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Workflow Automation
Workflow Automation

Recent years have shown how customer expectation has changed drastically, especially with the digital transformation taking over businesses' technology, data, process, and organizational space.

Consumers are beginning to get used to the idea of speedy customer service irrespective of which industry you belong to. Artificial intelligence tools are no doubt a major contributing factor to this rising expectation.

Moreover, customers have stopped worrying about whether a company is an emerging business, a startup, or a conglomerate that has been around for decades -- The expectation remains the same. A majority of businesses are able to keep up with the times and deliver because they have the appropriate workflow automation software to meet customer demands.

What is Workflow Automation?

Simply speaking, workflow automation involves designing, streamlining, executing, and finally automating multiple business-related tasks. This way, a sequence of tasks can be routed between employees, different technologies, and data based on predetermined business rules. These tasks can either be manual tasks, the routing of various data and/or files.

Elements to Consider Before Moving to Automation Workflow

Step by step automation workflows requires research and planning. Before switching to using workflow automation software, businesses must ensure that they’ve fully considered, understood, and worked through the following 5 steps:

Step #1: Figure Out What Your Repetitive Tasks Are

Identifying all the tasks/processes that would benefit from using automation is the first step to setting up your workflow automation software. Let’s look at the ways in which you can achieve this:

  1. You can start by figuring out whether a task is mature enough for it to be automated.
  2. You could also ask your team members and other employees whether they think a particular task you’ve shortlisted needs to be automated or not.
  3. If you’re a business that has a whole gamut of tasks waiting to be sorted, create a road map where you set out to list all the business processes that exist. This way, you don’t end up automating non-essential tasks and making things worse for employees. This happens when you create several automated processes where employees need to perform multiple manual processes at several touchpoints in order for the automation workflow to work smoothly.
  4. Once you create a roadmap for all your business processes, you can easily find all the bottlenecks and redundant tasks. Not only will this process lead you to all the tasks that need to be automated (and benefit from automation) but it will also show you which of them will give you the highest ROI (Return on Investment).
  5. If your tasks contain vague instructions, have a complex framework, or have gaps in communication, you risk creating inefficient automated processes. In such cases, you’ll have to work on redesigning the entire workflow first.

Step #2: Define Your Business Goals

The next step in setting up workflow automation involves defining everything you and your team expect from automation. There are several goals businesses can achieve by automating their tasks including increasing the ROI (Return on Investment), a swifter time-to-market (the conception of a product until it’s released in the market), and improved productivity within and between teams.

The ideal way to start would be to figure out what it is that workflow automation can specifically do for your business. Most companies arrive at a conclusion that is customer-centric in nature. This would include introducing automation to improve customer experience, customer support, building brand loyalty by providing swift, valuable services, and so forth.

While defining your goal you can also look at whether automation can give your team of developers a platform to improve and work on their creativity since repetitive tasks would be taken over by automation workflow software.

Step #3: Picking the Right Workflow Automation Tool

Now that you’ve identified which of your business’s processes you need to automate, what your goal should be for these specific tasks, your next step involves choosing a workflow automation software that works to your advantage.

Although it’s true that there are plenty of options to choose from, companies must consider facts such as what a software’s target market is, whether its features only serve a general-purpose or if they’re custom-fit for your business.

If you end up with the wrong kind of workflow automation tool, you could hurt your business, your company’s mission, and your customers in the process.

So, what you can do (to make the right choice) is to compare various automation workflow platforms, look at what each of them has to offer, and zero in on what suits your business needs.

Step #4: Train Your Team Members/Employees

This is crucial in establishing your automation workflow since it involves the users who will eventually manage the workflow automation. You will also have to inform and educate your company’s stakeholders, decision-makers, and process owners about how automation can improve the organization in different ways.

In the process of training your team members and employees, you must ensure that the path of transition is easily understood. The training itself should be adequate enough for employees to be able to follow through instructions and carry out tasks without hindering the progress of business processes.

Step #5: Measure Your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and Better Your Workflow

The final step involves making sure that your workflow automation software is doing its job. This includes measuring your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), your ROI (Return on Investment), and receiving feedback from your team members and employees using the software.

Measuring the aforementioned indicators will allow companies to differentiate between pre-existing processes and determine how well it’s working with the help of reports and data analytic tools.

Conclusion

We’ve gone over the basic idea of a workflow automation tool, how it can be used, and the steps you need before you decide to invest in one. As mentioned earlier, the most crucial of the steps involves deciding on an automation tool that is ideal for your business. Make sure you pick one where you get to automate every manual and repetitive task your business process is involved in, in a seamless, hassle-free, and efficient manner.

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