How to Choose the Right Automation Tool

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 22/10/2018
right automation tool

We are calling out to all decision-makers across different industries. You can no longer avoid process automation. What matters now is picking the right business automation tool. It will either make or break your business. Timesheet Portal will help you with ensuring your decision is an educated one.  

Every company, regardless of its size or sector, has automated an aspect of its business. In fact, these days adopting automated tools is essential for success. With modern technology taking leaps in development daily, the number of processes that need human involvement is decreasing.

This, of course, means myriads of automation solutions on the market. And each is targeting a different set of processes. The functionality of some overlaps, some are specific and unique, and some can be linked together to expand their capacity. However, such variety makes it difficult to choose the ones that your business will benefit from the most. This is why we put together a list of key criteria for an automation tool that we are happy to share.

7 Criteria to Select the Right Automation Tool

It’s not an easy decision to make when you have to spend money on a commitment. If you ensure the software of choice ticks these 7 boxes, you are unlikely to make a mistake:


  1. It’s customisable

  2. It minimises the need for human involvement

  3. It is designed to scale with you

  4. It has a reporting module

  5. It is capable of speeding up your existing processes

  6. It can be applied across different parts of your business

  7. It integrates with other tools you have.


This may seem a lot, but it truly isn’t. And all these things are easy to check by either signing up for the tool’s free trial or by receiving a demo from the vendor. But let us explain why we’ve picked these items out specifically. 

Accuracy and Customisation

Adopting automation leads to the minimisation of human error. And, therefore, the expectations naturally include full accuracy when it comes to data-related tasks. However, if the business has unique and complex processes, it may be challenging to achieve. That’s why you should never go for off-the-shelf software and instead aim for customisable solutions.

Streamlined Processes

Good software won’t have you changing the processes entirely (unless by proving their irrelevance to your business). It will, however, shorten and streamline them. In other words, you want the digital solution to take over your existing processes to enhance them, without having to optimise them first.

The very purpose of adopting automation is to reduce the number of steps you, the user, have to take by handing them over to business intelligence. If the tool requires you to jump through multiple hoops in order to simply make it run, you should seriously question its effectiveness in a long run. Chances are, this is not the right business automation tool and it won’t create the seamless experience you seek.

Customised Reports

Since every business has different goals, the metrics tracked will differ as well. While there are key indicators every organisation wants visibility of (e.g. income generated throughout a certain time period), there will always be a set of metrics that matter for that business only. For example, a construction business may want to know how much money was spent on a particular material. It would want to break the cost down to the material itself, shipping costs and VAT.

This is why it’s important for the automation tool to have customisable reports. This enables you to have visibility of not just generic metrics, but also those tracking the unique figures that matter to your organisation specifically.

Longevity and Scalability

With a market as vast as that of business automation tools, finding the right solution is usually time-consuming. No one likes wasting time when it comes to business. Therefore once you go all nine yards before obtaining software - you don’t want to do it again in the near future. The key to ensuring that is getting a solution that’s capable of scaling with you.

A Solution to Multiple Problems

Don’t think you need to get a new tool for every challenge your business faces. It would lead to huge financial losses, especially if the problem only needs to be addressed once to be solved. Most business automation tools are designed to be long-term solutions and therefore operate on a subscription model. That’s why you want to invest in a solution that can be used to address several challenges at once.

Given how competitive and saturated the market is, it’s rare to see tools that only address one area of the business at a time. To keep themselves competitive, automation solutions offer different modules and features. They are each applicable across different departments, working different processes. Your job is to think through specific problems you aim to solve, and then research additionally offered features to see if they can be utilised elsewhere in your organisation.


There is a limit to everything, including functionality. While good software can serve you well for years, your business may hit the stage at which it outgrows the solution’s capacity. But just like with every problem, there’s a fairly easy solution to this. Aim for software that is highly integrable.

Integrations expand the platform’s native functionality by linking it together with other solutions. Additionally, when connected, different solutions communicate with one another and exchange data, therefore deepening the insights collected. It also unlocks new automation prospects that neither of the tools would offer if used individually.

Digital Toolbox

By this point, you have probably recognised the telling signs of good business automation tools and are ready to find THE one. However, to drive a real, noticeable change in your organisation, instead of purchasing digital solutions haphazardly when you need them, you should consider building a digital toolbox from the get-go.

How to Start Building One

When you focus on building a toolbox instead of adopting stand-alone solutions, you get the chance to create a perfect, sustainable system. And it will become the core of your business. By setting out goals you want to achieve, challenges you’re struggling with and software you already possess, you can start mapping out what tools will be needed.

For example, if you want to automate the invoicing process, you will need a timesheet solution and an accounting system that integrates with one another. You may also realise you need to find a better way to distribute the said invoices as you have a huge database. In this case, you will want both solutions to also integrate with a CRM. What you include in your digital toolbox or how many solutions you’ll need depends solely on your needs and goals.


Business process automation is now an essential part of every organisation. However, the market is heavily saturated with all types of business automation tools. It is challenging to find the one that will truly change the way your company operates. While what you’re looking for depends on the problems you’re trying to solve, ultimately you want to invest in a product that will last you a long time. It will ideally support you across different aspects of the business and grow together with you.

It is advised to adopt several business automation tools at once. Ensure they’re integrated with one another, as this will maximise their impact and provide better coverage of the processes you run. Additionally, solutions linked together offer expanded automation and analysis options.

Ready to start building your business automation toolbox? Start with timesheet software.

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