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The past year was marked with a lot of uncertainty for businesses. A new study from Zapier, which allows users to automate tasks for web applications, found that 63% of small businesses said automation helped them survive COVID-19.

Above: The findings from the 2021 Zapier State of Business Automation Report.

Image Credit: Zapier

With a specific focus on the small and medium-sized business community — more than 3,000 partners apps on its platform for small businesses — key findings include:
Despite the common narrative of automation taking over jobs, it isn’t a competitor against humans. The future of automation is about how technology can support humans, especially in the small and medium-sized businesses. Software automation continues to grow and it enables workers to be more efficient, which gives humans time back to do things only people can do.

Automation is essential software for small and medium-sized businesses.

Sixty-three percent of SMBs say automation allowed their company to quickly pivot as a result of the pandemic — whether it was bringing their goods and services online or changing their business model completely. That benefit isn’t likely to shrink, either: even as things get back to “normal,” we’ll live much more of our lives online. Small businesses are already using technology to prepare for that reality: 66% say automation is now essential for running their business.

Why is automation essential? SMBs rely on software to perform specific functions, like capturing leads from Facebook Lead Ads. Rather than spend time manually sending data from one place to another, SMBs use automation to connect different software and create scalable systems and processes.

While automation helps SMBs eliminate repetitive, everyday tasks, there are bigger benefits as well: 88% of SMBs say automation allows them to compete with larger companies by allowing them to move faster, close leads quickly, spend less time on busywork, reduce errors, and offer better customer service.

By identifying repetitive tasks that take the most time, SMBs can develop a strategy to automate manual and repetitive processes and free up time for more creative or strategic tasks. In fact, nearly 70% of SMB employees say using automation software has helped them be more productive at work.

The future of automation is already here. Many SMBs are using automation to increase worker productivity and happiness, create efficient and scalable systems, and compete with larger businesses.

Zapier surveyed 2,000 U.S. knowledge workers from small and medium businesses [fewer than 250 total employees] on whether or not workflow automation tools are being used at their company. This survey was completed online in March 2021 and responses were random, voluntary, and completely anonymous.

Read more in Zapier’s full report 2021 Zapier State of Business Automation Report


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