All You Need to Know About Workflow Automation

Automation isn’t an option anymore; it is an imperative. Let’s understand workflow automation in more depth by learning what it is.

Automation is the future of the world.

There are four major reasons why businesses around the world are focusing their energies on automation (esp. workflow automation):

  • It reduces the time needed for data entry, handling, processing and management
  • It reduces the human resources needed for data processing
  • It increases the speeds of various steps involved in the data ecosystem of the company
  • It streamlines business processes to be more efficient and accurate

Report Linker, in its most recent survey, discovered some thoroughly interesting numbers. 36% of businesses have already begun automating a large chunk of their workflows using some business process management software. Furthermore, another 29% of the respondents plan to follow suit soon.

Automation isn’t an option anymore; it is an imperative. Let’s understand workflow automation in more depth by learning what it is, how you can leverage it and the benefits it can give your business.

What is Workflow Automation?

Workflow automation is the effective use of rule-based logic and algorithms designed with artificial intelligence/machine learning to govern specific tasks and run them without human intervention.

By designing good algorithms and clear rules and logic, a business process automation software can take on many mundane tasks around the organization. For example, automation can handle sending emails, scheduling various tasks, setting up marketing campaigns and much more.

The software can be made capable of handling more complex tasks as well, like drawing up trends, forecasts and reporting analytics from the data gathered. This can be achieved using modern technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning for designing automation algorithms.

Workflow automation helps businesses make the most of their modus operandi. For example, research by Aberdeen has revealed that marketing automation can drive your conversion rate by 53%.

Various Business Processes and How to Automate Them

Since automation is completely computer-driven, the rules, protocol and objective must be clearly defined for it to work correctly. Furthermore, in cases where artificial intelligence and machine learning are involved, there needs to be a high-quality data set for the computer to learn from to produce accurate results.

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Overall, there are eight significant types of business processes that are common to all organizations:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Customer service
  • Finance
  • Operations
  • Production
  • Accounting
  • Management

To establish a well-automated workflow, you need to follow the steps described below.

Identify The Areas That Need Reworking

Automation has boundless capability; however, for your organization to truly benefit from it, you must work out where it can make the most desirable impact. You must first identify the functional areas that could be improved in terms of time and efficiency. It could be your sales team or your production line that could use automation. Assess thoroughly the areas that need process improvement.

Establish the Protocol

No computer can function effectively if the rules and logic aren’t clearly defined. It needs a measurable, achievable objective to work towards for effective automation. You need to lay out a detailed, precise Standard Operating Procedure for the automation process.

SOPs also apply to the employees involved alongside the automated processes. There needs to be synchronization between your staff's roles and your automation software's role in a particular workflow.

Tag the Repetitive Tasks

The benefits of automation are realized best when applied to repetitive tasks. Employees invest a considerable chunk of their workdays towards manual handling tasks that don’t require critical thinking. Automating these tasks has the potential to free up your human resources for tasks of critical thinking. In the long run, this can save your business a lot of lost time and investment in workforce.

Set Priorities

It isn’t efficient to automate every task recognized in the step above. All the areas that need streamlining do not have the same urgency to be automated. It works best to identify the processes that would yield the best results when automated and prioritize their automation first.

You can consider factors like operational improvements and the final impact on your customers to set priorities for different tasks. For example, customer service is a direct customer-contact business process; you can prioritize this business process if customers are your focus.

Digital Revolution

Deciding to automate your business processes doesn’t have to begin from scratch. With the grace of digital transformation, there is high availability of automation software that you can leverage effectively. Designing automation processes has become easier with such software as they provide intuitive interfaces that are simple to understand and use.

Even if you wish to design a solution from scratch, the software has no-code and low-code options that help you design your automation solution.

Why is Workflow Automation Important?

In addition to saving time and cost for a business, workflow automation has much to give. The importance of business process automation can be seen in numbers today: Gartner established that the market for automation software would reach $600 billion by the end of 2022. Here are a few more reasons business process automation is essential:

  • The workforce gets to focus more on the high-value tasks
  • Productivity of the employees gets a boost
  • Cost and time savings are a direct result of business process automation
  • Automation improves interdepartmental communication by streamlining processes
  • Customer service improves drastically
  • You get the chance to improve your product quality through the insights generated by automation software
  • Performance tracking is made possible with automation software

Workflow Automation Software

Workflow automation software is designed to handle business processes and streamline them according to your rules. Some of the best software of 2022 are:

  • Hubspot
  • Zorp
  • Kissflow
  • Integrify
  • Zapier

Conclusion

Business process automation is helping businesses around the world make the best of their processes by equipping a business with tools to improve efficiencies. Better efficiencies result in high-performing processes that yield better results. Now is the time if you haven't yet begun adopting workflow automation software.