There are many ways to automate the use of a computer. But what is workflow automation? It’s simply using software or programming code to tell your computer exactly what you want it to do and when it is done.
This guide will give you some insight into workflow automation and give you some practical examples of its uses today. Hopefully, by reading this guide, we can convince you that there is value in learning how to automate your workflows. Let’s get started!
What is Workflow Automation?
The term “workflow” was popularised in the 1980s to describe a process or business activity that could be automated. After much research, companies devised ways to increase business productivity by taking humans out of the loop where possible. Replacing specific tasks with machines leads to significant gains in speed and efficiency.
Simply put, using software automation is all about letting computers do things automatically instead of manually. For example, you can create an “app” that will take a picture through your phone then post it on your favorite social media site without you having to push any buttons at all! Pretty amazing stuff when you think about it.
Today when we talk about workflow automation specifically, when someone tells us they’ve automated their workflow, they’re talking about automating computer-based workflows – in other words, computer programs that perform particular tasks in the order you want them done.
Can you imagine all the things you do on your computer at work or home, and how much time it would take to complete if they were done manually? Workflow is one of the easiest ways to save yourself some time!
Benefits of Workflow Automation
Here are several benefits of workflow automation:
Reduced Human Error: Computers don’t make mistakes (most of the time). So when an automated process goes wrong, it’s usually because there was a problem with the code somewhere along the way.
There is always a record of what happened so that any errors can be easily detected and corrected quickly. In other words, computers make things a whole lot more reliable.
Faster Processing: Because computers can work 24/7, tasks that would take days or even months by hand can be done in a fraction of the time with machines. If your company is looking for ways to improve its bottom line, workflow automation should be considered!
Free up Human Resources: More and more companies are considering workflow automation as an effective way to cut costs. Even if they don’t need to lay off staff immediately, managers will find it easier to allocate human resources where they’re needed most, with fewer routine tasks getting in the way.
For employees who aren’t let go, more time is spent on activities with greater significance like customer relationship management, sales prospects, research, development, etc.
Increases Efficiency: Automated workflows mean that employees can get back to focusing on tasks that matter while computers handle all the boring stuff. This makes workflow automation a very efficient way to increase efficiency. This means you will be able to do more with less for your company. It doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
Better Accuracy: Computers are much more accurate than humans regarding data entry. You can trust them because they don’t have emotions or get bored easily, so you know the information will be correct every time!
Most of the mistakes made in processing tasks are due to human error, which frustrates customers who aren’t receiving what they ordered or expected.
Prevents Data Loss: In today’s technology-driven world, the biggest fear of most companies is data loss. This results from stolen laptops or accidentally being thrown out with the trash.
With automated workflows in place, any lost information can easily be retrieved from a backup to prevent business disruption and the embarrassment of having customers discover this themselves (and then tell everyone they know).
Increased Transparency and Accountability: An essential aspect of workflow automation at work includes transparency and accountability, allowing managers to track what everyone is doing.
Issues can be resolved quickly before they get out of hand. This speeds up communication between teams resulting in increased productivity. Everyone works together, rather than against one another!
More Storage Capacity: With automated workflows to tie up all the loose ends, there is no need for employees to spend valuable time doing menial tasks like manually saving documents. This means more storage space to store any valuable information shared among other departments or even customers!
Improved Security: Passwords, login credentials, and sensitive company data are kept safe with updated security protocols because automated workflows eliminate human error. Your business becomes more secure as a result of workflow automation.
Increased Customer Satisfaction: Although not directly related to workflow automation, it’s important to mention this benefit anyway because customer satisfaction can directly impact your bottom line.
Automating processes means that companies can respond to customers quicker, resulting in fewer dissatisfied customers. Customers are always best served by automation!
Uses of Workflow Automation
Workflows can be used by any company or organization, especially where there is a lot of company collaboration occurring, such as in the Human Resources and Customer Operations departments. Some common examples include:
- Sending out contracts, documents, and invoices
- Linking workflow automation to customer relationship management (CRM) tracking systems
- Integrating your email service provider with other applications for easier workflows
- Keeping track of internal news and announcements
- Monitoring employee progress on projects and activities
- Scheduling meetings, conferences, appointments; even sending out reminders for them
Workflow Automation Steps
Step 1: Identify business processes that can be automated.
Step 2: Determine what needs to be done, which tasks should be automated, and the order of those tasks.
Step 3: Define all possible states of each task in the process and move from one state of completion to another.
Step 4: Test out your new workflow automation solution with some or all of your employees.
In conclusion, Workflow Automation is an efficient way of automating manual business processes within an organization or company through technology that will facilitate improved communication between businesses, teams, projects – simply put, it automates teamwork!