Workflow automation improves productivity, efficiency, and customer experience.
Workflow Automation refers to the design, execution, and automation of processes based on workflow rules where human tasks, data or files are routed between people or systems based on pre-defined business rules.
By automating workflows, especially those processes that are primarily handled manually by employees, significant improvements can be made in:
Using a drag and drop interface to add and arrange tasks, automated workflows can be planned and designed visually to either simulate or improve upon existing processes. In most cases, the process is illustrated in a static format and reviewed by all stakeholders for accuracy. Once the static design is finalized, work begins on designing the actual process including forms, tasks, recipients, alerts/notifications, etc. This is done using workflow automation software that includes pre-built tasks that can be arranged and connected as needed.
Here are some examples of processes that can benefit from optimization using workflow automation software:
New Account Setup
New Project Requests
The automation of a given workflow process can involve one simple request/approval process or encompass several different workflow tasks and resources, triggered by set business rules. For instance, an employee may request the approval of capital expenditures by completing an online form.
This triggers workflow automation that routes the employee's request to their supervisor for approval. If the supervisor approves, the request is then routed to a different area of finance based on the amount of the request (e.g. Under $25,000 is routed to a Finance Manager while over $25,000 is routed directly to the CFO). Once the request is approved by the appropriate Finance approver, it may then be routed to the relevant purchasing agent based on the type of request (IT purchase, Marketing purchase, Event purchase, etc.)
All the steps and actions in the workflow process are tracked and reported in real-time as well as for long-term trend analysis. For instance, department managers can report on service levels and identify weak points or bottlenecks. In addition, requestors have visibility into request status for better planning. As needed, information regarding the request can be automatically transferred into ERP, CRM, and other business systems.
Workflow Automation systems provide administrative users with an environment for creating and editing workflow automation schemes, usually through a visual/drag and drop interface. Shapes and connectors represent the people and tasks to be performed for any given request so an automation scheme can be built based on real-world activities. This allows for rapid prototyping of workflows in an easily understood schema. Once deployed, administrators can use workflow analysis tools like reporting, dashboards, and KPIs to ensure processes are running as smoothly as possible.
Companies like Kissflow, Worktec, Flokzu, etc. provide simple workflow tools for small businesses while companies like Integrify provide robust tools for mid-size and enterprise companies. The difference between SMB and Enterprise workflow software is in the feature set, interoperability, scalability, and service/implementation component. Other tools like Lotus Workflow and Sharepoint Workflow are being sunset so their parent company can focus on other core features.
We have a variety of resources to help you on your journey to an automated workflow.
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