Harnessing AI for Workflow Automation: 2x Your Productivity

May 15, 2024

Read time: 6 minutes

 


 

In today's world of work, most of us exist in some form of inbox zero, notification frenzy. Attempting to keep our head above water while tackling a never-ending task list. This turns into a daily recurring nightmare. We kid ourselves that we’ll pull an all-nighter next week to get everything ticked off and then we’ll be able to get some headspace to finally think “strategically”, whatever that means.

We know we need to get around to doing THAT admin and updating the CRM…but it’s at the end of a long list of other things that are REALLY important and much more fun. Being bogged down by those little admin tasks all add up to feeling like we're slowly drowning with a weight tied to our feet.

Is my love of admin coming across clearly enough??

Well, amidst these challenges lies a golden opportunity for AI. While it’s unlikely to replace most jobs overnight, AI can certainly start relieving us of the more painful, repetitive tasks today.

 

Little Areas, Big Benefits

It’s not always necessary to overhaul your entire business model to see the benefits of workflow automation. You can start with micro-optimisations that yield immediate benefits.

Just a side note, we believe there are times when a complete rethink is required, rather than trying to optimise a process that doesn’t work effectively. AI gives us the chance to reimagine certain ways of working which is extremely powerful. Knowing which areas of your business need optimisation and which need a complete overhaul is key.

 

Fireflies: Your AI Notetaker 

Fireflies has boosted our productivity enough to be considered one of our "employees". For the uninitiated, it is an AI notetaker tool that helps users capture meeting notes and easily refer back to them later. The real win with Fireflies is that it integrates with all video conferencing platforms including Zoom, Teams, and Google Meet.

In addition to capturing meeting notes, Fireflies.ai can pick up various parts of the conversation and help you drill down into them - things like questions, dates, and actions. This means you can select specific parts of a project meeting and look at performing other actions such as creating automation into other systems. From a project management perspective, this is a potential game-changer. If we can pick up specific areas of a conversation, such as project tasks or actions, and automatically create them under the relevant project in our CRM we could save time and run our projects more effectively.

For example, if you are on a call and decide that a specific action item needs to be added to a project, you identify the project name and request that this task be added within it. After the call, this is then picked up and created without the need for the project manager to do this manually. The flow is laid out below showing how AI tools can be used with various communications channels to automate data entry into systems, in this example Monday.com.

 

 

By eliminating the need to manually enter data into a CRM after a call, Fireflies.ai saves time and ensures that tasks are not forgotten. This is a micro-optimisation for operational efficiency that can be obtained from just a couple of tools. Imagine the gains when combined with other techniques and tools, especially if your business is data-intensive.

Most importantly, your business doesn't need machine learning engineers to leverage the benefits of Fireflies.ai and similar productivity tools. To reach the first level of automation, many of these tools can be set up with no-code solutions, making them accessible to a wide range of users.

 

 

“70% of companies are beginning to pilot automation technologies to drive efficiency gains”

McKinsey Report - Questions About Automation

 

 

Bardeen: A Salesperson’s New Best Friend

Another repetitive task, especially if you work in sales, is getting contacts into your CRM. The number of good salespeople who are great at keeping their admin up to date is few and far between. 

Well, now there are several tools that have started to automate this process, one such tool is called Bardeen. We use it to copy LinkedIn contacts into Notion, our central hub for documents and contacts. 

Bardeen, at the click of a button, automates this process entirely, ensuring our information is not only accurate but bang up-to-date. This seemingly modest triumph translates to a significant time saving, allowing us to dedicate more resources to cultivating strong client relationships and yep you’ve guessed it “thinking strategically”...because that’s what we’re paid to do by the way.

 

 

How to get the best out of automation tools

  1. Identify Repetitive Tasks: Start by analysing your daily or weekly workflow. Look for tasks that are repetitive and manual, time-consuming, and potentially prone to error.
  2. Prioritise and Choose Your Tool(s): Once you have a list of tasks, prioritise them based on the time saved and potential impact on your workflow. 
  3. Start Small and Experiment: Don't try to automate everything at once. Begin with a single, high-impact task and experiment with the tool's capabilities.
  4. Refine and Monitor: Once you've built an automation, monitor its performance. Make adjustments and refine your automation as needed to ensure optimal results.



Risks and Key Things To Be Aware Of

While using any of the newer AI tools pay attention to:

  • Accuracy: Monitor the data extracted by any of these tools to ensure they are working correctly.
  • Transparency: Inform colleagues about automated tasks to manage expectations and avoid confusion.
  • Security: When using any tool make sure you’re aware of their policies, what they do with your data and how they operate.
  • Putting Lipstick on a Pig: Some ways of working or processes will benefit from a complete overhaul - these require thought, planning and imagination rather than optimisation.



The Unseen Areas That Drive Success

When embarking on a larger-scale automation programme having a joined-up communications strategy is essential. Teams are worried about AI taking jobs and an agreed, joined-up, leadership approach on this is required. Education and communication through an organisation will play as much of a deciding factor in success as technology.

 

“Communication and integration are two of the most important factors that drive AI success but these are often seen as an afterthought or missed altogether in early projects” 

Tom Head - G3NR8



Benefits of Automation

The benefits of workflow automation extend far beyond simply saving time. Here's how we leverage automation for a broader impact:

Accuracy Boost: No more typos. Automated tasks like copying contacts ensure everyone's on the same page.

Scalability on Autopilot: Growing pains? Automated workflows handle the extra load without a hitch.

Happier Employees: Ditch the drudgery. Automation frees staff from engaging in work, boosting morale and potentially productivity.

Client Focus: By building our own automation tools, we gain first hand experience with client challenges, leading to even better solutions – a win-win.



Conclusion

AI-powered workflow automation presents a powerful opportunity to optimise business processes, improve efficiency, and empower your workforce. By integrating these tools, in the right areas, companies can unlock additional performance within their teams giving them a competitive edge and paving the way for future growth. 

 

Who knows, you might finally get that headspace to think “strategically”, the question then becomes are you ready to take advantage of it?


Take the first step today and explore how AI can transform the way you work - let’s chat.

Stay Ahead with The Ultimate AI Newsletter

Subscribe for unique AI insights and strategies that redefine business and innovation. Plus, get VIP access to a curated selection of "bad AI" - because sometimes, learning what not to do is just as valuable..