Even if you've landed your dream job, there are probably some aspects of it that you dislike. Most people wish to avoid those monotonous, manual assignments. That spells doom and gloom for management: the more mundane duties the staff have to deal with, the lower their general morale will become.
Workflow automation is a game-changing work strategy that organizations should embrace in order to compete effectively. Consider combining procedures and technologies to execute work in a single, fluid, user-friendly process.
Sounds perfect? It's also completely achievable.
But first, what exactly is workflow automation, and why does it matter?
Defining workflow automation
Workflow automation is the process of developing, simplifying, implementing and automating a list of functions channeled automatically between personnel, software and data according to pre-defined criteria.
Basically, you can use technology to take away some of those more manual, time-consuming tasks, allowing you to focus on more important parts of the job.
In order to make it happen, workflow automation requires planning, strategy development and efficient implementation. Some approaches involve picking the right technology, including assessing functionality, corporate standards, usability and costs. Another method could be to maximize automation, which would result in less manual effort and better time management.
Upgrading your business to ultimate workflow automation mandates the implementation of workflow automation solutions. They're specifically designed to make company operations easier and increase efficiency.
The goal is to flow seamlessly between employees and from network to network, without additional processes getting in the way, so the chance of malfunctions is minimal. It's the simplest solution to upgrade your company from paper-centered repetitive duties to a powerful digital framework.
Why is workflow automation software important?
Organizations need workflow automation tools because they provide control over planning, modifying, executing and all the processes in-between. They also keep your business up to date with the newest tech advancements.
Your employees get to select which activities they need the platform to complete, or they can specify what has to be done.
For example, they could automate the steps to take before a document is shared or the product is released. These solutions are essential for businesses with a lot of employees. They allow them to establish a consistent workflow without causing misunderstandings or lags in output.
Benefits of Workflow Automation
1. Improved internal communication
According to Project.co survey, 47 percent of employees said it was hard to get a good real-time project overview. In today's dynamic environment, a lack of cross-departmental communication can cause blunders across the entire project.
On the other hand, workflows can make every phase of any activity transparent to all participants. As a result, you minimize the chance of misunderstanding or poor management.
Automation can also lower personnel turnover; one of the most common reasons employees quit is a communication gap with managers. Since you're automating processes, you're also regulating communication. It's best to get everyone engaged when building an automated process. You can use your tools to start drawing a flowchart to see where the process starts and finishes, as well as what role each employee plays in it.
2. Minimized errors
It's virtually impossible to operate without any mistakes. The larger the human involvement in operations, the greater risk of miscalculation. Identifying and correcting flaws takes talent and time, and the defects can put the process in danger until that happens.
Workflow automation will significantly reduce the number of blunders since it reduces human engagement, resulting in fewer chances for mistakes. You might also discover the sequence that leads to a problem and can prevent the same error from happening again.
3. Insightful information
It can be challenging to recognize whether new corporate tactics are beneficial as the amount of work keeps growing.
As long as the goals are more or less met, you might not think about updating your procedures. This is a mistake. There's always room for significant improvement, cost savings, and, more importantly, valuable insights about your customers, employees and organization.
By designing clear and straightforward workflows, you can gain a better understanding of business operations. Management can use this knowledge to optimize workflows, streamline existing company procedures and boost revenue.
4. Optimized client service
Workflow automation software can help you improve customer interaction. It usually comes with a built-in communications channel. You can rapidly send or receive mail from your clients. The software also prevents you from emailing duplicate messages because it documents every email thread. That's one less burden for employees to bear.
A good solution keeps track of your contacts, stores their comments and evaluates their reactions to your offer. Because of this, it's easier for you to figure out how to reach out to those people. You can also discover the best approach for keeping these clients and attracting new ones. This is incredibly useful for many onsultant based businesses, such as SEO who often have to onboard new clients quickly.
5. Driving productivity
You can use automated workflows to integrate different procedures into a single, simple platform. Your employees don't have to dig through separate systems for regulations, documents or protocols because everything is incorporated into one tool that emphasizes productivity.
Consider workflow automation when a company has a set of activities to complete repeatedly. Paper records, tables and emails are commonly used to organize these activities. When the procedure is optimized, you reduce the probability of human mistakes. Workflow automation improves overall performance by giving you a clearer perspective of several operations, making it easier to find opportunities for progress.
The examples of workflow automation
1. Managing leads
It's vital to keep tabs on prospects, but it's tedious work. Automate it to free up your salespeople's time to concentrate on the final phases of the sales pipeline. That kind of system can scan through client questions on your website, add the essential information into your customer relationship management system or adopt a completely different approach of customer success solution, and then direct the prospect to your sales department.
2. Easier training
With solutions like Scribe, you can turn any digital process into a step-by-step guide. Scribe is a screen capture and documentation tool that does the whole work for you - it automatically creates a step-by-step guide, complete with text and screenshots. Quickly create documentation to support your new app – turn on the Scribe recorder and walk through any processes.
Create how-to guides you can embed in your internal help center, wikis, knowledge bases, etc.
3. Handling tickets
The information technology team can manage calls for technical support more effectively with the help of automated software. Staff can file requests rather than email the IT department when they have a technical problem. The complaint can be assigned to a particular agent by your workflow automation system. It keeps requests sorted and manageable, allowing the IT staff to answer inquiries quickly.
4. Invoice automation
Automating invoices saves the finance department considerable time and effort. It's particularly convenient if you charge the same customers the same amount each month. While it still has to be verified, it can be issued by different departments and used to process payments with partners and customers as needed.
5-step-plan to automate workflows
- Determine a repeating activity: Discover which processes could benefit from automation. Think about if something is simple enough to be automated or whether your crew agrees on or demands automation in each case.
- Define your objectives: Higher ROI, shorter time-to-market, and better team efficiency are all advantages of automation. Outline your employees' automation ambitions.
- Team training: Cooperation of all the parties is necessary for automation's success. Present its advantages to the functional managers and encourage them to provide criticism.
- Build a strategy: Create the methodology in the workflow management software. Create a template, design the pipeline and give each phase and participant access and regulations.
- Track key performance indicators and ROI: To measure the success of workflow automation, you must compare the state before and after the adjustments, as evaluated by reports and data insights.
Everything can be automated
From IT services companies to the marketing department, there's always a place for automating at least a part of a workflow. It can be as basic as permission approval/disapproval or as complex as multiple pipeline activities, all of which are driven by standard operating procedures. An employee, for example, could fill out an online application to seek clearance for expenses.
Modern solutions track all workflow phases and activities in real-time and often propose changes based on trends. Inquiry data automatically transmits into CRM and other corporate systems if required. This helps managers observe and detect weak spots or delays. Furthermore, those who filed a request can see their inquiries' status, allowing them to plan future activities.
Wrapping it up
Automating your procedures can significantly influence your business's performance and motivation, as well as profit. This technique necessitates a thorough review of your current business activities and an expert assessment of the weak spots that can benefit from automated workflows.
As the march toward digitalization intensifies, automation of daily business operations is imperative. It's no longer a subject of preference but rather a question of survival. Organizations who want to keep their business on track can explore workflow automation solutions to assist them in staying ahead of the competition.
About the Author
In this article, Nada Bundalo, Digital Marketer and Outreach Specialist, shares her knowledge about workflow automation. Privately, she is an unshakable optimist who always shares her gelato.