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Blog | Aug 7, 2023

Task Automation: How To Get More Done With Less

Task Automation
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It’s evident: Automation is all around us. Whether we’re trying to call a contact center agent or ordering food, automation is performing a large volume of day-to-day tasks — many we don’t even see ourselves!

Is it hard to imagine a time before this? Not really, if we think about it: long queues, constant errors, wrong information and frustratingly slow progress. Task automation has been the saving grace for many businesses and customers alike. It’s taken the repetitive, labor-intensive and mundane tasks away from humans and directed them to focus on more high-level, productive work. The bottom line is that time is spent better, which brings out a wealth of other benefits with it.

If you want to understand more about how task automation achieves this, and how you can get started today, we’re going to break it down below.

What is Task Automation?

In a nutshell, task automation is the use of automation technology and software to streamline tasks. The goal is to reduce or eliminate the manual tasks and manual data entry done by a human, to make processes more efficient, less error-prone and use resources more productively.

If you’ve read our content, you’ll notice we talk a lot about a digital workforce or robotic process automation. Here’s a quick refresher on some key terms:

  • Robotic process automation (RPA) gives you software technology, or ‘software bots’, that you teach to perform tasks. They manage the time-consuming repetitive tasks where human intelligence isn’t needed.
  • Digital workers are frontline to IA. They are intelligent virtual employees that enhance and augment human work, powered by RPA technology

With this context, we’d say that RPA is a task automation tool. But it’s just one part of a user’s digital transformation toolkit. As automation capabilities continue to advance, having a flexible and scalable automation strategy in your business processes is critical to truly reap its benefits.

Task automation vs process automation

Task automation and process automation are both distinct approaches to using automation to optimize business operations. Their key difference lies in the activity they are optimizing. Task automation is more granular, focusing on automating the individual business task that an employee does (in hopes to eliminate repetitive tasks and manual work). It automates specific actions.

In contrast, process automation automates end-to-end business processes, including multiple tasks and activities. It ensures seamless coordination between different tasks, departments and systems involved in a process.

You may also see another term floating around: workflow automation. It’s essentially the middle ground between task automation and process automation. Workflow automation relates to the flow between tasks according to defined criteria. Instead of focusing on one task, it coordinates between a whole set of tasks in a workflow. A great example of workflow automation is employee onboarding.

What Type of Tasks Can Be Automated?

Nearly every task can be automated, but that doesn’t mean every task should be automated. Your automation strategy will depend on your goals, business structure and workflow.

A digital worker is able to mimic actions such as keystrokes, clicks, data uploads, transfers and more. They also do so in the same user interface your employees use. Therefore, the tasks that are suitable for automation are routine tasks that are high-volume, repetitive and rule based. These routine tasks usually also have tedious processes that make them even more suitable.

Other considerations that can help you understand whether to automate a task:

  • Is your task simple and doesn’t require critical thinking?
  • Does the task need to be completed in a certain way following exact steps?
  • Is it time-sensitive?
  • Is your task holding up other tasks? Does it have a multi-step workflow?
  • Does your task use structured data?
  • Is it using multiple applications?
  • Is your task repetitive or a routine task?
  • Does your task require a lot of manual effort or involve manual processes?

If you can answer yes to most of these, then there’s a good chance you can use automation. A great way to be certain is through task mining and process mining. These tools help you drill down into a task's small details, processes and subprocesses. Mining helps inform what stages are encountering bottlenecks and which processes make ideal candidates for an automation solution.

Industry Examples of Task Automation

So which scenarios can we find these tasks? Let’s look at some common industry applications of task automation:

Finance and banking

  • Generating monthly closing and management reports
  • Mortgage processing
  • Fraud detection
  • Payment processing
  • Credit checks
  • Loan application process


  • Policy cancellations
  • Processing claims
  • Registering new claims
  • Customer onboarding
  • Underwriting
  • Policy renewal


  • New patient registration
  • Patient booking/appointment scheduling
  • Patient record and data management
  • Post-treatment follow-ups


  • Invoice processing
  • Purchase order processing
  • Auditing
  • Assembly
  • Production scheduling
  • Reporting/KPI management
  • Quality management


  • Demand-supply planning
  • Returns processing
  • Inventory management
  • Call center processes
  • Fraud detection
  • Marketing and email automation
  • Sales analysis

Beyond these scenarios, automation can complete more complex tasks with multi-step workflows when coupled with advanced technologies, such as machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). Learn more about  smarter automation for complex workflows.

Why Automate Tasks?

There are several layers to answer this. On the surface, automating workflows simply means that time is giving back to your employees. It frees them from doing labor-intensive, manual and routine tasks so they can focus on more high-level decisions. For example, payroll employees constantly filling out repetitive form fields or waiting hours for task approvals from upper management.

This then has a more positive, causal effect. Firstly, employees are more satisfied with their job roles as they can focus on their job's more exciting and rewarding aspects. Secondly, it improves the accuracy and validity of the work carried out. Think of it like this: If employees continue to do the same thing repeatedly, they're bound to make a mistake. Task automation doesn't suffer from the same fatigue.

