Implementing workflow automation can be a great way for businesses to improve their productivity and efficiency, and more and more organizations have adopted automation throughout 2020 and 2021.
After all, proper implementation of workflow automation can help organizations automate the coordination of tasks, collaboration, repetitive tasks, and so on, which can be very beneficial for the organization.
According to a pretty recent study by PwC, however, 30% of all jobs are expected to be fully automated by the year 2030, meaning, if you are not implementing automation at the moment, you’re going to be late to the party.
There are numerous ways and methods we can use to automate workflows, just like there are numerous workflows that can be automated. However, just because automation is beneficial doesn’t mean the actual implementation is easy.
With that being said, in this guide, we will discuss all you need to know about implementing workflow automation.
Let us begin right away.
What Is Workflow Automation
A workflow is a set of tasks or actions, typically sequential, that will achieve a specific objective when completed.
On the other hand, workflow automation refers to how we use technology solutions to automate a specific workflow.
There are three main reasons why we automate workflows:
Freeing up human workers’ valuable time so they can use the time to perform other tasks
Technology solutions and bots can execute tasks at a much faster rate than any human worker
Automation minimizes the risks of human errors since the workflow will be executed in the same way every time.
Virtually all workflows can be automated, provided you have access to the right technology solutions (both hardware and software.)
However, not all sorts of automation are feasible in terms of resources (money) and time. Meaning if a workflow is too expensive to automate as opposed to the potential revenue and profits generated from this workflow, then automation might not be worth it.
Why You Should Automate Workflows
Proper implementation of workflow automation can offer the following benefits:
When a workflow is properly automate, the organization will know exactly how and when a workflow is going to be complete.
Everyone involved in the workflow will also know exactly what they need to do to help complete the workflow (if any) and what they should do next once the workflow has been complete.
Automated workflows will also mean accurate reporting and documentation, so businesses can accurately monitor expenses and revenue related to the workflow.
When a workflow is properly automate, it should translate into achieving the same (or better) results while reducing the time and resources expended. Automation can help improve your organization’s overall efficiency and productivity in the long run.
Even the best, most efficient human workers will always be prone to human errors: an employee inputting the wrong data, forgetting to execute a task before its deadline, and so on.
An ideal implementation of workflow automation should eliminate the possibility of these errors, and even when mistakes do happen, they can be detect and fixed quickly.
When workflows are automate (especially customer-facing workflows), customers can ultimately enjoy improved services from the organization: faster delivery, fewer errors, more consistent output, and so on.
Implementing Workflow Automation: Best Practises
While workflow automation is certainly beneficial, it’s still important to do it right, or it may end up being counterproductive.
Important best practices to follow in implementing workflow automation:
Only Automate Optimal Workflows
It’s crucial to understand that you should only automate workflows that are already optimal, already as efficient as possible.
If a workflow is inefficient, automation would only amplify its inefficiencies, and it may end up hurting your organization’s overall productivity.
Optimization should begin with workflow mapping to help you keep track of your workflows and monitor their performance.
This way, you can identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks in the workflow and optimize them as soon as possible.
Suppose you are using a comprehensive workflow automation software like Aproove. In that case, you can do everything from start to finish in a single solution, from mapping your workflow as a workflow diagram, performing analysis, optimizing the workflow, and finally implementing automation.
Involve Records Management As a Part of Your Workflow Mapping
Automation can indeed save time, but protocols surrounding the workflow tend to change all the time. For instance, regulations surrounding sensitive information may change in your industry, requiring you to adjust your workflow.
It’s best to design and automate your workflow with this fact in mind by ensuring appropriate structuring and records management. This way, you can easily update the workflow with new reporting requirements quickly when needed.
Proper structuring will also translate into easier automation and reduce the potential for errors.
Consider Cloud Security in Workflow Automation
Many workflow management and automation solutions nowadays are cloud-based. While the cloud can provide many benefits, like allowing you to access the solution from anywhere and any device, it can come with its issues, especially security issues.
Pay extra attention to the security and integrity of information. You might want to consider alternative forms of backup so you can ensure your data is still accessible even in the event of emergencies.
Plan for Failures and Bottlenecks When Designing Your Workflow
One of the key aspects of successful workflow management (and automation) is always to plan when things go wrong.
Anticipate potential delays, bottlenecks, and failures in your workflow, and always have contingency plans for each. No workflow and no workflow management solution will work exactly as you plan. That’s the reality.
This is why it’s important always to have alternative plans built into the design. So you don’t have to start from scratch every time an issue comes up.
Workflow automation can be highly beneficial for businesses and organizations, big and small.
When automation is implement correctly, it can reduce the time and effort spent on tasks and workflows, freeing your employees’ valuable time and allowing them to work.
On more crucial tasks that align better with their core competencies. Automation will also reduce the risks of human errors and improve overall efficiency.
By following the best practices of workflow automation we’ve shared above, you can start automating your workflow and achieve success.