Workflow Automation and the Access Economy

Automated workflow software makes it possible to create and realise business models that would have not necessarily been profitable in the past. By cutting overheads such as physical business locations and administrative infrastructure, barriers to entry in the market are significantly lower. The decreasing cost of server space has also contributed to the viability of cloud-based business platforms. Small companies can provide services over larger geographical areas, and serve more customers than otherwise would have been possible before.

By implementing efficient automated workflows, your business can provide a consistent product to your customers, without a large customer fulfilment department. For example: Taxis can be booked from an app, and offered to drivers automatically, without the need for a switchboard and operators.

These companies could be considered a “platform” rather than a traditional hierarchical business. Instead of being directly employed by the organisation, providers are effectively self-employed, decide the hours and locations they wish to cover, giving great flexibility. Providers can work the hours they want, improving work/life balance which many people consider an important part of work today. Providers in education, with children, or other commitments can build their work hours around these other responsibilities. Companies can have far lower overheads, for example, dealing with HR or temporary staffing agencies.

However, these new business models have raised some quite serious ethical issues. Providers in the access economy often have none of the traditional benefits associated with full-time employment such as sick-leave and pay, childcare, pension options, or recourse if they feel they are being treated unfairly. Customers, on the other hand, may feel they do not have as much of a say regarding poor service or employee misconduct.

The ride-sharing platform Uber is currently appealing a blanket ban of their services by the City of London, arising from concerns about these issues and how they have responded. So, it is critical for businesses to carefully consider their moral responsibilities to.

If you’re interested providing an efficient, on-demand service to customers using workflow automation, get in touch with us today.

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