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What is Workflow Automation, and Do You Need It?

  • Nov 04, 2019
What is Workflow Automation, and Do You Need It?

If you are the owner of a small enterprise, then you may need to streamline specific tasks to accelerate the growth of your business. For instance, you can opt for workflow automation software, which can be used to simplify certain processes in the office to augment productivity and boost employee morale.

Here, we will discuss what workflow automation entails, as well as signs that you should look for that indicate that your business can benefit significantly from its benefits.

What is workflow automation?

For workflow automation to work as intended, it must utilize corporate process workflows that are clearly defined to automate several tasks in conventional organizational processes. In fact, the automation tech that’s integrated into the software will use rule-based logic in order to route data, as well as run task sequences as defined by the workflow.

Any errors that may be triggered by human negligence or ineptitude will be bypassed, as opting for workflow automation will ensure that both productivity and workplace efficiency will be augmented.

The result is that you will be able to meet the needs of your customers quicker, and you will also be able to reduce your overall business expenditures in the process as well. Below are some signs that your company is ready for workflow automation.

Standardized Processes

A lack of proper standardization may be an issue that you will run into at some point. For workflow automation to function correctly, the process that you wish to automate will need to be structured optimally. When you are looking for something to process, you need to ensure that its rules are well defined from the beginning.

In other words, there should be very few to no exceptions that you will need to deal with before automation transpires. If you are unable to get a clearly defined rule in terms of how a process should work, then you need to go back to the drawing board and make the proper adjustments, even if you or your team need to do so manually.

A Paper Form Already Exists

Another sign that you are ready for automation is if the process that you wish to automate already exists in a paper form. For instance, a travel reimbursement that already exists in a paper form can usually be automated with ease because the data has previously been thought out; this makes it a prime candidate for workflow automation.

As you begin automating the form, you will need to look into the fields that you will require. For instance, you may require time and date fields, as well as dropdowns and even a few attachments. The good news is that the creators of the form are currently available on the internet are so versatile and advanced that they offer a wide array of field types to choose from. The result is that you can design a form that is vastly superior to your original paper form with a few tweaks and creative zeal.

The automation software that you use must be able to generate an enhanced version of your paper form, and the most advanced versions will also be able to auto-populate many common fields without effort.

Miscommunication is a Common Faux Pas

A serious hazard that every company should avoid is miscommunication, as it can rapidly derail an entire process. To illustrate, imagine that your company needs to work on its marketing budget approval process, and your marketing analyst sends the budget plan to the marketing manager in an email attachment.

Imagine that your marketing manager’s email inbox is inundated with so many emails that the attachment gets lost in the deluge of emails. The result is that they never actually open the email, which leads to communication issues when the next team meeting takes place.

Fortunately, workflow automation can eradicate miscommunication errors, as it allows for each request to be placed individually on a universal hub or dashboard, which will breakdown every request and task that needs to be completed.

Accountability Matters

For the process to be optimized, accountability needs to be paramount. The same can be said about your team’s efficiency. However, as far as process automation is concerned, every task will need to have a proprietor.

In other words, when a workflow is managed manually than trying to hold an employee — or team — accountable for each step can prove to be an ordeal due to scapegoating, buck-passing, and other such corporate boondoggles. Such cumbersome issues can easily be mitigated via workflow automation, as it rectifies issues related to human accountability.

Your Task Status is Often Muddled

In order for a process to achieve all of your business goals, you will need to be able to gauge its status, on-demand. However, trying to check-in on the status of a process in a manual manner can prove to be next to impossible, as it will often require that you ask several staff members and wait for them to retrieve the data required.

Fortunately, using workflow automation software will allow you to check-in on the status of any process whenever you want, as well as assess how long it will take for each item to be completed.

If you would like to learn more about workflow automation and how your business can benefit from it, call DOS Canada at 647-547-9867 or contact us here.

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