Businesses are rapidly implementing digital technology to increase efficiency and accuracy and provide quicker access to new markets. Documents are at the center of many business processes, from contacts, claims, and letters to reports, orders, invoices, and purchase requests. Businesses simply cannot keep up the pace required to succeed with the inefficient traditional methods of organizing, routing, and approving paper documents. Organizations are rapidly moving towards workflow automation across business operations. This helps in streamlining operations and improving communication.
Workflow automation has several advantages, including a tremendous reduction on the time taken to accomplish tasks, increase in productivity, and an overall improvement in employee work experience by eliminating tiresome manual tasks.
Before we go into detail about the necessity of workflow automation in your business, let us first define what it is.
What is Workflow Automation?
Workflow Automation refers to the process of designing, streamlining, and automating a series of tasks based on pre-defined business rules, eliminating the delays and errors associated with circulating paper manually. Today, a workflow management system with low-code, drag-and-drop features, and user-friendly interfaces is commonly used to do this.
Workflows can help automate and streamline repetitive business operations, reducing the risk of mistakes and enhancing overall productivity. As a result, your day-to-day business processes will improve significantly. Managers can make faster, smarter decisions and your team can communicate more productively and agilely.
Although artificial intelligence (AI) is used in many technologies, it is not essential for efficient process automation. Rule-based logic systems are equally successful in eliminating inefficiencies in workflow and providing easier cooperation.
However, developing a workflow in your business might seem daunting. It might at times be challenging, as it requires that you can see a big picture while also paying attention to the hundreds of minute details that go into it.
Workplace automation, when used correctly, can have a significant impact on your organization.
What are the benefits of Workflow Automation?
Workflow automation brings a host of advantages.
- Improved Communication:
According to a survey published in 2019 by Dynamic Signal, over 63% of employees wanted to quit their positions owing to ineffective communication. The pandemic has only made things worse. Workflow automation simplifies staff communication and keeps everyone informed. Employees may give each other notes on documents or assign tasks using the right document workflow management system. Reminders are sent automatically, so team members do not need to remind each other of their upcoming tasks.
- Enhance Productivity
One of the most evident benefits of workflow automation is higher-quality work. Employees can use the time saved from time-consuming manual processes to work on projects that are higher on their priority list. They can perform to their full ability now as they have more time on their hands, ultimately resulting in higher overall efficiency.
- Increase Accountability
While automating job assignments help employees to effectively collaborate with each other, it also improves accountability. Employees are well informed about their responsibilities, and any gaps can be immediately identified.
Workflow automation benefits such as simplifying communication and lowering the scope of mistakes can save organizations a significant amount of money. Additionally, administrative labor is reduced since repetitive and time-consuming procedures are automated.
- Provide better Customer Service
Today’s customers want everything at once. In this fast-paced business environment, organizations cannot afford to be negligent and slow. Most organizations have automated their approval processes to improve collaboration, reduce interdependency between employees and increase productivity at the workplace to serve their customers better.
To help you better understand the benefits of workflow automation, in this blog post, we will review a few examples that are common in every organization.
Examples of workflow automation that will help you in automating your business.
Accounts Payable Approval
Accounts Payable process begins when your organization receives vendors’ invoices and finishes after the payment is made and the invoice is filed.
A type of workflow automation called invoice automation is becoming increasingly vital for most businesses. The process, which is included in many workflow automation systems, helps your organization to capture and store any document — paper, PDF, email, or other documents — as a digital document. Accounts payable workflow automation allows you to replace most of the manual processes with rules-based decision-making workflow. AP invoice workflow can be set up to ensure that the correct person gets an invoice for approval regardless of where they are in the world.
HR onboarding can be challenging, especially when systems rely on paper checklists or decentralized electronic data. It is an extremely tedious and time-consuming process when you have to manually enter information for a new employee. This manual process can be replaced with document workflow management software.
Workflow automation supports efficient employee onboarding by providing a consistent experience for all new hires. Automating electronic onboarding not only eliminates mistakes but also allows you to wrap up employee forms and compliance documents ahead of their start date. This planning creates a positive impression on new team members and increases the efficiency of your onboarding team.
Every organization has approvals – contract approval, leave approval, purchase requests, etc. In most cases, though, it’s email-based.
At the end of the day, this can be quite hectic. Everyone is sending emails, and no one knows who is supposed to sign what. This whole process in the end can be stressful apart from the possibilities of delays and errors. You can centralize the entire process with the right document management system. Instead of keeping track of who should sign what, the workflow automation handles it for you based on the pre-defined rules.
Reimbursing Employee Expenses
Many companies still follow the traditional manual process for approving payment processes like reimbursements. For instance, an employee might email an expense report to their manager, who then manually approves it and send it to the accounts department. From there, someone from accounts must manually enter the report’s information before a check can be cut and delivered to the right employee.
Workflow automation can simply the expense approval process reducing unproductive time and making the process more consistent. Using a right document management software, expense report forms can be configured to have mandatory fields and attachments, reducing back-and-forth. With automated workflow management, it is easy for managers to approve or ask for revision. On approval, it can automatically be sent to the finance department to reimburse the payment. Employees can track the progress of their expense claims at any time. Ultimately, using automation for reimbursable expenses means less back-and-forth and considerable time saved.
Workflow automation benefits can have a significant impact on how organization handles its daily processes since everyone will be able to work together regardless of where they are in the world.
Now that you are aware of the use cases of workflow automation, let us look at the features to look for in workplace automation software.
How to Choose the Right Workflow Automation Tool?
The importance of workflow automation mandates the implementation of a solution that is in line with your organization’s goals.
- User-Friendly Interface
A modern workflow automation solution should have an intuitive user interface so that your team does not waste time learning how to utilise it. It is important to remember that it should not dictate how your organization works; rather, it should support your current work processes.
- Access Control
Access Control is needed for workflow automation tools, just as it is needed for office premises. You may choose to provide select teams or people access to specific documents using document security. You may also specify the scope of this permission, such as whether they can just view or change a document.
- Compatibility with Smartphones
Workflow automation must evolve to keep pace with the growing mobility of offices. The program should function well whether it is used on a desktop computer at work or on a smartphone.
- Reports and Analytics:
While employee satisfaction is an important measure of how well an organization is doing, it is not the only one. Data is required to examine the current and history events, as well as to build a solid strategy for dealing with future issues. This attempt should be aided by document workflow management software that has built-in analytical tools.
How Can You Automate Workflow Process in Your Organization?
Workflow automation should start with a defined goal and finish with an assessment.
First, you must determine which processes may be automated. Your team’s tenacity might be a deciding factor in this situation.
Define Your Goals
We have already mentioned a few advantages of workflow automation. What is your goal? Before you go out on your adventure, make sure of what your priorities are and list them down in order.
The success of your project will, in the end, be decided by the stakeholders. Inform your employees about the advantages of workflow automation and get their opinion.
Create the Workflow
Make use of the tool to create the workflow process. Assign responsibilities to each stakeholder.
Use data analytics and reports to your advantage.
Finally, evaluating reports is the only way to determine the advantages of workflow automation for your organization. Measure your workers’ KPIs and ROI to see how workflow automation has helped your organization.
When addressing the advantages of workflow automation, we must not neglect the relevance of document management systems. An average office worker spends around 15% of his or her day looking for files. A document management solution like Docsvault can help you in this situation. Make use of the centralized repository to securely keep your vital data and to enable proactive communication among your staff through a variety of capabilities.
Latika S has worked in the field of document management for over 15 years. She has been involved in successfully deploying Docsvault at hundreds of organizations across the globe. In her free time, Latika likes to paint and play guitar.