The Complete Guide to Workflow Automation

Every process has a workflow to complete it. However, many workflows are filled with manual tasks that are time-consuming, error-prone, and expensive. It’s like adding a bunch of rocks to your row of dominos. Workflow automation removes the rocks and provides a superior kinetic force that is swift, accurate, and relatively inexpensive.

What is workflow automation?

Workflow automation is defining a series of tasks to complete a process, and then removing all the manual steps. It’s like watching dominos fall in a cleverly orchestrated, harmonious pattern.

How does workflow automation help you?

From admin to finance, and IT to marketing, workflow automation can liberate all departments from the burden of manual processes. Here’s how every department in your company can benefit from a workflow automation software:

Human resources

  • Drastically reduce paperwork
  • Source, verify, and recruit candidates faster with automated approval
  • Ensure compliance on all processes
  • Improve workflow visibility
  • Provide swifter onboarding/offboarding experience

Finance

  • Simplify document management
  • Save time on approval processing
  • Schedule auto-payments for recurring invoices
  • Create a smart payroll management system
  • Integrate data with other accounting software

Marketing

  • Delegate repetitive, menial tasks to the system
  • Collaborate on workflows with teammates in multiple locations
  • Ensure all content gets approved by the right eyes
  • Establish a consistent process to nurture and follow up with quality leads
  • Autopilot multiple campaigns and monitor them from a unified dashboard

Sales

  • Simplify list building by standardizing the process
  • Make sure all leads get the same red carpet treatment
  • Never let a lead slip through the cracks due to error
  • Get insightful report and analysis on ongoing processes
  • Send contextual welcome, thank you, or promotional emails

IT

  • Assign tickets and escalations to available team members
  • Avoid duplicate support requests
  • Confirm scheduled updates with stakeholders
  • Get a handle on Shadow IT
  • Manage assets and track usage trends

Trying to solve your hassles with workflow Automation?

Statistics on workflow automation

Statistics give lots of insights on how different industries are reaping benefits from workflow automation. Here are some numbers:

  1. Process and marketing automation yields a 417% increase in revenue.
    - Annuitas Group
  2. Cisco Systems automated their CRM process and eliminated 75,000 customer calls/month and saved over $270 million annually in operating expenses.
    - Business Process Management Journal
  3. Businesses anticipate workflow automation in three areas: managing cost-efficiency, improving time-to-market, and optimizing customer self-service.
    - Capgemini research

What to look for in a workflow automation software

You’ll find lots of options in the workflow automation software market. Some can be applied in any organization while others serve niche needs.
No matter what your situation, you want workflow automation software that is fast, flexible, and meets your needs. Here’s a quick checklist to identify the must-haves in a workflow automation software:

Simplicity

Automation is meant to make things simpler, so the product itself should be easy to use. Check for a friendly UI, no-code solutions, and drag-and-drop designers.

Cloud operability

Cloud-based workflow automation tools are usually easier to maintain and run than on-premise versions. They also offer easy accessibility, reliable security, and data scalability.

Cross-system integration

Most cloud-based software come with interoperability with other cloud apps. Check your workflow automation software for API compatibility and tools like Zapier.

Customizable features

Your business is unique and so are your processes. Make sure the workflow automation software can handle complex cases like conditional steps and multiple branches.

Reports and analytics

You can’t improve a process without reviewing it. The best workflow automation software tools offer in-built reporting to examine lags, monitor tasks, and make improvements.

Mobile capabilities

Workflow automation software in today’s world has to work from any location and any device. From notifications to approvals, make sure the tool works for people on the go.

Sensible pricing

Many vendors charge tens of thousands of dollars for installing a workflow automation software - not including implementation and consulting. SaaS pricing is upfront and predictable.

How to automate processes

A workflow automation process begins with a clear objective and ends at process evaluation. Here are 5 steps involved in carrying out a workflow automation plan

  1. Identify a repetitive process

  2. Zero in on a process that could benefit from automation. Ask questions such as ‘Is it matured enough to be automated?’ or ‘Does the team approve of, or insist on automation?’.

  3. Define goals

  4. The benefits of automation can be varied - increased ROI, faster time-to-market, increased team productivity. Clearly articulate your team’s expectations from automation.

  5. Train the team

  6. The success of workflow automation depends on the willingness of its stakeholders. Communicate its benefits to the process owners and encourage their feedback.

  7. Design the workflow

  8. Build the process in the workflow management tool. Create a form, define the workflow, and assign permissions and rules for each step and stakeholder.

  9. Measure KPIs and ROI

  10. The purpose of automation is not fully achieved until your business compares the difference it has made to the pre-existing processes, measured through reports and data analytics.

The right-fit workflow automation software

Kissflow Process is a workflow automation software that fits all processes that need rule-based workflows. It has a simple intuitive interface that lets anyone build and automate their workflows easily. You can customize your process according to your needs and run seamless workflows. Take a trial and see it for yourself.

☛ Learn More About 7 Benefits of Workflow Management Systems to Free You From Chaos