Automated workflows have the potential to enable you to focus more of your time on the completion of value-adding efforts each day. When you introduce automation, machines will accomplish boring and repetitive tasks, along with those not requiring your direct engagement. Even better, automation can help ensure mundane tasks don’t get overlooked or handled sub-optimally.
What is Workflow Automation?
Employing software to execute specific tasks and selected activities without repeated human input is referred to as workflow automation. Workflow automation minimizes the need for manual efforts to complete repetitive tasks, thereby introducing an added degree of efficiency. Workflow automation also holds the potential to improve both productivity and profitability.
Types of Tasks Lending Themselves to Automation
Repetitive – Downloading, uploading, copying, reminding, and updating — tasks that must be done over and over again — are prime candidates for automation. Gathering reports, backing up systems, disseminating reports and the like can easily be programmed to happen with minimal human involvement beyond ensuring the supplied data is correct. Moreover, such activities can be automated using low-code or no-code software.
Rule-based – Copying and pasting data from one spreadsheet to another, gleaning contact information from websites or logging leads can all be accomplished automatically. This is also true for onboarding new clients as well as new hires. In other words, any task that follows a given set of rules, or has a specific procedural flow, can be automated. Filing and processing expense reports is a perfect example of this, as there are mandatory fields into which data must be entered and a specific set of rules govern the processes.
Software-based – Syncing data between two platforms can be accomplished automatically with a no-code workflow, giving multiple systems the capability of communicating with one another. Automating these processes enables users to view data on whatever device they have handy and make decisions on the fly, based on the most accurate data available to them.
Time-consuming – Creating reports, aggregating data from a variety of sources, calculating metrics, and sending reports are time-consuming tasks that lend themselves readily to automation. As an example, consider the tasks associated with onboarding a new employee. With automation, all forms and compliance documents can be handled in much less time, with far greater accuracy and consistency.
Practical Workflow Automation Examples
Invoicing – Payment platforms and accounting software can be linked so that whenever a transaction occurs, an invoice is automatically generated. Recurring invoices can be set to transmit on a specific date at a predetermined time.
Health Records – Along with the COVID-19 pandemic came the need to track immunizations within your organization. With automation, employees can upload their vaccine data and the system can track their status and test results. This is particularly useful when conducting business in situations in which tracking is critical, such as ensuring OSHA compliance.
Customer Support – Clients tend to want questions answered quickly and requests fulfilled right away. Automation offers the potential to provide answers to frequently asked questions immediately. Chatbots can be available to assist customers 24 hours a day. Such automation tools can shrink communication gaps considerably, thereby servicing your customers in a faster and more fulfilling manner.
Automated workflows have been proven to streamline operations, improve efficiency, enhance productivity and increase profitability. What’s more, benefits can be realized across the board, whether in administration, finance, IT, marketing or customer support. Every department stands to benefit from the incorporation of automation into your workflow practices. Even better, much of this can be accomplished with minimal effort from IT departments, thanks to the advent of software-as-a-service implementation tools.