Ultimately, this benefits your customers. You can create a more positive customer experience with faster delivery, consistent service, personalized experiences and proactive engagement.

Benefits of Automating Tasks

We’ve already covered a few benefits of automating tasks. If you aren’t convinced yet, here are some more:

  • Larger focus on strategy, rather than patchwork: Task automation lets you and your employees focus on more strategic decisions that add value to drive business growth and better serve your customers, employees and stakeholders.
  • Increased productivity: Task automation enables workers to focus on more productive, return-on-investment-boosting activities rather than monotonous, repetitive tasks. This is also a great advantage if your organization is short of skilled workers, so their time is used more effectively.
  • Reduces errors and increases compliance: Employees are constantly working between different, varying tasks. Information can be overlooked or small errors made. Task automation helps ensure and improve consistency by relying on its automation rules.
  • Faster, round-the-clock response: Digital workers can perform tasks much faster than a human. They also perform these tasks 24/7 without error, generating you unrivalled time savings.
  • Scalability when and where you need: Whether you identify a small area of your business or an entire process, task automation can be tailored to your specific requirements.
  • Improves customer satisfaction: Customers are satisfied as work is done faster and without errors. Their expectations are met and often even exceeded.
  • Reduces costs: Task automation runs very efficiently. You’re able to cut indirect labor costs associated with time and human error. Digital workers also don’t burn out, giving you more out of your investment with fewer resources.

How To Automate Tasks

Everyone’s journey to automation is different – whether you’re beginning from scratch or have small operations in place — here’s a general step-by-step process to how you should approach task automation: 

Review tasks

    Before you even begin to look at automation, you should review how your tasks operate. We’ve mentioned task and process mining before, and they actually make up a larger strategy — your business intelligence. Business intelligence software lets you capture a highly accurate, data-driven view of your current business processes and tasks. Essentially it helps you understand what’s working and what’s not. 

    Identify opportunities for automation

      Once you have a clear insight into your business process, you can identify automation opportunities. You can do this yourself, or business intelligence software can help here too. Based on your criteria, it can show you information about tasks and identify the ones most suited for automation for your case.

      If you want more advanced analysis and reporting, SS&C | Blue Prism® Process Intelligence (BPPI) powered by ABBYY Timeline is integrated with our RPA and BPM solutions for speedy examination, development and deployment of process flows and automations. Additionally, once processes are mined, Process Intelligence optimizes, automates and deploys automations with continuous closed-loop performance monitors to detect and respond to any deviations.

      Find a task automation tool according to your needs

      Once you’ve found your highest-value automation opportunities, you can now search for an automation tool that answers your exact needs. You have questions, so shop around for the tool that will best answer them. These questions can be: How often do you need it to run? Where does it need to be installed? How easy is it to set up? Is it team-specific automation? What automation rules do you need to set? 

      Implement and review

        Once you’ve found and implemented your task automation tool, don’t forget about it! The key to successful implementation is ensuring it works as intended. You’ll want to set up a review of the tasks and include the employees involved to really judge its impact. This can also involve hiring a task automation manager to keep track of any automation hiccups and implement best practices.

        You can do this by creating a Center of Excellence (CoE). This involves putting a skilled team together who will support and collaborate throughout the organization, helping improve your governance structure, and upskill and educate employees.

        If you decide to scale your automation’s impact, we recommend you check out our automation operating model for guidance.

        Popular Task Automation Tools

        To help get you started, we’ll walk through some popular task automation software and no-code/low-code tools below, including what they do and scenarios where they help.

        Robotic Desktop Automation (RDA)

        Robotic desktop automation (RDA) is a powerful tool to help businesses automate repetitive, data-sensitive tasks that must run on users’ desktops with constant human interaction. It works with other desktop applications that employees potentially use, such as Microsoft Excel or Outlook.

        Document automation

        If employees are bogged down by paperwork, document automation could be your solution. It helps digitize, classify and extract information from paper automatically. Instead of employees spending time trying to read handwritten notes, they can see decision-ready information to carry on immediately. As a no-code tool, it’s also super user-friendly and easy to set up.


        RPA is a simple, easy-to-use software that deploys digital workers that mimic human actions. RPA can get advanced if you need it to tackle complex workflows. You can have three types:

        • Attended automation: Where it lives on a user’s device and activates on command.
        • Unattended automation: It follows rule-based processes.
        • Hybrid RPA: A combination of attended and unattended.

        Project management

        If project and task organization is needed, task automation software can help you set up meeting reminders, automatically assign tasks, create comments, send emails and move statuses to ensure that your employees are on top of everything and don’t have to wait around for manual approvals. You can even create custom variables to follow. Many of these tools are also compatible with your existing desktop applications.

        Getting Started With Task Automation

        Task automation is a great place to start your automation journey. Working on automating these individual tasks lets you see the possibilities of how it can work for you without overwhelming your processes. It helps you build a stronger business case to graduate into more advanced business process management.

        But it’s important to remember: Automate what you can and use humans where you should. That’s why understanding your employees and how they do tasks is critical for any automation solution to be as successful as it can be for you.

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