Automation is one of the hottest trends in the modern business world. It’s closely associated with business agility and operational efficiency and is hailed as the powerhouse behind distributed enterprises. If the fast-growing business automation market is any indication, automation is an increasingly essential and popular business tool.
This article looks at the role of remote automation in a distributed enterprise. But first, let’s discuss the meaning and importance of the distributed enterprise model.
What is a distributed enterprise?
It’s an organization that operates in a decentralized environment. In other words, its customers, workers, and other business assets can be located in any part of the globe. A distributed enterprise is largely based on the hybrid work model and powered by cloud technologies. These are the four pillars of a distributed enterprise:
- Hybrid work, where employees can work either remotely or on-site
- Decentralized IT infrastructure that supports a global workforce and remote customer engagements
- Central office or work hub with satellite branches, which could be physical or virtual (optional, depending on the business model and its distribution scope)
- Geographically diverse market base
In essence, the distributed enterprise approach breaks down all the physical and geographical barriers standing in the way of business. This is a sharp diversion from the traditional enterprise architecture that relies on local markets, 9-to-5 employees, and on-site resources. And while this concept isn’t new, many organizations are only now embracing it.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many entrepreneurs have been hard at work restructuring their HR, business, and management models to support various elements of a distributed enterprise. For instance, by March 2020, a majority of CFOs were already planning drastic shifts to remote and hybrid work.
And although hybrid work implementation is still quite spotty, 81% of senior executives believe it will be the dominant workplace model by 2024, with more than half the work being done remotely. Additionally, digital transformation focusing on distributed IT systems is on the rise. Enterprise distribution is clearly proving an inevitable evolution of the modern business environment.
The importance and benefits of a distributed enterprise
Why are business leaders so keen on embracing distributed enterprises? The answer lies in the advantages distributed enterprises have over traditional business structures. These advantages include:
Easier flexibility and scalability
Distributed enterprises are more flexible and scalable than their localized counterparts. They are able to quickly adjust themselves to take advantage of emerging opportunities, overcome unexpected hurdles, and cope with disruptions. Easy flexibility and scalability enable a business to thrive in a dynamic environment with ever-changing customer demands, business logistics, workplace trends, and popular culture.
Scaling a distributed enterprise or changing its direction can be as easy as reconfiguring the underlying virtual infrastructure, contracting more remote workers, or repurposing the existing assets to solve a particular problem. Scalability and flexibility build business agility, a crucial trait for ensuring business resilience and survival.
Higher employee retention rate
Employees want work flexibility, which can only be achieved by adopting a distributed workplace model. According to a Gallup survey, about half of the U.S. full-time workforce can work from anywhere. As of February 2022, 42% of remote-capable employees worked in a hybrid setup, while 39% worked exclusively from home. Many of the respondents said they would gladly leave their jobs if their employer discontinued hybrid or remote work.
The main takeaway from this and countless other workplace surveys is that hybrid work is the way to go if you want to attract and retain talent. It’s the only compromise between catering to employees who want to (or must) work on-site and those who prefer working remotely.
Access to the global talent pool
A distributed HR model opens your organization to the massive global talent pool. This is a mouth-watering prospect for employers, given the worsening labor crisis in the country. You can quickly source and collaborate seamlessly with in-demand professionals, such as IT experts, software developers, and data scientists, across international borders.
Conventional hiring is becoming increasingly difficult, expensive, and undependable. Many employers would rather outsource labor than gamble with the local talent market. We know this because we help U.S.-based companies source software/web developers, designers, and engineers across the southern border. That’s right, Latin America has become a hotspot for IT talent, which you can leverage through a distributed HR model.
A distributed enterprise is more productive than a traditional business setup in many different ways. First of all, distributed teams are evidently more productive than 9-to-5 employees. This is because hybrid workplaces are able to attract and nurture top talent. Plus, the freedom and work-life balance help raise employee morale and satisfaction. Second, decision-makers can easily maneuver the business, quickly positioning it for optimal performance.
Lowers business operating costs
A distributed attitude to business operations reduces costs immensely. The business can cut back on redundant expenses such as employee upkeep, commuting, and on-prem IT maintenance. You can also minimize your investment footprint in office premises, workplace supplies, and physical IT. For instance, a distributed enterprise may not need an office space or on-site workstation computers, servers, and network systems.
