisfaction, etc. Luckily for us, we have access to these benefits without having to code or pay extra for third-party solutions and API-integrations.