Kick Data Entry to the Curb

I was browsing through LinkedIn and I came across an article by Shajil Kumar News Editor at LinkedIn. He was referencing a recent survey of 10,000 workers by Automation Anywhere, a company that specialises in automation of processes. What the finding suggested was that data entry was the most hated task globally. In fact, much customer contact information in CRM software platforms is not always kept up to date and the main culprit is Data Entry.

That’s followed by managing email traffic, filing spreadsheets and putting PDFs into folders and handling invoices. The research also stated that workers spend 40% of their time facilitating digital administration which lowers productivity. Many workers grumble as it means all this extra work has meant that people have to work long hours to get this non-core, but necessary work done.    It’s like having a hidden factory underneath the business that produces something that no one is paying for, and employees soon get browned off. At what stage can they do the work that they are paid to do?

Small businesses spend way too much time on non-client facing or non-revenue generating activities and they can get bogged down being ‘busy’ but not productive.

Of course if you work for a large company and you have scale then automation might be a godsend, however if you are smaller and cannot justify the relatively expensive set up costs or don’t have the volume to justify the capital costs you need to find an alternative solution.

The other challenge for organisations is that they risk losing top talent if they bog their employees down with mind numbing tasks that in reality could be carried out by less expensive external employees or remote virtual assistants.

“Our customers  talk to us  about reaching a tipping point, and  what we are seeing now is that remote  working is considered by many to be the new norm for any business that is serious about productivity, agility and winning the war to hold on to top talent,” said Anand Tated  , CEO of Pacific Accounting and Business Services.

Outsourcing helps clients to uncover the areas they spend time in, that don’t directly relate to either earning new revenue or delivering good customer service. It makes sense to try to lower operating costs down by outsourcing to less expensive well-connected offshore people assets.

Tated goes on to say. “When a small business wants to scale, it must first define what parts are the core of their business – what is their brand, who are their key people? Are they getting the best utilisation and value from those expensive on shore people? As an example, does a small business really need an inhouse bookkeeper or accountant? Would they be better off to outsource the non-core bookkeeping / Accounts Payable/ Accountants Receivable/ Payroll / Data Entry to an experienced service provider or use their own internal resources. Clearly outsourcing allows a small business to use more expensive local staff to do more higher level core activities”.

Digitalisation and new technologies are transforming the world of work. People want the personal productivity benefits of doing meaningful interesting work  and not stressing over data entry  and consequently many smaller enterprises these days are turning to outsourcing  and are looking for an organisation that will perform basic  functions or manage a business process better, faster and less expensively than they can.

So, your first step is to determine how well you can do it yourself and at what cost.  Do you understand the total cost of ownership of the process when it is conducted inhouse?  Ask yourself, do you really understand the financial and strategic benefits of keeping some non-core tasks in house?

This, however, is easier said than done. It’s a significant challenge to combine the costs of the process (i.e. the costs of hiring people to perform the business process and the infrastructure needed to support them) with evaluating the additional true process benefits of having a third part provider do the work.



Martin Conboy has been well recognised as one of the leading voices in the global outsourcing industry in facilitating outsourcing success throughout the Asia Pacific.

In November 2014 Martin was voted into the top five most influential and respected people in the global call centre outsourcing industry.

Martin was a founding member of the Standards Australia subcommittee which had a remit to create standards and best practices for the global ICT/BPO industry.

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