What Is Workflow Automation?

planning an automated business workflow

Have you ever gone through a repetitive, time-consuming process at work and thought, “There has to be a better way to do this?”

We’ve got good news for you—there is, and it starts with workflow automation.

Workflow automation is the technology that automates business information, documents, and tasks to make business processes more efficient. It is a key part of business process management (BPM) that helps relieve workloads, giving businesses and employees more time to focus on more important tasks.

Why Is Workflow Automation Important?

Workflow automation helps businesses work more efficiently, increasing long-term success. As you evaluate your business processes to understand which workflows can be automated, you can get clearer insight into your business and areas that can be improved.

Having an automated workflow will also allow your company to save money, as with an automated system in place you wont need to employ as many people to do the small tasks and reduce human error. This, in turn, can cause a ripple effect leading to happier customers and more successful employees.

Who Should Use Workflow Automation?

Any business operating digitally, using data entry, or that currently has repetitive processes in place can likely be improved by automating processes. Specifically, businesses suffering from a high rate of human error or whose current workload is overwhelming employees will find that automated processes make a world of difference.

Workflow automation can be used in a variety of industries, including but not limited to healthcare, marketing, finance, legal, and even manufacturing fields. Additionally, automation can help specific departments in any business, including:

  • Human Resources: Staff members in this department often deal with an overwhelming amount of automatable work, including completing forms, filling out performance reviews, chasing signatures, processing leave requests, etc. Processes that can be automated in this department include leave requests, staffing requests, timesheets, performance reviews, and workplace policy updates, and even job applicant tracking.
  • Finance and Accounting Team: Dealing with legal documents, paying staff and invoices, transferring money within the company, and filling forms are just a few of the jobs that this team undertakes every day. Workflow automation can help with these tasks by automating invoices, approving budgets, distributing expenditures, managing software renewals, and sending out payslips. 
  • Sales Department: Having to deal with administrative or technological roadblocks can slow down sales and hinder gaining new business. Workflows within sales can be automated through matching sales reps with customers, integrating various systems, sorting customer data, scheduling meetings, calls and appointments, emailing follow ups, and sending out reminders and follow-up tasks to staff members.

The specific workflows of different departments, organizations, and industries may look different, but nearly every business can benefit from saving some time through automated business processes.

Benefits of Automating Workflows

Some main ways workflow automation benefits businesses include:

  • Allows you to save money due to increased productivity and less time spent on menial tasks.
  • Improves customer service by automating responses to customers enquiries or complaints in a quick and timely manner.
  • Improves the overall end product. When human error is taken out of the equation through automation, it enables more accuracy in finding ways to improve the end product or service.
  • Can track business more clearly. When workflow automation is performed digitally, it can allow the company to track how well its business is operating.
  • Reduces micromanagement. Micromanaging employees results in unhappy staff and bosses; having a system manage your workflow for you will give you more time to focus on your own workload and improve employee morale.

Evaluating Your Business’s Automatable Processes

If you are unsure about whether your business will benefit from workflow automation, identify and evaluate which processes and departments could be automated, looking closely at any repetitive tasks currently included across departments. Then, once these have been identified, focus on your business goals: Do you want to improve efficiency? Have a higher standard of customer satisfaction? Get tickets answered faster? Decrease the number of errors being made?

Once you have determined your desired outcome, it’s time to pick the right workflow automation platform. Then, you can watch its magic work as you analyze the data to see how it benefits your company.

Choosing Your Workflow Automation Platform

An experienced partner can help you evaluate your needs and options when it comes to business workflow automation. At ExpressAbility, we work with trusted platforms to help our clients choose, create, and implement customized workflows that vastly increase your productivity. We’ve specialized in helping businesses succeed for 17 years, and we’re confident we can help your business find the workflow automation platform and processes to solve your challenges. Get in touch today to work with us!