Nowadays, business competition is a battle of efficiency. It all boils down to who can get to market first while using the least effort and resources. Operational efficiency underpins the effectiveness, speed, and cost of every business process, which in one way or the other determine market dominance. A distributed enterprise shines when it comes to business efficiency. It burns less fuel and time to push a new offering to market than a centralized business.
What is remote business automation?
Most people naturally associate the word “automation” with things like smart mechanical robots, high-tech industrial assembly plants, and self-driving vehicles. But these are only niche examples of automation. Let’s look at the larger concept of business process automation (BPA) and how it fits with the distributed enterprise model.
Business process automation (BPA) simply means using digital resources (software and computing devices) to mechanize day-to-day business transactions and activities. BPA takes over mundane, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks, freeing employees to make better use of their skills and time. Nowadays, nearly every business operation can be automated, including sales and marketing, financial planning, bookkeeping, and HR management. You only need the right tools.
The complexity of business automation depends on the integration scope, the technologies involved, and the nature of the enterprise. BPA can be split into four main complexity levels:
1. Basic automation
This is the simplest form of automation. It involves automating recurring everyday tasks such as sending out emails, scheduling workflow, and collecting volatile data. Basic automation occurs at the employee/user level.
2. Process automation
Generally, process automation means digitalizing strings of multi-staged activities with several inputs. It maintains consistency and accuracy within business workflows. A good example of an automated process is a sales bot that handles POS transactions while sending the relevant data to accounting and inventory managers.
3. Integrated automation
An integrated automation system consists of various interlinked software tools sharing data in real time. This level of business automation gathers data from distributed sources, synchronizing digital processes across the entire organization.
4. Intelligent automation
This is the highest level of business automation. It leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to mimic human reasoning in highly complex business processes. Intelligent automation is commonly used to draw meaningful and actionable insights from vast volumes of raw data. It’s also invaluable in finding hidden patterns in employee/customer behavior, market trends, and business performance.
The benefits of automation
Automation is more of a necessity than an option in the increasingly tech-reliant business world. A McKinsey Global Survey found that 66% of organizations are piloting automation in at least one business function or unit. Additionally, most of the surveyed executives said that automation was key to business success. Here are the main reasons why BPA is so attractive and important:
- Improves operational efficiency
- Cuts labor costs and saves time
- Minimizes human-related errors
- Improves visibility and transparency in business operations
- Boosts productivity
- Helps standardize business processes and outputs
- Creates the capacity for scaling
Pairing automation and distributed enterprise
By looking at the benefits of BPA, it becomes clear how automation fits into a distributed enterprise. With the right automation tools, businesses can easily adopt and support a distributed enterprise model. For instance, workflow automation software can link teams and individuals in a decentralized workforce by facilitating seamless remote collaborations and secure information sharing.
Automation essentially forms the data and process pipelines that interlink the various distributed assets of a decentralized enterprise. Additionally, automation builds on the key principle of distributed enterprise — agility — by maximizing work efficiency through optimized operational economy, speed, accuracy, and footprint.
Remote automation and distributed enterprise are a match made in heaven. In fact, many aspects of the distributed model rely heavily on automated processes. For example, an automated e-commerce platform is indispensable when retailing goods or services globally.
Building remote automation and distributed enterprises with WeDevelop
A decentralized workforce and software tools are two key pillars of a distributed enterprise. WeDevelop can help you with both.
WeDevelop is your best partner in building automated software systems and agile teams. We let you leverage our pool of 200+ professional software/web developers to create specialized software tools for business process automation. All our developers are handpicked from Latin America’s best software programmers, designers, and engineers. That alone is a guarantee of job-ready top talent at affordable prices.
Our talent outsourcing services are structured in two ways: you can either augment your existing staff with new talent or build independent dedicated teams. You can also outsource development projects directly to our team if you’re not looking to expand your workforce.
But enough about us. We’d love to hear from you. Please write to us or schedule a free, zero-obligation consultation call to discuss the labor and software obstacles on your distributed enterprise journey.