Employees no longer expect their office to be a place they simply come to work – they expect their office environment to also be a smart place for them to work, driven by office automation.
Today, employees don’t want to spend time maintaining the systems of their office. Office automation techniques have solved this issue for many organizations – with the basics of an office automation system including storage of information, data exchange, and data management.
These three buckets extend not only to the technical systems running the office, but also to people management, building access, and other internal systems.
When put in practice, office automation might look different for different types of offices.
Automated processes and software should assist you in creating the flow of your own office, not force a different workflow for your employees. It should also help you define your own access controls and to streamline approval processes, all from the cloud.
Defining this workflow gets difficult as more businesses become flexible with their office time – some businesses may want a smartphone access control system to allow employees to come and go, while others might need digital video software to connect with co-workers on the web.
“For me, technology has brought the concept of work outside of the office,” Madhusudan Thakur, Regional Vice president of South Asia, Regus says.
“What this means is that work isn’t somewhere you go, it’s something you do. All of this is enabled through the adoption and implementation of new technology platforms. For me, a smart office is a physical and technological platform that allows you to work anywhere.”
The idea of office automation is to offer your employees flexibility and reliability. If you’re office systems aren’t automated yet, we have some suggestions for a few tools you shouldn’t try to live without.
From marketing tools, to keeping your office clean, here are 25 office automation tools that you’ll need to start your office’s journey to automation.
But what are these automation tools without their fearless leaders?
As a bonus, we’ve also featured the leadership teams behind these successful tools.
We’ve categorized the top automation tools into 8 different categories:
Online marketing tools: automate nurture campaigns, tracking and content output.
One of the most effective ways to market to potential customers is through email. It’s the only version of internet marketing where you’re directly talking to your audience. To use this marketing method at scale, automation will be key.
Iterable is a great option for marketing automation, as you don’t have to know how to code to make a really beautiful campaign. It integrates seamlessly with other marketing platforms, and makes A/B testing extremely easy (even with complex campaigns).
Blogging: Community Elf
Community Elf will generate your content and provide curation services for your brand. Logging into the platform allows you access to software that will identify content that’s relevant, authoritative and shareable across the web.
Automating your blogging content will take a load off the marketing team’s mind, as constantly finding and producing good content is expensive, time consuming and hard to promote.
Social Media: DrumUp
Consistency is the one aspect of social media that most companies have trouble with – if you’re not producing pieces of content on a regular basis, it’s hard to keep up the consistency with social media.
DrumUp helps to automate social media processes across multiple accounts, while also helping you to curate content and maintain that consistency that can be a challenge.
All-in-one Automation: HubSpot
It’s hard to see the point in spending your budget on things like email, blogging and social media without seeing how it can affect the business’s bottom line. HubSpot helps you automate your entire lead generation process by bringing all aspects of content marketing under one roof, and helping you to consistently market to and contact your leads.
With HubSpot’s extensive reporting system, you’re able to see exactly how each social media post, blog post, email, and more brought in more customers to your business.
Brian Halligan, Co-founder and CEO
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Dharmesh Shah, Co-founder and CTO
Twitter | LinkedIn
Katie Burke, VP Culture and Experience
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JD Sherman, President and COO
Managing the office: keeping the mechanics running smoothly.
Have you ever sat down to take notes in a meeting, and then immediately wished that those notes were transposed to your computer screen? Evernote takes this process to a whole new level. The app grows with you, as you discover more and more of it’s processes.
Not only can you add text for things like meeting notes, quick memos, and funny quotes you might here, but you can also record audio while you take those notes, save photographs, make checklists and save web articles. All of it syncs to the cloud allowing you access no matter where you are.
Receipts and Reimbursement: Expensify
Having employees collect receipts on business trips, turn in a stack of paper to the finance team when they come home, and go through the reimbursement process is cumbersome. Expensify streamlines the way employees report expenses by allowing them to do it while they’re away, directly from their phone.
Expensify automates the way expenses are approved, while also mechanizing the way you export information to your accounting package and apply these expenses to your budget.
