A Deep Dive into Workflow Automation
Over the past few decades, organizations have faced the challenge of digital transformation. How do you transition from and improve a workplace previously dominated by email, phones, whiteboards, spreadsheets, and hand-written notes? Each of these tools is based mainly on human memory, increasing the possibility of human error. They can be challenging to use for collaboration and provide poor visibility by management, particularly in the remote or hybrid workplace that is becoming the norm.
Organizations can significantly reduce the reliance on outdated communications and tracking software by implementing workflow automation. Workflow automation improves the efficiency and productivity of organizations by streamlining business processes. It also ensures that a clear record of work tasks is maintained for easy tracking and auditing.
There is far less dependence on human memory, task tracking spreadsheets, and employee manuals. Instead, the structure of essential and ongoing processes is held in an accessible, central repository that can easily be accessed or distributed by anyone with the proper authority (using Role-based Permissions).
What is Workflow Automation?
In concise terms, workflow automation is the design, creation, deployment, and management of business processes based on preset rules. This allows work tasks to be automatically triggered between people, technology, data, and other resources.
Workflow automation can be used to standardize work. It allows for compliance policies and business rules to be met. It reduces or eliminates human error and deviation and provides transparency and accountability at all levels of the process. The tactical goal is to ensure that the appropriate workers are focusing on the correct tasks at the proper time and have everything they require to complete said tasks.
A History of Workflow Automation
- The 1990s. The first workflow-based automation software solutions were created. This software replaced the paper-based workflow processes with electronic versions, allowing companies to replace paper tasks-routing activities with electronic-form processes.
- The late 1990s. Business rules and tools for modeling allow companies to build, analyze, and visualize business processes. They can see graphical views of current organizational processes and compare them with prospective trial processes to make work more efficient.
- From 2005. The current era of workflow automation begins with the introduction of business process management (BPM).
Workflow Automation’s Primary Benefits
There are several key benefits to automating workflows and processes:
- Increased efficiency and productivity
- More accuracy
- Real-time visibility of work
- Individual accountability at the highest level
- Ability to set meaningful KPIs and collect real-world data that can be used in process improvement
- More data for better decision-making
- Improvement in data security
Other possible benefits include:
- Better customer experience and vendor relations with a reduction in wait times and errors and improvement in communication
- More job satisfaction since employees are better able to prove and reap the rewards of high performance
In summary, workflow automation can provide a more consistent, positive experience for all your customers regarding the delivery of finished work products. It makes it easier to get work done and track what is being completed.
The ultimate goal of workflow automation is to give you an advantage over manually-driven competitors. This can be achieved by offering higher quality work, lower prices, and faster decision-making.
Statistics on Workflow Automation
Statistics can provide a wealth of information about how workflow automation is affecting organizations. Here are some statistics on the importance of process automation for digital transformation from a survey of 400 IT decision-makers across the US and Europe.
- 97% of IT decision-makers agree that process automation is key to digital transformation.
- 67% of businesses are currently implementing business process automation solutions that improve visibility across various systems.
- 47% of IT leaders agree that the most significant ROI in automation is achieved within operations.
- 36% have already implemented workflow automation technology.
- 29% of organizations plan to implement low-code or no-code workflow automation software soon.
How Workflow Automation Can Help Departments
Automation can streamline the work of any department. Here are some ways that workflow automation software can help:
- Reduce time and energy spent on building tech processes for other departments by empowering others to build workflows with no-code, drag-and-drop workflow automation
- Manage department assets and track usage trends
- Assign escalations and tickets to team members based on availability
- Avoid duplicate support requests
- Easily execute stakeholder updates
- Standardize processes to simplify list building
- Ensure that all leads receive excellent treatment and never miss a lead because of human error
- Get in-depth reports of ongoing processes
- Reduce paperwork and manage documents more easily
- Streamlined approval process makes it easier to find, verify and hire candidates quickly
- Improve and speed up onboarding and off-boarding experience
- Increase the visibility of your workflow
- More easily track expenses to avoid unwelcome expenditures
- Build workflows for approvals and notifications of employee travel, budgeting, and reimbursements
- Save time processing approvals
- Streamline content creation process
- Improve quality by making sure the right people approve all content
- Increase employee accountability
- Nurture quality leads with a consistent and trackable process
How to Get Started with Workflow Automation
A workflow automation plan starts with a clear goal and ends in process evaluation. Below are the five steps that go into a workflow automation plan.
1. Identify a Core Process
The first step is to determine a process that is core to your team or department. Ask questions like “Is this process mature enough to automate?” and “Do I have the support of the team to automate it?”
2. Define the Objective
Automation has many benefits. It can increase ROI, speed to market, and team productivity. Clarify the expectations of your team regarding automation.
3. Build the Workflow
Next, it is time to build the workflow using your workflow automation platform. The general steps are to create a new workflow, assign rules and permissions for each step, publish the workflow, and share it with your team.
4. Team Training
Workflow automation will only succeed if its stakeholders are willing to use it. Share the benefits with process owners, show them what you have built, and encourage feedback.
5. Measure Performance
Automation will not be fully realized unless your business measures the differences it has made to pre-existing processes through reports or data analytics. How has workflow automation impacted your KPIs and ROI? That is the question you want to answer.
How to Choose the Best Workflow Automation Software
There are many choices in the workflow automation market. Some are universally applicable, while others cater to specific needs. No matter your situation, workflow automation software must be flexible, fast, and able to fulfill your specific requirements. Below are the most important features in workflow automation software.
Easy to Use
Seeing as automation is intended to make life easier, the product must be simple to learn and use. Look for a user-friendly interface, no-code solutions, and a drag-and-drop design.
Some vendors charge thousands of dollars just to install workflow automation software. Consulting and implementation are not included. Say no to those vendors. As with any product purchase, avoid shady pricing models and look for something transparent and predictable.
The ability to build custom processes is essential to reap the full benefits of automation. You need software that can manage everything from simple to complex workflows with many steps and decision branches.
Without the ability to review a process, you can’t improve it. The best workflow automation software tools provide built-in reporting that allows you to monitor and analyze tasks so you can refine your processes.
Workflow Automation with FileCloud
Below are some benefits of FileCloud’s workflow automation.
FileCloud’s workflow automation is integrated with all of FileCloud’s other benefits, including enterprise file storage, collaboration, flexible infrastructure (self-hosted, hybrid, or cloud), unmatched security and compliance, and award-winning support. Managers can replace unnecessary subscriptions like Nintex by using an all-in-one solution.
Ease of Use
The drag-and-drop tool enables users to create business workflows of all levels of complexity. Managers can easily create and share customized workflows with their staff to improve productivity, reduce errors, and simplify high-volume tasks. Additionally, it is easy for users to automate their work thanks to our no-code design.
Administrators and users can track every step of their processes with an intuitive dashboard that shows all running workflows.