Office Workflow Automation – Why and How?
It’s the software-enabled automation of a set of activities to accomplish a specific function or workflow. Automation can be achieved in almost all segments of an office business process, right from HR to sales, management, operations, and Information Technology.
To illustrate, consider a case when a new employee joins your organization. There is a basic workflow a candidate goes through before she is inducted into the company. It starts with filling in an application with basic details like address, emergency contact, and so on, providing access credentials to get an ID card, seat allocation, Payroll inclusions, and the list goes on and on.
Each of the above processes may be a separate workflow with its own set of approvals from people in different departments. Head spinning, right?
Is it really possible to manage efficiently with spreadsheets? No would be the answer.
Here comes the role of the office automation system which helps track the workflows in quick-easy steps and helps you streamline communication.
You might receive hundreds of approval emails per day. You will also have several requests for which you will require approval from people belonging to different departments.
How good would that be if you could handle all this just by clicking a few links in your automated s/w application? Definitely, that is what I would call a BOON.
When communication is streamlined, the accountability factor becomes transparent. There will be no question of missing approvals and losing information.
Workflow automation will minimize human errors and improve business process efficiency. The dashboard is an inevitable feature of every automation software which gives you all requests, incoming, outgoing, and the different stages that they are in.
Now that the WHYs of Office Automation are clear, the next logical question would be,
What can be done with all the data that you have accumulated over a period?
You could do a trend analysis, understand the bottlenecks of your business, and improve your assignments and efficiency. This is where the role of BIG DATA comes into action.
Your HR department could automate their processes, analyze the trends, and apply this data-driven approach to the unpredictable business of human interactions.
With all the above said how are you going to implement office automation and what are the essential workflow features that you should look out for when you select your business process management software?
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I have listed here below some of the core features that you must have in your automation software –
- The flexibility of workflow design that suits your office operations
- Access privileges to different users along with the workflow operations
- Switch-to-Cloud should be the motto. You should be able to access and approve workflows on the go, anywhere, anytime
- Your newly adopted workflow automation software should have the ability to integrate with your already existing office solutions so that you have access via one application
- Re-assigning users/approvers is a feature that you must look out for in your software, or else the workflow will be stuck midway in certain unavoidable situations
- Reports to understand your business performance better
- A graphical representation of accumulated data to visually catch both the positives & bottlenecks of your business
- Look out for software that has pre-filled forms as “Workflow is all about time and improving productivity”
Is there any other feature you would look for in automation software?
Feel free to share in the comments section below.
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