The Complete Guide to Workflow Automation
Every process has a workflow to complete it. However, many workflows are filled with manual tasks that are time-consuming, error-prone, and expensive. It’s like adding a bunch of rocks to your row of dominos. Workflow automation removes the rocks and provides a superior kinetic force that is swift, accurate, and relatively inexpensive.
Table of contents
- What is workflow automation?
- How does workflow automation help you?
- Statistics on workflow automation
- What to look for in a workflow automation software
- How to automate processes
- The right-fit workflow automation software
What is workflow automation?
Workflow automation refers to designing, streamlining, executing, and automating a series of tasks that are automatically routed between people, technology and data based on pre-defined business rules.
Benefits of Workflow Automation
How does workflow automation help you?
From admin to finance, and IT to marketing, workflow automation can liberate all departments from the burden of manual processes. Here’s how every department in your company can benefit from a workflow automation software:
Human resources (HR)
Drastically reduce paperwork
Source, verify, and recruit candidates faster with automated approval
Ensure compliance on all processes
Improve workflow visibility
Provide swifter onboarding/offboarding experience
Simplify document management
Save time on approval processing
Schedule auto-payments for recurring invoices
Create a smart payroll management system
Integrate data with other accounting software
Delegate repetitive, menial tasks to the system
Collaborate on workflows with teammates in multiple locations
Ensure all content gets approved by the right eyes
Establish a consistent process to nurture and follow up with quality leads
Autopilot multiple campaigns and monitor them from a unified dashboard
Simplify list building by standardizing the process
Make sure all leads get the same red carpet treatment
Never let a lead slip through the cracks due to error
Get insightful report and analysis on ongoing processes
Send contextual welcome, thank you, or promotional emails
Information Technology (IT)
Assign tickets and escalations to available team members
Avoid duplicate support requests
Confirm scheduled updates with stakeholders
Get a handle on Shadow IT
Manage assets and track usage trends
Workflow Automation Examples
Some examples of workflow automation use-cases:
Information Technology (IT)
- Service requests
- Incident management
- Issue Tracking
- Change Management
Human Resources (HR)
- Creative requests
- Content management
- Campaign management
- Lead qualification
- Contract renewal
- RFP approval
- NDA request
- Sales quotation
- Bug tracking
- Feature request
- Defect tracking
Statistics on workflow automation
Statistics give lots of insights into how different industries are reaping benefits from workflow automation. Here are some numbers:
Process and marketing automation yields a 417% increase in revenue.
- Annuitas Group
Cisco Systems automated their CRM process and eliminated 75,000 customer calls/month and saved over $270 million annually in operating expenses.
Businesses anticipate workflow automation in three areas: managing cost-efficiency, improving time-to-market, and optimizing customer self-service.
What to look for in a workflow automation software
You’ll find lots of options in the workflow automation software market. Some can be applied in any organization while others serve niche needs.
No matter what your situation, you want workflow automation software that is fast, flexible, and meets your needs. Here’s a quick checklist to identify the must-haves in a workflow automation software:
Automation is meant to make things simpler, so the product itself should be easy to use. Check for a friendly UI, no-code solutions, and drag-and-drop designers.
Cloud-based workflow automation tools are usually easier to maintain and run than on-premise versions. They also offer easy accessibility, reliable security, and data scalability.
Most cloud-based software come with interoperability with other cloud apps. Check your workflow automation software for API compatibility and tools like Zapier.
Your business is unique and so are your processes. Make sure the workflow automation software can handle complex cases like conditional steps and multiple branches.
Reports and analytics
You can’t improve a process without reviewing it. The best workflow automation software tools offer in-built reporting to examine lags, monitor tasks, and make improvements.
Workflow automation software in today’s world has to work from any location and any device. From notifications to approvals, make sure the tool works for people on the go.
Many vendors charge tens of thousands of dollars for installing a workflow automation software - not including implementation and consulting. SaaS pricing is upfront and predictable.
How to automate processes
A workflow automation process begins with a clear objective and ends with a process evaluation.
Here are 5 steps involved in carrying out a workflow automation plan
Identify a repetitive process
Zero in on a process that could benefit from automation. Ask questions such as ‘Is it matured enough to be automated?’ or ‘Does the team approve of, or insist on automation?’.
The benefits of automation can be varied - increased ROI, faster time-to-market, increased team productivity. Clearly articulate your team’s expectations from automation.
Train the team
The success of workflow automation depends on the willingness of its stakeholders. Communicate its benefits to the process owners and encourage their feedback.
Design the workflow>
Build the process in the workflow management tool. Create a form, define the workflow, and assign permissions and rules for each step and stakeholder.
Measure KPIs and ROI
The purpose of automation is not fully achieved until your business compares the difference it has made to the pre-existing processes, measured through reports and data analytics.
The right-fit workflow automation software
Kissflow Workflow is a workflow automation software that fits all processes that need rule-based workflows. It has a simple intuitive interface that lets anyone build and automate their workflows easily. You can customize your process according to your needs and run seamless workflows. Take a trial and see it for yourself.