Alan Joenn
posted by Alan Joenn on June 28, 2022
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Rising Costs and Labour Shortages - Can Business Automation Help?With rising costs and labour shortages, business automation is ready to help shoulder the load. And it doesn’t have to break the bank.

There is an interesting set of statistics in the current edition of the FSB magazine (First Voice, June-September 2022, p9). It shows that small business confidence is down from +18 to +15, Q1 2021 to Q1 2022, however, this varies from sector to sector.

Whilst the information and communications sector shows a positive confidence rating, manufacturing and wholesale/retail are below zero. “Manufacturing (-9) and wholesale and retail (-8) report negative readings as operating costs, supply chain disruption, labour shortages and belt-tightening hit.” And this begs the question – is there a role for business automation here? Can technology and workflow management help?

Now you may think my answer will be biased, given my job role, but my opinion is supported by research from KPMG.


Business automation can help businesses hit by labour shortages and rising costs. In its article ‘Embrace automation as the rising star’, KPMG looks at one specific industry, however, the argument applies across the board. “By taking on tasks that previously required human intervention, automation can reduce the workload, increase efficiency, improve consistency, accelerate responses and help provide comprehensive decision support…” reports the article. And this is where business automation can help. Efficiency, consistency, better decisions. This is exactly what is required when finding the right talent is tricky and when costs are spiralling.


In another article ‘7 ways automation can help power the back office’, KPMG lists these outcomes from embracing automation:

  1. Employees will have time for higher-value work
  2. Interactions can be more personalised with virtual assistants
  3. Document management will be faster, more thorough
  4. Forecasting will be intelligent
  5. Less fraud and waste
  6. Customer and employee retention can be predictable
  7. Transactions can be more efficient, transparent, secure, and faster with blockchain

Now many CRM and workflow management systems don’t employ virtual assistants, and none (to my knowledge) use blockchain, however, the case for automation in CRM remains clear.

The benefits touch many of the points listed as mandatory requirements in checklists and RFPs for CRM. Everyone wants to create more time for employees to make better decisions and to become more effective. Everyone wants better forecasting. Everyone wants to improve both employee and customer retention. These are the cornerstones of a well-considered CRM framework.

Rethink ROI

So maybe it’s time to rethink the ROI argument for CRM. Maybe it’s time to add something to the traditional model of sales improvement and growth for CRM. Maybe it’s time to look at talent utilisation in a market that is dominated by rising costs and labour shortages.

At Collier Pickard, we have been at the forefront of mid-market and small business CRM since we started in 2004. We have always found and deployed emerging technologies and innovation in CRM, marketing automation and business process automation. And today is no different.

In these times of economic inflation and labour shortages, we believe that workflow in CRM is part of the answer for business set on weathering the storm. Process automation of repetitive tasks in the front office and in customer relationship management now comes as an integral part of CRM. And we are pleased to be able to offer the associated benefits to our customers.

If you would like to consider business process automation in the front office using the experience of professionals – experts – in this field, then get in touch. We will be pleased to help.

Alan Joenn is an Account Director at Collier Pickard and has over 25 years’ experience in CRM.

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