In the era of AI and automation, technology has taken center stage, revolutionizing the way we work and shaping the future of businesses. While larger enterprises have traditionally led the charge in adopting emerging technologies, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are recognizing the urgent need to invest in automation to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced business landscape.
A recent survey conducted by Propeller Insights on behalf of airSlate sheds light on the aspirations and challenges facing SMBs in their automation journey. In this blog, we’ve gathered valuable insights and statistics, and distilled them into the key takeaways that you won’t want to miss. Check out the full report for details.
SMBs are ready to harness the power of automation
The survey of over 1,000 SMBs in the U.S. reveals a compelling picture of SMBs’ readiness to embrace automation. With more than 30 million SMBs in the U.S. alone, their collective actions have the potential to shape the future of automation. Here are some key insights:
1. Tech stack optimization: In the wake of the rapid digitization brought on by the pandemic, SMBs are focusing on streamlining their tech stacks. While large enterprises often struggle with inflated tech stacks, SMBs are making an effort to invest in quality business technology solutions rather than accumulating a multitude of apps.
2. Low-code/No-code tools: Low-code/no-code automation tools are gaining traction as SMBs seek user-friendly solutions. However, more than half of SMBs have yet to explore the potential of these tools. Adoption often occurs either externally, through tech partners, or internally, with employees championing low-code adoption, also known as citizen developers.
3. Embracing digital signatures: There’s a significant shift from traditional wet signatures to digital signatures among SMBs. This shift reflects newfound trust in digital signatures as secure and convenient tools, particularly in our distributed, connected work environments.
4. CRMification of SMBs: SMBs are increasingly recognizing the importance of CRM solutions for boosting productivity. CRM systems, once considered exclusive to larger enterprises, are now seen as essential tools by almost 97% of SMB respondents.
5. Document workflow automation: Finance and sales teams are leading the charge when it comes to document workflow automation and eSignature solutions. These teams benefit from automation by streamlining processes and reducing time spent on paperwork.
SMBs’ automation sentiments: A positive outlook
Despite concerns about job displacement and change fatigue, and the challenges of implementing automation tools, SMBs have an optimistic outlook:
1. Nearly 94% of respondents believe that human interaction is essential for using automation and AI effectively.
2. Less than 15% of respondents express concerns about job displacement due to automation.
3. The majority of respondents (90%) anticipate time and budget savings from automation adoption.
More automation = more time
The ultimate goal of adopting automation tools is to enhance productivity and optimize efficiency. SMBs recognize that by allocating repetitive tasks to automation solutions, they can save up to 10 hours per week. With this extra time, they can achieve several objectives, including getting ahead of tasks, exploring a 4-day work week, focusing on high-level projects, or investing in team bonding activities to boost employee morale.
Seizing the Opportunity
For SMBs, wise investment decisions in automation tools not only contribute to profitability but also enhance the customer experience. Moreover, this presents a unique opportunity for upskilling employees in a manageable way. Prioritizing your professional growth is pivotal for thriving in the constantly evolving tech sector.
For instance, joining the certification programs offered by airSlate Academy will help you to gain crucial document workflow automation skills. These abilities will not only make you an indispensable asset to your organization but also drive your career to new heights.
As automation becomes more prevalent, knowing how to leverage AI solutions and optimize efficiency will be a valuable skill sought after by future recruiters.
SMBs are at the forefront of automation adoption, driven by a desire for productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness. As they navigate the automation landscape, choosing the right solutions and focusing on training and upskilling will be essential for their long-term success. By harnessing the power of automation and AI, SMBs can unlock more time, streamline processes, and ultimately thrive in an increasingly digital business environment.