File storage: NexentaStor
As you business grows, so will the number of digital files you accumulate. Storing these files is important, as employees, customers and partners need to access and share information with one another. NexentaStor is an Open Source-driven file storage platform.
The platform is flexible, and allows you to structure file storage to your needs, while simplifying the management of these files – automating availability, reliability and functionality.
File sharing: Ipswitch
Sometimes you’ll have to share the files your organization is storing, and you’ll have to do so securely, reliably, and with the knowledge that your information will be handled with care. Ipswitch is a high-performance managed file transfer solution to help businesses interact.
Ipswitch is notable because it scales – whether or not you’re an enterprise, or someone using the technology for person-to-person file exchanges, you don’t have to worry about moving around sensitive data or stepping on compliance policies. Not to mention – the process will allow you to be way more visible and take control of how your files move around.
File Backup: Seafile
Make sure you never lose a file again – constantly backup your information to the cloud automatically with a syncing tool that’s reliable and works in the background. Seafile boasts a reliable syncing algorithm that will support your systems in a robust way.
Not only will you be backing up your data in real time, but library snapshots and histories will allow you to easily recover and enable anything you may have lost.
Access Management: Kisi
As your business scales, you’ll be hiring more employees – and that means more people coming in and out of the office daily. On the other hand, when employees leave, you’re going to want to revoke that access seamlessly.
Kisi provides a smartphone access control system that allows businesses to remotely give and revoke access to employees as needed. Not only does this remove the headache of constantly printing ID cards to allow people into the building, but KISI gives you more flexibility by allowing you to implement restrictions on access and flexible work hours.
Visitor Management: Ring
Your home isn’t the only place that you can expect to host guests – businesses are constantly bringing in visitors for various reasons. The security problem is that when the doorbell rings, you never know who’s on the other side.
Ring let’s you see the other side of your door with wide angled HD video, smart motion detection, and cloud recording. Our integration with Ring allows you to not only view who’s at the door, but give them immediate access with a smartphone access control system.
James Siminoff, CEO and Chief Inventor
Customers and contacts: never miss a point of contact with a customer.
Contact Forms: Pardot
As prospective customers come in through inbound efforts, the contact form submissions become a lot to manage. Pardot is an application of Salesforce that makes communication with prospects from form submissions easy.
The tool allows you to move leads down the sales pipe faster, and track engagement and follow up speed to make for a more automated and functional sales process.
When you’re interacting with customers and sales prospects, you’re usually answering some of the same questions over and over again. These frequently asked questions (FAQs) can be delivered to your leads with automated customer support and workflow software.
Issuetrak helps you to define, manage and automate your issue tracking, workflow, customer support and help desk needs. The automation keeps customer systems moving.
Support: Help Scout
Support teams for technical companies do a lot of heavy lifting. Companies can get hundreds of support requests a day, and without an automated way to manage these requests, things can get messy pretty quickly.
Help Scout keeps your team organized and your customers happy with a host of features designed for managing support emails at scale. The best part – they focus on customer experience, so you never look automated.
Managing your customers is best done with some sort of customer resource management (CRM) tool. Hatchbuck puts all of your points of contact with a customer into one spot, bringing the human back into the marketing process.
The human element is valuable in a world where it seems like every interaction with a company is automated, but Hatchbuck keeps you up-to-date with notifications for tasks, and alerts you when hot leads are ready to buy.
Project management: defeat your to-do list
Project Management: FunctionFox
Every business department and role is bombarded with multiple tasks for several different project each day. Having some sort of automated project management solution to bring all of these tasks under one roof can take a lot of the weight off of your team’s shoulders.
FunctionFox is a powerful and easy-to-use project management tool. You can track your projects from an idea to completion, while freeing up more time to focus on the work versus the administrative upkeep.
Sales, inventory and accounts: let the numbers crunch themselves.
Account management requires a lot of upkeep – you have to make sure the account holder’s needs are fulfilled, inventory is correct (if applicable) and that all finances are in line. This process goes much smoother with an automated process to manage changes in the relationship and account.
