Technology

What Is a Digital Workflow? Automate Your Work Processes

Digital workflows automate key procedures in a company to boost productivity. Learn how to work smarter and faster by automating digital workflows.

Introduction

Future business operations, employee empowerment, and customer service will all be radically changed by advances in automation technology. A significant factor in this is the use of digital processes.

Digital workflows are used in organizations to streamline the flow of work and share information across platforms.

With the advent of the autonomous enterprise, businesses are reimagining the future of work in an effort to boost productivity, adaptability, and financial returns.

What is a digital workflow? The goal of a workflow is to define the steps required to move an action from "undone" to "done" or from "raw" to "processed."

You may wonder why a digital workflow would benefit a company. What kinds of workflows are there, if any? Let's have a look.

What is a digital workflow?

A digital workflow process is a method of automating a series of tasks performed by employees.

It speeds up processes, removes room for human error, and simplifies administrative tasks related to governance.

Digital workflows allow quicker responses and better, more well-informed judgments from upper management and employees.

Digital workflows will become an essential component for the future of work, and the data doesn’t lie:

There is no one right way to design a digital workflow. Both simple and complex technological solutions may be necessary, depending on how much work you have to get done.

This is why the management of the workflow is a crucial component.

Implementing a system for prescribing, planning, and recording your steps helps keep the process flowing smoothly by providing you with regular reminders and a centralized location to save data.

Types of digital workflows (+ examples)

The following are three examples of workflows that can be implemented in your company:

  • Process workflow.
  • Case workflow.
  • Project workflow.

Tasks are performed all across the office. Workflows exist whenever information is transferred from one process to another, whether the transfer is highly organized or not.

So, let's take a close look at each process.

Process workflow

When a series of actions are routine and consistent, we say it follows a process workflow. The correct action for a given item may thus be determined before it ever enters the pipeline.

When it comes to business processes, workflows may process an infinite amount of objects.

A good example of this workflow is the process of approving a purchase order. You may process an unlimited number of things in a single workflow, and once it begins, it hardly changes.

Case workflow

In a case workflow, the steps needed to finish an item are unknown at the outset. As more information is collected, the path becomes clear. As examples, we may look at support tickets and insurance claims. It's not immediately obvious how these things will be handled; the procedure will become evident only after some digging.

Case workflows, like process workflows, may process an unlimited number of items, but unlike process workflows, they require the intervention of a person or an intelligent bot to determine the most effective course of action.

Project workflow

Similar to procedures, projects follow a defined course. However, there may be greater flexibility along the way.

Consider making an updated version of your website. The order in which the tasks must be completed to finish the project may be accurately predicted.

The project process, however, is only useful for one thing. Another website release might only happen for a while and probably will go in a different direction.

Most internet resources only discuss workflows in the context of processes, but the other two should also be taken into account because they encompass the majority of office work.

Digital workflow examples

Now that we've discussed possible digital workflows for your company let's look at some of them.

Human Resources: Automated workflow software may carry out tasks, including onboarding, termination, and performance evaluations.

Banking: Workflows can automate customer onboarding, investment decision approval processes, and mortgage or loan request cycles.

Manufacturing: Quality assurance workflows can handle nonconformities, complaints, requests, and preventative maintenance.

Travel: Workflows for travel businesses can manage client trips, hotel reservations, airplane reservations, and so on.

Insurance processing: Manual input, data extraction, rekeying, and routing are just a few of the time-consuming operations that workflows may speed up and make simpler.

Sales processing: Digital processes allow sales teams to focus less on administration and more on growth while not neglecting back-end operations.

Why create digital workflows?

By automating critical business operations, companies may save time and money formerly spent on daily tasks, as well as eliminate human error and save on administrative costs.

Digital workflows may be helpful for businesses and workers alike, even though automation has the potential to raise concerns about the future of some professions. But they may help make the process smoother and quicker, which benefits everyone involved.

In many cases, eliminating paper and other forms of manual labor is an integral part of digitizing a workflow.

Paper documents are prone to loss or theft, and manual procedures can drain resources. Moving to a digital system has several benefits, including increased productivity, less human error, and safer data storage. In addition to reducing the need for paper and the likelihood of human mistakes, this method also saves money.

A digital workflow can not only be tracked and monitored more easily, but it may also provide useful data. Data collected and made available digitally may be analyzed for inefficiencies in the process and other purposes. Each participant in a digital process is responsible for completing the project since their work is instantly accessible.

How to build & integrate digital workflows

Consider the following nine tips if you're ready to begin developing digital workflows that can streamline and improve your operations.

1. Find areas for the digitization of your files

Observation is the first step for selecting which tasks should be automated. The goal is to minimize the impact on operations while ensuring your personnel's safety and the products they produce.

It's necessary to assess what can and should be digitized to achieve this goal.

Tasks that require manual labor yet are repetitive enough to be good candidates for automation. Manual processes like categorizing, labeling, and filing digital documents can be automated. Substantively influenced processes (such as quality control or editorial approval) are less amenable to automation.

Do a workflow audit to determine which of your current manual tasks would benefit most from being automated. This will shed light on the time and money that might be saved with a digital workflow and help you understand the time and resources wasted on manual operations. 

2. For each new digital workflow, create a workflow map

Make a workflow map to facilitate a problem-free transition to automation. This is a comprehensive summary of every step of the process that you want to digitize, from beginning to end.

This diagram is important since it illustrates your whole process, what can and will be automated, and the expected outcomes of this change.

