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6 Useful Applications of AI & Machine Learning in Your Business Processes

A 2017 study from Pew Research found that more than 70% of the U.S. is scared that robots are going to take over our lives. And, while we can’t perfectly predict the emergence of a Skynet singularity, we can say with some certainty that technology is set to take over the repetitive, dehumanizing elements of our jobs instead of putting us out of work.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a strategic priority for 84% of businesses, and in some cases has been used to improve sales team efficiency by over 50%. Even I’ve used AI in the past to generate hundreds of relevant hashtags for social media posts at the click of a button.

It was once the stuff of utopian science fiction and huge enterprises, but now practically anyone can take advantage.

For this post, I set up two powerful AI systems using free or cheap technology, and show you exactly how you can do the same without coding:

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8 Nintex Alternatives to Systemize Your Workflows Better This Year

nintex alternatives

Those of us in the workflow game know Nintex is one of the big tools available on the market.

Their advanced software is great for plotting out complex workflows, running intricate automations, and integrating tightly and natively with other large corporate tools.

But that’s what it is: corporate.

It’s heavy and less agile than many of its competitors, with a restrictive price tag which puts it squarely into the enterprise market.

The Nintex light-version, which comes in at a more reasonable price point, simply doesn’t compete with the other tools that target the small-to-medium business space. It has less features and less functionality than many of the newer and more innovative up-and-comers.

In this Process Street article, we’re going to tackle that niche. What are better examples of workflow software for a small to medium sized enterprise, without missing out on complex functionality?

Let’s take a look.

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The 9 Best Organizational Tools to Bring Order to Chaos

Organizational Tools

Documented processes don’t just save you time, money, and give a consistent method for your team to follow. They make everything you do more reliable and efficient, even increasing project success rate by 70%.

Unfortunately, getting started is the hardest part. Whether you don’t feel like you have time to set up your management system or just don’t know what to use for your needs, it’s difficult to get over the initial learning curve.

That’s why I’m going to outline the 9 organizational tools you can use to get started right now.

From their pros and cons and best use guidelines to general tips on what to do with your organizational tools, this post will cover:

  • Process Street
  • Office 365 (Microsoft Word and Excel)
  • Trello
  • Airtable
  • Google Suite (Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Drive)
  • Zapier
  • …and 4 process management techniques to get you started

It’s time to learn what organizational tools you need to manage your processes, and how to use them.

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The Psychology of Processes: How to Work with Imperfect Humans

Humans are responsible for 70% of airplane crashes, 90% of car wrecks, and 90% of workplace accidents.

But people are also a core part of business. The same factors that make humans irreplaceable — nuanced judgement, emotion, and creativity — also make humans a pain to manage.

You don’t get these problems with computers, but computers are also dumb. Mostly too dumb to carry out processes without human intervention.

Humans are the chaotic variables in your processes. Humans make spelling errors in your marketing emails, create security risks in your software, and forget pretty much anything that isn’t written down.

And it’s because of human error that businesses need processes.

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Production Systems: Why Tesla’s Gigafactory is Musk’s Most Ambitious Project Yet

production systems headerAfter Elon Musk’s successes sending Falcon Heavy into space with his Roadster attached, the fanfare around his achievements has reached new highs.

But not everything is rosy for Musk.

Tesla is struggling. It’s not hitting its production targets for the Model 3, and this is not for the first time.

The goal for Tesla has been to hit 5,000 units per week and though Musk is confident of reaching that figure the Model 3 production has been mired by continually failing to meet demand.

It’s not enough just to have a good product, you also need to have high performing production systems in place to take that product effectively to market.

In this Process Street article, we’ll tackle the machine which builds the machine and we’re going to look at:

  • What a production system is and what a good one looks like
  • The production system of the future and how Elon Musk wants to build it
  • Why a production system isn’t just for manufacturing
  • How you can build production systems for your business
  • Why Tesla’s Gigafactory is Musk’s most ambitious project yet

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How to Use Conditional Logic: 8 Ways to Simplify Complex Processes

conditional logic

Documenting processes is great in theory, but creating and following them can be a pain.

Your processes need to be standardized so that everyone’s performing the same tasks consistently. However, that often leaves you with either a large, complex and unusable process which covers every situation or lots of smaller, specialized processes which become difficult to manage or track.

Conditional logic saves you all of that trouble by letting you create processes which change to suit the situation at hand.

By setting rules for your processes to follow and update based on their outcome, you can simplify your processes and make even the most complicated task list easy to navigate. All optional tasks can be automatically hidden from view until (and if) they are required to keep your dashboard clear and encourage teams to avoid taking shortcuts.

Nobody wants to work through a horribly complex process that you know you won’t need half of to complete your task.

However, as with business process automation, conditional logic’s power is best shown through examples, so today I’ll be showing you both how to use it and giving eight example processes which take advantage of it, including client onboarding and user support.

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Robotic Process Automation and the Death of Data Entry

In 2014 an employee at Xchanging named Amanda Barnes created a software robot she called “Poppy”.

Poppy’s job was to help automate the tedious task of validating insurance premiums — something which could be easily done by a computer if it was fed structured data.

Before Xchanging built Poppy the robot, they were processing 500 premiums every few days. With Poppy, the same 500 items take just 30 minutes to process.

Rather than kicking Poppy out of the office in case she starts taking jobs, the Xchanging team welcomed her warmly because she saved them from laborious, mechanical work.

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How to Conduct an Interview: A Full Hiring Process With 11 Premade Interview Processes

how to conduct an interview headerWhen it comes to hiring staff you’ll go through multiple important stages to vet the candidates and make sure you choose the right one.

For many managers, the interview is the most important step.

The interview allows you to ask questions and interact with the other person; verify their claims, test their knowledge, and start to figure out whether you would be happy working with them in future. This allows you to go beyond simply the information on a CV.

As Ray Dalio, founder and CEO of Bridgewater Associates, phrased it:

Weigh values and abilities more heavily than skills in deciding whom to hire.

Knowing about the human sat in front of you is crucial to a successful hire.

In this article, we’re going to give you a selection of Process Street templates which should help the whole process run smoothly:

  • Key tips on how to conduct an interview
  • 5 interview processes with questions
  • How to connect a job application form to Zapier to automate your hiring
  • 5 hiring processes to cover everything else

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How DenaliTEK Uses Process Street to Boost Consistency and Client Happiness

DenaliTEK case study

DenaliTEK is an Anchorage-based IT services company which uses Process Street to perform and track everything from payroll to client maintenance. This lets them provide quality services to their clients more consistently and in less time.

We spoke to their Controller Lisa Clark about how they use Process Street in their business.

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6 Server Setup Checklists for Sysadmins (Apache, Ubuntu, Proxy, FTP, and More)

Benjamin Brandall
February 7, 2018

How do you set up your servers? You probably just know how to, like it’s an instinct. But is it the absolute best way to do it? Are you leaving holes in your security, or forgetting to add users that desperately need access?

Or, look at it another way:

If you’re the only one who knows your server setup methods, how are you going to train your team? Processes are a solid basis for your business’ expansion as the question of how to do a task is answered automatically, in the clearest and most efficient way every time.

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