One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is wasting time manually completing repetitive tasks. Every department of every company has tedious to-dos. But instead of burdening your employees and risking human error, you should focus on automating your workflows.
What is Workflow Automation?
There are numerous benefits to workflow automation. Using rule-based logic to create a process that runs automatically will significantly free up your workforce and resources. This will allow your employees to work on more interesting projects, save time and energy, avoid mistakes, and increase overall productivity.
But to do so, you will need to design, streamline, and execute a series of tasks based on the rules that will replace the manual work of filling data, sending emails and notifications, or scheduling tasks without you moving a finger.
You can also route data and files between people or systems using workflow automation software. The biggest improvements can be made in efficiency, accuracy, reporting, accountability, and job satisfaction in general.
After all, why should anyone bother with such tedious tasks when there are so many cost-effective solutions available?
Types of Workflow Automation
Workflow automation can be divided into two basic types: Business Process Management (BPM) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Both have their own distinct aspects and use cases, which we will discuss in this section.
Business Process Workflows
Business Process Management (BPM) is a methodology that optimizes processes and business structures. Software with a focus on the BPM philosophy will replace manual tasks with an automated workflow to help you reach your most important business goals, reducing costs and increasing efficiency in the process.
It is similar to project management, but the difference is that project management focuses on a one-time scope of work. On the other hand, business process workflows focus on repeatable processes. BPM software can be divided into three types: integration, human, or document-centric.
Robotic Process Automation
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is designed for bots to fulfill tasks similar to employees and support your processes. They can help you identify and solve processing errors, mitigate help desk inquiries, and streamline other jobs like filling in forms, extracting data, and moving files.
RPA tools execute various activities autonomously across different software systems. Following a set of rules, an RPA workflow automation tool will perform business process activities at a high volume and generate a higher return on investment (ROI). These forms of workflow automation automate tasks wearily performed by humans.
Benefits of Workflow Automation
As mentioned previously, the main benefits of workflow automation are efficiency and time savings. Automating boring, repetitive tasks will save a ton of demotivating long-term efforts needed to finish time-consuming simple tasks like data entry. This’ll protect you from any potential chaos and help you reach your goals faster.
1. Create processes that reduce costs
According to a 2020 WorkMarket report, a third of market current leaders already use automation to reduce labor costs. It makes sense, as workflow automation will save you tens of hours per month. Reducing administration and repetitive tasks is one of the benefits of workflow automation that will bring the most value.
2. Speed up task management and completion
Employees lucky enough to work with workflow automation feel the difference. Imagine how much faster assigning and finishing tasks are for them. For example, since sending emails is automated, they can just track the progress in the workflow system and spend their time on other, more desirable jobs.
3. Reduce errors from manual entries or oversight
We are all humans, so we all make mistakes. Especially when working on long, repetitive tasks. We tend to lose our focus after a few minutes, which can become very exhausting. Avoiding errors also prevents delays in processing.
4. Reduce time in the process cycle
Automatic validation makes sure that incorrect data won’t make it into the workflow. This leads to a reduction in the time employees have to spend fixing it. Smaller teams can achieve more using workflow automation. They don’t have to spend any more time delivering paperwork or chasing approvals.
5. Streamline the approval process
Most people have experienced the frustration of chasing approvals across the whole company. It can slow down the work process by hours or even days. Workflow automation streamlines the approval process and prevents unnecessary delays. Automatic routing sends the document to the right person immediately. Automatic notifications will also alert the receiver.
6. Increase scalability of workflows
While the only way to scale manual processes is to hire more employees (or increase their workload, which they probably won’t appreciate), you can use workflow automation to scale easily. Not only will you avoid any possible increase in errors, but scaling will also be done without incurring jumps in costs.
7. Improve connectivity
Connectivity across the whole company and systems and smooth communication are crucial for efficiency and IT infrastructure. A workflow automation tool connects all these different aspects of your business and allows all your data to flow freely.
Examples of Workflow Automation
The benefits of workflow automation form a long list. Here are a few examples of how it can make your life easier in many parts of your business.
HR: Provide impressive onboarding experience
Every human resources department will welcome the benefits of workflow automation, such as drastically reduced paperwork, ensuring compliance on all processes, or improved onboarding/offboarding experience. Make a good impression on your employees and let them know they work for a reliable partner.
Workflow automation can also help source, verify and recruit candidates faster. Leave management and hiring requests are another excellent example of well-implemented workflow automation software. Speed up the important processes.
Finance: Integrate data with accounting software
Simplified document management is appealing to finance departments. Save time on approval processing and schedule automated payments for recurring invoices. Create a small payroll management system using workflow automation. Issue invoices or send them to different emails and places.
Writing legal documents like nondisclosure agreements (NDA) or sales contracts is one of the best benefits of workflow automation. Since it will only fill in the data into a prepared template, there’s no need to create a new document every time.
Marketing: Track your leads and increase CRO
Workflow automation software used in marketing will help you track leads or re-target your visitors to increase your conversion rate optimization (CRO). Use it to approve any content and collaborate with teammates. The list goes on, but one of the main uses is also auto-piloting and monitoring different campaigns.
Prepare a personalized marketing strategy and target your persona on multiple channels. Once automation turns your visitors into leads, you can categorize them based on their behavior and characteristics.
Sales: Treat all leads with the same quality approach
Every customer should be treated right and feel like on a red carpet. Workflow automation will assure they all get the same first impression that will amaze them. Send promotional emails and get insightful reports on ongoing processes. Avoid any slips of important leads and data. You can also simplify your list building by standardizing the process.
Customer support: Assign tickets to the right employees
Another huge benefit of workflow automation is creating and escalating tickets for the right team members. Duplicated support tickets are a common occurrence that cost your team their precious time. As we know, time is everything when you aim to provide the best support experience.
IT: Confirm scheduled updates
Manage assets, track usage trends and get a handle on mitigating „shadow“ IT. Workflow automation is common for many tasks in IT that will help you avoid any possible issues and downtimes. Use it for incident management, bug tracking, and support requests. An automated workflow will alert you immediately when anything occurs. You can also use it to manage and share your roadmap easily.
The Bottom Line
The benefits of workflow automation are endless. It can make your day-to-day activities easier and let you run your business effortlessly and cost-efficiently. Thanks to the impressive advantages for both companies and individuals, it is clear that workflow automation is the future.
All companies can benefit from workflow automation and streamline their operations and processes. Every business that wants to stay competitive should consider getting a reliable workflow automation tool quickly. You don’t need to be an expert to reap the benefits almost immediately and for a pleasant cost-to-value ratio almost immediately.