Each automation should have its own process map, which can be used as a reference for troubleshooting and as a starting point for new automation initiatives. 

3. Include everyone on the team in the new digital workflow

Only if everyone on the team can benefit from the new process will it be profitable to use it.

The key is being transparent with everyone on your team. Workflow maps allow your current employees to better educate new hires on automated processes and areas of the business where their responsibilities may be shifting. Use a cloud-based storage solution to make sure your whole team has access to important files at all times, regardless of their location.

Do your best to save and distribute workflow maps in widely-accessible formats like PDFs. To avoid any accidental changes to the plan, it is best to turn the file into a PDF and either disable changes or make the document uneditable. In addition to their portability, PDFs are more space-efficient than formats like PowerPoint. If your business uses a shared server, this can free up some space.

4. Discover the best type of automation software to work with your needs

There are many types of automation software available, including:

Customer relationship management

Data about customers is assessed and managed using customer relationship management software (CRM). CRM software may serve as a central repository for all existing and potential customers' data and a location to analyze that data to help you spot business opportunities. 

Human resource management software

Human resource management software (HRMS) refers to programs that manage internal HR operations, such as keeping personnel records, company regulations, and benefits information. The HRMS helps to make it easier for employees inside the organization to access important company records.

Business process management

The Business Process Management (BPM) software is the hub from which all automated processes may be designed, implemented, and viewed. To improve digital workflows, it gives reports on the outcomes of automated processes.

It is important to think about the requirements and goals indicated in the workflow maps when deciding on a software solution for automation for your organization.

There’s one workflow management software that can save you hours in automating your process documentation.

And that software is Scribe

There is no need for you to spend a significant amount of time taking, editing and annotating screenshots — before writing down one step at a time. Inside Scribe's intuitive extension, you can do all that and much more in minutes. 

Productivity may be increased by the elimination of repetitive work with the use of automated documentation.

You don't need to click on screenshots, describe procedures, or switch between several tools.

Simply turn on Scribe, then go through the steps of your process as you go. 

Here's how it works.

Automating process documentation with Scribe eliminates inefficiencies and enhances documentation efficiency. Reliable results and a seamless user experience are guaranteed.

With Scribe, it's simple to communicate and work together on digital workflows. You can easily integrate Scribe into your existing workflows by sending a link, embedding it in an email, or exporting it as HTML or PDF.

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The newest Scribe feature, Scribe Pages, allows you to automate process documentation and build practical, quick reference how-to guides to compile information.

You can create distinct workflows consisting of many steps, add checklists, and even share a collection of Scribes with your employees and customers.

Here's an overview of Scribe Pages.

Pages allow you to include a variety of media, including but not limited to text, descriptions, multiple scribes, hyperlinks, Looms and YouTube videos.

5. Paper files should be digitalized.

Your existing digital workflows likely rely on paper archives and filing systems, making accessing the relevant data in a digital workflow hard, if not impossible. Convert the paper files into digital format and use them in your system. Figure out what records need to be digitized, whether associated with HR, client data, or internal communication, and make a plan to digitize them. 

6. Maintain complete transparency regarding roles and permissions.

An essential aspect of any digital workflow platform is its ability to reliably track which employees and partners have access to which files. The right people need to be able to get their work done quickly and efficiently while the rest of the office stays focused on other things. It's important to be careful about who you let see sensitive data.

The HR manager, for instance, should be able to view all files in your HRMS, while regular employees should be limited to viewing just approved data.

To ensure your program is helpful rather than harmful, it is essential to specify appropriate responsibilities and permissions. To speed up the learning and adjusting phases, assigning specific roles on the platform is helpful. 

7. Test, test, test — then implement.

Be sure you put any new customer-facing digital workflow automation through its tests before rolling it out to the masses. During testing, it is possible to simulate a customer's actions by making a dummy account, handling a purchase from beginning to end, or communicating with a chatbot.

Fix any bugs that could interrupt regular use before rolling it out to the public. 

8. Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs).

However, it might be difficult to evaluate the efficacy of a new digital workflow. Using key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor how well your new automation works should be an absolute must.

They're flexible, much more so than certain other measures of data. This is crucial because digital workflows are designed to adapt to the changing demands and priorities of the business.

One metric may be the number of new purchase accounts opened every three months. As the number of accounts grows, you'll know your CRM is doing its job.    

9. Streamline digital workflows for increased output.

However, this is not a hands-off procedure. If your automation is still meeting your key performance indicators (KPIs) after introducing a digital process, great; if not, you now know where to focus your efforts for maximum improvement.

By checking in on its development regularly, you can fine-tune your team's digital workflow and improve productivity and morale.

Initially, you'll need to monitor the efficiency of your brand-new workflows frequently.

However, digital workflows can increase productivity, reduce costs, and streamline processes if implemented correctly and monitored regularly. Implementing automated processes well, with proper planning and regular reviews, may lead to significant gains in productivity.

The future of digital workflows

In the future, businesses will likely employ a larger proportion of remote workers in an effort to boost output while decreasing overhead.

Intelligent automation finds its stride when AI is integrated into digital processes.

Automation powers digital workflows, allowing businesses to mine mountains of data for actionable insights and consistently find more efficient methods of operation.

Using digital workflows will not only become one of the most realistic strategies to achieve these wins while still maintaining a competitive edge, but it will also become the new standard.

Start automating your process documentation and create a digital workflow with Scribe today.

Sign up for Scribe now.(It’s completely free!)