Sendbloom helps your sales team manage their pipeline and build better accounts from start to finish. It very personalized, so prospects never feel like they’re talking to a computer, with a cadence that automated nicely into your team’s personal workflow.
Shopping Carts/Online Ordering: Shopify
The check-out cart is arguably the most important part of automation for e-commerce based business. The entire process has to be clean, trustworthy and go off without a hitch in order for the optimal number of customers to make a sale.
Shopify is one of the most popular tools for ecommerce brands, providing everything you need to setup and start selling your product online (beautifully). The best part – you can put the tool together yourself and make it work for you and your brand.
What’s the one thing that keeps your business afloat? Revenue. Float wants to help you build a better budget by keep an eye on the one number that matters the most, in the most streamlined and automated way possible.
The technology helps finance teams get a detailed look at where your cash is headed. It’s your job to predict, enhance and tweak your budget to help your business grow, but Float helps you manage your cash position in a way that will help you nurture your business.
Staffing: automate your hiring and HR systems.
Recruiting and hiring are two of the top issues businesses wish they could automate better. The ideal situation is more candidates coming to company inbound, and being hired and onboarded seamlessly through automated technology.
Workable is an affordable online recruiting software that aims to solve this problem for companies. The technology is easy to use and really shines during the implementation process. You can get workable up and running in minutes with no downloads or training needed.
Nikos Moraitakis, CEO
Twitter | LinkedIn
Thanos Markousis, VP Operations
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Panos Korros, VP Engineering
Spyros Magiatis, CTO
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Rob Long, VP Growth
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Daniel Howden, VP Marketing
Twitter | LinkedIn
Planning your staff roster can be a lot to handle as your staff grows. Using an automated tool to help manage shift planning, employee communication, time clocks and payrolls will take a load off your mind.
Planday manages all of this for businesses, and helps them gain significant advantages by tracking trends, staff costs and optimizing time using the resources you already have available to you.
Training: onboard your new hires with ease.
When new employees come on board, there is so much they have to learn. From business processes to workflows, having some sort of onboarding processes for your new employees will help make the transition go smoother for everyone. The problem is that business can’t stop to help onboard a new employee – having an automated system for onboarding and training solves this issue.
CertSpring helps you quickly build training that tailored to your business and needs. If needed you can creates badges, certificate programs and other pieces of content to help bring your new employees up to speed as quickly as possible, so they can start having an impact on your business’s bottom line.
Office environment: stop spending your time adjusting the thermostat.
The office environment is the last thought on the minds of your employees, until there’s something wrong with it. No one likes coming into a freezing cold or boiling hot office. Automating this process can help keep the office perpetually comfortable for everyone while keeping costs down.
The Nest thermostat is designed for businesses, and has auto-scheduling capabilities that let people go in and out of the office regularly. It will save energy while everyone is gone and lock so that only employees with access can set the temperature.
Lighting HVAC: Optimum Energy
Keeping office environment costs down is a focus for some companies, and as more and more companies want to go green, this focus shifts to a wider focus on optimizing this energy use. Automating and tracking this process can help to keep costs down, while providing a better environment for your employees.
Optimum Energy is patented software that was built with environmental engineering expertise. The tool helps customers reduce energy use in heating and cooling systems by up to 50 percent by managing energy input and output for businesses.
Service: Managed by Q
There is nothing more distracting than coming to work everyday and sitting in a messy office. Cleaning the office can be expensive and cumbersome when the process isn’t streamlined, and employees have to work around logistical cleaning issues.
Managed by Q wants to solve your company’s cleaning crisis with regular cleaning sessions keep your space neat and organized. An automated process, you no longer have to worry about booking a cleaning staff to come help keep the office neat.
While you might not be able to automate every aspect of your office, automating some of your most time-consuming office tasks will help to streamline your workplace, allowing for more innovation and growth on the part of your employees.
KISI is a smartphone access control system that controls, secures and unlocks your door with your smartphone. If you’re interested in learning how we can help automate your office access, request a demo.