Many companies are quick to write off workflow automation. The technology itself can seem like a big undertaking and inaccessible depending on the size and maturity of your organisation.
We’d like to tell you that not only is workflow automation easy to implement and embed no matter your company size, sector or department, but it will help you simplify your processes in unexpected and invaluable ways.
Whether you work in Operations, HR, Sales and Marketing, Finance or Customer Services, you will be familiar with the term bottleneck. For most, bottlenecks are a regular occurence in the workplace.
The reality is that paper-based, manual, and sometimes even technology enabled processes are hampered by delays when heavily reliant on human intervention to facilitate the flow of work.
What is Workflow Automation?
To give a simple definition, digital workflow automation is technology that enables you to remove bottlenecks by reducing process reliance on human intervention. This has created fear for some, who imagine robots in the workplace doing their jobs.
Rather than a robot-takeover, digital workflow systems ensure precision, safety and reliability within everyday business processes.
The Benefits of Workflow Automation
Businesses that implement workflow automation are more efficient, save time, save money, and improve quality. Whilst there are many benefits to workflow automation, in this blog we will list the top 5:
- Gain instant visibility over your business processes
Process visibility accelerates decision-making and improves operational responsiveness that allows organisations to track process completion with workflow automation features like timestamps and geotagging that show when, where and by who information was captured. This provides a complete audit trail on team performance, complemented by dashboard reporting for instant insights on both historical and today’s data and activity.
In the words of Bill Gates, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
- Data quality and compliance
This benefit in and of itself is a reason to invest in workflow automation software. Say goodbye to incomplete / lost forms and incorrect procedures being followed.
We recently spoke to a B2C facing organisation whose entire distribution was running off of paper forms, creating a host of problems including filing, getting information captured on paper in to their systems, paper forms being submitted without all the required information, version control and the list goes on. Moving across to a workflow automation system has given them a digital fix to their administrative nightmare on all fronts. For example, they can now validate data at the point of capture creating a ‘complete’ picture and cleaner report.
From a data quality and compliance perspective, in our experience you’re looking at a 60% increase in data quality and 60% less data checks.
- Increase efficiency for sales, customer services and operations
Steps are automated to take the administration out of any process and improve the speed at which workflows are completed. For sales, this might mean automating certain parts of your lead management process, for HR this might mean automating the authorisation chain in your employee expense claims and leave requests, and for customer service this could mean using automation to reduce the amount of time it takes to answer customer complaints and queries.
Roles are designated, communications are forwarded and all process rules are triggered within the active workflow requiring less manual administration for all business users involved. When it comes to digital forms, database lookups, calculators and auto form fills can also decrease the amount of input required from field workers, or back office employees.
The bottom line is that there are everyday processes in all departments within an organisation that can use workflow automation to increase their efficiency.
- Better collaboration and improved communication
Another benefit of workflow automation is that it empowers your business leaders to collaboratively design processes and easily push out changes and communication to business users.
Any optimisations or updates to organisational forms and reports are automatically available for use by all user groups and older versions are instantly retired removing issues like version control. This continuity supports new ways of working and a new layer of control over how staff capture information and procedural precision.
- Reduce costs
Workflow automation reduces errors because it keeps necessary tasks from going unnoticed. Every person involved in the process is held accountable for their specific role within the process by the technology which ensures everyone is kept in the loop. This in turn prevents costly mistakes and delays by preventing or flagging deviations, automating notifications etc.
Real Examples of Workflow Automation In Practice
Digital workflow systems allow business users to configure and automate the steps and rules in both simple and complex business processes. By automating the repetitive admin in your processes, your people can focus on the work that requires their input and your organisation can save months and millions.
Digital Workflow Example 1: Automate Your Sales Approval Processes
Digital Workflow Example 2: Automate Your Internal Paperwork
*Company intranet refers to organisational networks like Sharepoint
Digital Workflow Example 3: Automate Your Customer Experience
These are just three examples of workflows that can be streamlined using workflow automation software. You can replicate almost ANY business process using Formworks.
Become A Fully Digital Workplace
Workflow automation allows your people to focus on the important work and is a key step in becoming a fully digital workplace. This will give your business a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace.
Experience The Benefits of Workflow Automation Free For Two Months
To experience the benefits of workflow automation firsthand, sign up for a two month free trial of Formworks and be up and running in a matter of days. Our powerful workflow automation solution is used within multiple sectors and is fully integratable with your internal systems architecture.
Need Some Help and Advice?
We know it can be tricky working out the best way of implementing Workflow Automation. Let us help. Simply contact us and one of our consultants will discuss your requirements and help you map out the best way forward with no obligation.