5 Steps for An Efficient Workflow Automation
Workflow automation is the quick and easy way to achieve your desired outcome in an efficient manner, consistently, and accurately. When should a business consider automation? Why does your company need to adopt workflow automation?
When there is a process (usually repetitive) to implement a series of tasks, it is typically managed manually with a bunch of paper files or at best with a combination of spreadsheets and good old email.
Workflow Automation helps in streamlining this process with less human intervention, thereby removing the possibility of human errors.
Business process management gives you better visibility of the various tasks, can pinpoint bottlenecks, and suggest areas of improvement and thereby increasing the overall business productivity.
Now, with all these thoughts on automation, how exactly does a business identify the steps to reach the stage of maximum efficiency or a fully automated workflow process?
Before a business moves to workflow automation, the management must perform a self-evaluation with their team to come up with answers to the following questions –
- Is the organization ready to work smarter?
- Are the employees ready to move from the traditional working methodology of spreadsheets and files to a new system as a team?
- Once automated, can the organization work with lesser manpower and still deliver products or services with the same or better quality?
The answer to all the above queries will determine the decision the management makes and a workflow application to make a smooth transition from your traditional mode of working to the automated approach will be inevitable.
The automated workflow that your organization opts for should only automate the repetitive steps of your workflow for better results. It should give you the flexibility to make any additional changes in the future if required.
The new automated workflow should not be a forced-upon system added to your existing workflow, it should be just an improvisation of the required specific areas of the workflow. It should not require the users to master any new programming languages or skillsets to operate the automated workflow.
Disadvantages of Manual Workflows In Your Business
From the CEO to new hires, a considerable amount of time is spent on routine, repetitive tasks. The time an organization spends on repetitive work eats away at a productive time. Freeing associates from such tasks will significantly increase productivity, which translates to better performance.
Manual workflows are time-consuming and ridden by inaccuracies. Even the smallest manual process can pile up and distract you from more challenging, productive project work.
Here is how manual tasks can slow down your business…
- Increased dependency on people: Manual processes are people-centered. Human errors and biases creep into the process inadvertently. Verification and rectification of the data generated by manual processes can be a huge burden on the employees.
- Limited visibility: Manual processes operate in silos. As a result, data visibility is localized. Even the top leadership has a limited view of the critical path and is unable to take immediate action. The immediate tasks might not be known to the team members and may cause a needless delay.
- Low productivity: Most of the work hours are spent on repetitive tasks or data validation and rectification of errors that arise from manual processing. The availability of time for productive work is reduced, which brings down productivity.
- Waiting time and bottlenecks: Manual approval processes are ridden by long waiting times and bottlenecks. Due to limited visibility of the process flow, pinpointing the reason for bottlenecks is a challenge.
Every company would desire smooth and efficient business processes, and manual business flows are definitely not going to help in achieving the targets. Freeing employees from mundane tasks, improving productivity, optimizing process operations – achieve all this and more with automated workflows.
What is Workflow Automation?
The design, execution, and automation of business processes on the basis of workflow rules is called workflow automation. Business workflows involve the routing of data, human tasks, or files between people and systems according to pre-defined business rules. Automation of workflows is done to eliminate the redundancies of manual processing and to optimize the business operations.
Common business workflows that can be automated include
Creating a comprehensive workflow diagram is the best way to build an automated workflow.
Once you have the workflow diagram ready, building an automated workflow can be done very easily with a drag and drop interface provided by new-age automation software. Cflow enables businesses to automate workflows within minutes with an easy-to-use visual form builder.
Fig: Budget Workflow
Workflow automation can be done for simple as well as complex business processes. Apart from simplifying the business process, automation also saves on costs. Employees and leadership can get rid of repetitive tasks and are able to spend time on more productive, strategic initiatives.