The Beginner’s Guide to Workflow Automation
It seems everyone is talking about perfecting their morning routine. ‘Experts’ try to suggest a guaranteed sequence of tasks that will result in amazing gains in productivity if you do them right.
Whether or not this helps you optimize your mornings is up for debate, but sequencing tasks to drive efficiency is the heart of what workflow automation is. In addition to personal growth, your organization also needs properly sequenced workflows that can improve productivity and efficiency.
When you add automation, it takes you from a simple cup of coffee to an all-out bullet-proof-kale-smoothie-vitamin-booster-supercharged shot to start your day.
If you’ve never considered workflow automation before, here’s an easy guide to get you started.
What is Workflow Automation?
Workflow automation takes a sequence of tasks and identifies elements that can be assigned to a system rather than a human. Its goal is to reduce manual effort and replace it with rule-based logic. Workflow automation takes care of collecting data, routing requests, data transfers, and sending notifications to reduce errors and increase efficiency.
What Are Some Examples of Workflow Automation?
Workflow automation finds extensive use across industries. Here are some examples.
Lead generation and management
Prospective customers go through various stages, from awareness to action. In order to convert them, marketing and sales teams need to stay in step with qualified leads as they progress through the AIDA (awareness, interest, desire, action) funnel.
The lead generation workflow often involves pulling data from several data sources and acting on it with emails, phone calls, and offering specialized content. Many steps such as data collection and email sequencing can be automated and made more efficient.
Using workflow automation can enable teams to keep track of every detail, without suffering dropped leads. It also helps them coordinate seamlessly and improve the effectiveness of their lead nurturing initiatives.
Onboarding new employees is a significant responsibility for human resources teams everywhere. It is critical not only to provide all the information and assistance a new employee requires but also ensure that the experience remains consistent.
The process of employee onboarding requires attention to detail in aspects such as extending offer letters, getting requisite forms completed, taking employees through organizational culture and practices, helping them settle into the workplace, and so on.
In workflow automation, rather than the HR staff being responsible for hand-holding the new employee from one department to the next, the system can guide the new hire along the path and make sure they don’t have to constantly fill out the same information on multiple forms.
Invoice processing is an exercise that is largely left to the accounts department and their manual efforts. However, this is also a process that can benefit from workflow automation.
From receipt of invoices to matching, routing, approvals, payments, reconciliation, and reporting, the process becomes more accurate and transparent with the use of workflow automation.
What Features Should a Good Workflow Management Software Have?
Here’s what you should look for in a good workflow management system.
Intuitive workflow designer
The best workflow designer is simple and easy to use across departments. If designing the workflow requires coding know-how, it will benefit only programmers. A good workflow management system will let you think in simple, linear terms while taking care of the complicated parts in the background.
Further, if a process requires parallel branches to handle tasks happening simultaneously, the software should be able to handle the added complexity.
Intuitive form designers are a must-have feature in any workflow automation software. Drag-and-drop capabilities, ample fields, text, numbers, maps, calculations, and drop-down lists are all critical in form designers.
Irrespective of your unique requirements in a form, the form builder should be capable of handling it without expert guidance. In other words, it should be very accessible to a layperson.
Your workflow management software must be able to integrate with other applications that are currently used in your organization.
If easy integration is not a capability, it causes unnecessary complexities and ends up increasing process time rather than optimizing it.
For workflow automation to truly shine, it is imperative that the software exists on the cloud. From centralized data to minimal downtime and on-the-go access, cloud-based technology brings benefits that are important for organizations that wish to move with the times.
Role-based access control
An often-asked question is “what about data security?” Workflow management systems, like Kissflow, provide the ability to define role-based access, which ensures that confidential data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Information is accessed on a need-to-know basis only.
Bird’s eye view
An organization that utilizes workflow automation tools will often have multiple processes running at once. The right software will provide a comprehensive dashboard that can inform you of the status of various processes in a glance.
Analytics and reporting
Merely executing workflows can only take you so far. You need real-time information about bottlenecks and errors so you can fix them on the go. You also require reports that will tell you if you need to add or remove tasks to improve the efficiency of the process.
Given how advanced customer expectations are today, it makes great business sense to invest in good workflow automation tools.
Try Out Workflow Automation With the Easiest Tool on the Market
If workflow automation is a new concept for you, don’t try using a complicated tool that involves lots of coding. But also don’t settle for something that you will grow out of quickly because it is too simple.
Start with Kissflow and map out your workflows in a fun way with its easy-to-use interface, robust data security, and powerful reporting capabilities.
Sign up for a free trial with Kissflow Workflow today.