Even though we enjoy fully automated shopping, reservations and other consumer services in our personal lives, when we step into our office, we’re often waiting around for colleagues to approve or fulfill a request or answer a question.

Internal business tasks such as onboarding an employee, or ordering marketing services are far from the efficient, self-service experiences of online shopping and banking. However, with help of cloud computing, we’ve entered an era of automation that can transform manual work tasks to speedy and efficient self-service processes.

The results of a new survey from KPMG and ServiceNow at a conference of over 6,000 IT professionals shed light on three ways to better automate work processes:

1) Move over Email

Nearly 75 percent of the survey respondents said at least half of their company’s business processes still rely on email. Although emails are delivered quickly, they stall once they hit each person’s email box – what we call asynchronous communication.  Email requires significant human intervention, and doesn’t provide any visibility as to status, ownership, bottlenecks or priority. By primarily relying on email to run internal services, most companies are stuck with inefficient processes.

2) Look to Automate

The survey shows that 90 percent of respondents agree that many business processes conducted over email could be better run by automation. Service automation maps business requests in a bigger workflow, and can connect them online to create a consumerised service experience—similar what you use in your personal life.  For example, companies can create a ‘self-service’ portal to onboard employees —requesting computing equipment, security credentials, benefit information, orientation and more. A service model created by the IT team helps business teams directly manage processes like this and measure the services delivered.

3) Start in the Right Departments

More than half (56 percent) of survey respondents said that HR was the best department outside of IT to start with in the implementation of service automation. About 23 percent chose facilities for services management, followed by 13 percent for purchasing departments.

Nearly all (98 percent) of the survey respondents said IT teams can leverage a service model to help improve the quality and efficiency of internal services.  Now is the time for email to take a backseat and for IT to deliver what their business users want and their business efficiency demands – more automated services.