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5 Challenges of Workflow Automation

Damon Williamson
Damon Williamson
Copywriter
October 31, 2023
6 min read
5 Challenges of Workflow Automation
We all know the benefits of workflow automation. But all complex processes always face some challenges. In today's article, we'll learn about the five challenges of workflow automation and how to easily handle them.

Workflow automation should be on the priority list for enterprises that want to eliminate chaos in the workplace.

A proper workflow management system offers multiple benefits, including:

  • Increased productivity
  • Elimination of redundant tasks
  • Higher transparency and trust within the organization
  • Better customer service
  • Improved product quality
  • Overall healthier work culture

However, reaching a point where a business can make the most out of workflow automation is not as easy as one might think.

There are a fair few challenges and risks that enterprises should expect while working on automating the workflow, especially if it is a large organization with multiple departments.

Let’s take a look at what these challenges are and how to overcome them.

1. Privacy and Security

Automated processes minimize or completely eliminate human interference. When it comes to data processing, security, and storage, automation does not eliminate errors completely.

Manual workflows often involve physical data storage. For instance, record keeping in the form of paper documents.

Meanwhile, workflow automation involves software that offers a digital solution to data management.

The risks come from cybersecurity threats, leading to unauthorized access, data exposure, as well as destruction.

Solution:

Encryption and other means to block unauthorized access to data is the first thing on the agenda. Next, it is crucial to take care of data backup. Cloud storage is the go-to option these days.

It is one thing to rely on Mac data recovery software for personal usage, for example, and another to store and manage vast amounts of data. A proper backup solution is imperative.

Organizations should also educate employees about risks associated with data management and how to spot and overcome potential threats.

2. Compatibility With Tech

Tech compatibility is another example of a challenge that presents itself when automating workflow.

It helps when a business equips everyone with the same operating system and finds workflow automation compatible with the said OS.

The problem is when different workers have different devices and operating systems across multiple departments.

Trying to run a tool in an incompatible environment leads to frustration. Some less tech-savvy people might not even realize what the root of the issue is, wasting time further trying to figure out the way to overcome it.

Solution:

Negative experiences with tech are more or less inevitable in the long run, but dealing with incompatibility is not that difficult. In fact, enterprises can avoid them by acting smart.

Before committing to a specific workflow solution, double-check what your device situation is across the organization. Be sure to be mindful not just of in-house workers but also of those who work from home.

Once those in charge determine what the best workflow management system is compatibility-wise, the company can then commit to spending money.

3. Concerns From Upper Management

Automating an entire business process might come with some higher-ups showing doubts. It is no secret that many businesses are profit-driven these days. They want to make as much as possible as soon as possible. Someone might not see ROI value and resist workflow automation implementation, particularly if the solution is costly without immediate results to show for the money spent.

Solution:

Convincing the higher-ups is not that difficult these days. It is thanks to the fact that businesses do not have to overspend on solutions that cover every single process.

Instead, those trying to convince can focus on individual solutions that are cheaper and easier to implement.

Swaying management with the help of factual data is another excellent piece of advice. Showing them which departments are lacking in efficiency and demonstrating how a workflow solution solves the problem ought to change their mind.

If necessary, involve someone from an IT department as an intermediary who can go into the nitty gritty technical details.

At the end of the day, it is about presenting your case with solid arguments so that even those in doubt can realize the value of workflow automation.

4. Scalability and Flexibility

Scalability and flexibility might not seem like an obvious challenge, but it exists nonetheless. It would be silly to expect a be-all and end-all solution that will last forever.

The work environment constantly changes, so it is crucial to identify when a new change affects your workflow automation.

Failing to adapt leads to rigidity and too much dependence on current systems.

Solution:

Since scalability and flexibility are not immediate challenges, preparing for them in advance is arguably the most prudent strategy.

Businesses ought to look for workflow automation solutions that come with scalability and flexibility features.

Or, at the very least, when it becomes clear that one aspect of the workflow is lagging behind and the current solution is not working, identify and implement a proper replacement that will upgrade the current setup.

5. Right Software Choices

Following up on the last point about scalability and how critical it is to choose the right solution, the same applies beyond flexibility and scalability.

Many software developers advertise their products as the best, but it is usually a marketing trick to generate more sales.

Workflow automation already presents multiple challenges. Bugs, failures, malfunctions, and various software errors are the last thing businesses want to experience.

Solution:

One of the best ways to go about avoiding this challenge is thorough research. With due diligence, the risks of ending up with poor software are minimal.

Collect as much feedback from other users and ignore buzzwords and other marketing techniques that developers use to promote their software. Focus on what actually matters so there are fewer problems down the line with workflow automation.

As an extra precaution, have employees responsible for support and maintenance so they can react to potential technical woes and fix them. Or, if the issue is too difficult from the user end, know who to reach out to for help.

Wrapping Up

All in all, workflow automation obstacles are not too complicated. Overcoming the challenges enables businesses to benefit from all the positive things that workflow automation solutions offer.

Hopefully, the solutions mentioned in the article will help you prepare to overcome the obstacles that get in the way of establishing and maintaining workflow automation.

FAQs
See the most answers to the most frequently asked questions. You can find even more information in the knowledge base.
Knowledge base
  1. Resistance to change. Employees may be hesitant to adopt new ways of working, especially if they feel that automation will threaten their jobs.
  2. Integration complexities. Integrating automation tools with existing systems can be a complex and time-consuming process.
  3. Security concerns. Businesses need to ensure that their automated workflows are secure and that data is protected from unauthorized access.
  4. Scalability issues. As businesses grow, their automation needs will also grow. It is important to choose an automation platform that can scale with the business.
  5. Lack of analytics and insights. Without visibility into how automated workflows are performing, it is difficult to identify areas for improvement.

The best way to overcome resistance to change is to involve employees in the automation process from the beginning. Explain the benefits of automation and how it will make their jobs easier. Provide training on the new automation tools and processes. And be patient - it may take some time for employees to adjust to the new way of working.

When choosing an automation platform, make sure to select one that offers robust security features. This includes features such as role-based access control, data encryption, and audit logging. It is also important to implement security best practices within your automated workflows, such as using strong passwords and two-factor authentication.

When choosing an automation platform, consider the following factors:

  • Ease of use: The platform should be easy to use for both business users and IT professionals.
  • Flexibility: The platform should be flexible enough to automate a wide range of workflows.
  • Scalability: The platform should be able to scale with your business as it grows.

It is also important to choose a platform that offers a variety of support options, such as training, documentation, and customer support.

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