Workflow Automation

Workflow automation improves productivity, efficiency, and customer experience.


workflow automation illustration

Workflow Automation Definition

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.

Why Workflow Automation Is Used

By automating workflows, especially those processes that are primarily handled manually by employees, significant improvements can be made in:

  • Efficiency
  • Productivity
  • Accuracy
  • Audibility
  • Accountability
  • Job Satisfaction

How to Build an Automated Workflow

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.

workflow automation builder
Workflow automation software allows business users to design custom automated workflows. (Click for Larger)

Workflow Automation Examples

Here are some examples of processes that can benefit from optimization using workflow automation software:


IT Service Requests

Security Access Requests

New Account Setup

Change Requests

New Project Requests

Security Incidents


CapEx/AFE Requests

Expense Approvals

Salary/Wage Changes

AP Automation

Grant Management


Campaign Approvals

Collateral Approvals

Brand Management


Office Relocations

Resource Scheduling

Facility Access

Move Requests


Quote Approvals

Pricing Discounts

Proposal Approvals

Product Discounts


Legal Holds

Contract Reviews

Client Intake


Benefits Changes


New Hire Management

Employee Onboarding

Employee Offboarding

Vacation Requests


Procurement Process

Capital Approvals

Vendor Management

Invoice Approvals

Product Pricing


Complaint Management

Maintenance Request

New Product Request

workflow automation complex analysisSimple or Complex, Your Workflows Can Be Automated

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.)

Example: Automating Capital Expenditure Request Workflow

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 provides several benefits over manual processes:

  • Policy compliance adherence
  • Reduced approval cycles
  • Reduced manual handling
  • Improved visibility
  • Improved employee satisfaction
  • Continual process improvement
  • Better workload management
  • Reduced errors

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.

Workflow Automation Vendors

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.

Interested in Automating Your Workflow?

We have a variety of resources to help you on your journey to an automated workflow. 


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