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If you're thinking about trying to reduce manual processes within your business then what are you actually trying to achieve? In one word, this can best be described as 'automation.'

So, how can automation benefit your business processes or ERP systems?

  • Reduces the number of repetitive tasks
  • Gives you time back
  • Creates logical workflow
  • Improves efficiency


The benefits of automation

Reduces the amount of repetitive tasks

Automation takes the burden of repetitive, manual tasks off your team’s hands. This not only gives you time back (which we’ll discuss below), but it also reduces the likelihood of human errors. This boosts productivity and efficiency.

Additionally, removing repetitive work can empower and enable people to perform better and with a higher sense of worth. So, your team won’t only be more productive and efficient but they may even produce better work.

Gives you time back

What are the benefits of automationPhoto by Buenosia Carol from Pexels

Automation frees up people to perform higher value-added work. Let’s use the Dynamics 365 Platform software as an example here - more specifically, utilising Power Automate [Flow] to build your own workflows.

Power Automate can not only be used alone but in conjunction with other elements of the Power Platform, such as Power Apps. This could be a model-driven app embedded within the D365FO software that automates the movement of data to the Common Data Service [CDS] from a transaction. 

Or a Canvas app that can also utilise D365/CDS data but can function outside the main D365 system (perhaps via your website), for example, to automate customer communications in to your business.

Creates logical workflow

D365 already has many different types of workflow that can aid in getting the right work to the right people at the right time. For example, purchase requisition and Purchase order approval workflows, perhaps encompassing signing limit tiers to direct the requested approval to the correct person or department. 

Elements of the workflow can also be configured to automatically approve the document if, for instance, it’s below a threshold value.

Improves efficiency

efficiency benefits of automation

Not so much full automation but consider how workers interact with the system. For example, do warehouse workers have to re-visit a PC terminal after performing a task in the warehouse or could they process the same work via a mobile device?

What about your customer experience? The following snippet is from our recent blog post by Sana eCommerce…

“In 2011, Amazon was already on top of automation innovations with features such as 1-Click checkout.
"Amazon’s eCommerce platform automated the process of placing orders. Combined with product suggestions and fast shipping due to integrated supply chain management software, Amazon’s service captured an American Customer Satisfaction Index score of 87.
"Through continued automation and breakneck efficiency, Amazon’s valuation went from $100 billion in 2011 to $1 trillion in 2020.”

From ‘How eCommerce is changing supply chain management’


Maximise your automation benefits by working with a digital consultancy

To truly get the most out of your automation-influenced benefits, you should consider partnering with a digital consultancy. The right consultancy will have years of expertise in managing automation-related projects, from implementing a piece of software and integrating it with your other business systems to providing aftercare support.

For instance, at Columbus UK, we have over 30 years of experience in implementation projects and have successfully rolled out more than 8,600 of them. We spend more than 1,700,000 hours consulting every year so it’s safe to say we’re experts and thought leaders when it comes to maximising the potential of your business automation

We can help you with:

Accounts Payable automation

  • Speed up invoice processing by capturing and digitising every supplier invoice. Save money and process invoices faster

AI & insights

  • Temperature control monitoring for quality control and preventative maintenance
  • Solve your business challenges by transforming complex data into actionable insights, leveraging all your data from CDS or Azure Data Lake

Supplier collaboration

  • Are you fully utilising the extensive Supplier Collaboration functionality within D365FO?
  • Allow suppliers to approach you and self-serve their prospective supplier application
  • Onboard suppliers faster, then allow them to interact with you and work collaboratively with you on their purchase transactions

B2B customer collaboration/portal

D365FO now has a Customer portal template as a Power Apps portal template. This:

  • Allows companies to create an externally facing website that is connected to a Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management environment.
  • The template provides guidance and a starting point for creating a custom website for business-to-business (B2B) sales-order processing and related scenarios
  • Helps companies bring dual-write, Power Apps portals, and Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management together to create a self-service experience for their enterprise customers

Dual write

  • Leverage the full potential of the Common Data Service to automate the flow of data between the systems within your D365 software stack as well as data external to those systems.


  • For many businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed them to new online markets but also highlighted weaknesses in their online offerings and supply chain efficiencies. Improving your ecommerce customer experience and integrating your site with your back-office order processing and supply chain system can bring you the efficiencies you now need.

Automation is one step towards a futureproofed business model

To truly futureproof your business, you need to consider digital innovation. Innovation is about redefining what you do so you’re providing customers with new (or more) value. New technology, like automation, can help by improving efficiency and productivity. So can a new business model, a tweak in processes or a change in the way you market a particular product or service.

Ultimately, it’s about keeping up with your customer demands and ensuring they’re always satisfied. This ensures you’re ahead of the competition. Our guide to digital innovation covers all of this. Click the button below to find out more.

Grab our guide to digital innovation


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