While you might use the terms “workflow” and “process” synonymously, they have one fundamental difference. Processes are strategic and outcome-focused, whereas workflows are tactical and task-based.
Process transformation plays a pivotal part in any digital transformation. After all, it isn’t easy to improve and transform your business without first changing your processes.
But to bring these process changes to life and better prepare for digital transformation, you must lean on quick and cost-efficient automation. The prime place to implement this automation is with repeatable business workflows.
What is workflow automation?
A staggering 94 percent of workers regularly perform repetitive tasks in their job roles. While they may be easy to complete, these tasks are of little strategic value and can take up a big portion of a person’s working hours.
Workflow automation not only speeds up these activities, but can feed time back to your employees. For example, consider the process of onboarding a new employee.
This workflow would involve following a set of steps, such as completing the correct paperwork, creating user business accounts and an email address, and setting a start date. In an automated workflow, you delegate the completion of some or all of these steps from a human to a software program. This is accomplished by defining and feeding the software a set of rules and logic for each task.
By relieving your HR department of these tasks, you can save them hours of manually setting up payroll and user accounts. Instead, they can focus on more strategic efforts, such as running wellbeing workshops or improving employer branding.
Of course, workflow automation can impact all functions within your business. For example, your IT department can use containerization to automatically spin up new IT instances without the need for manual intervention. Again, this frees up your IT teams to focus on more strategic transformations.
4 standout benefits of workflow automation
Nine out of ten knowledge workers claim automation improves people’s working lives.
When it comes to workflow automation specifically, delegating repetitive tasks to software programs can have far-reaching benefits across your organization, including:
- Maximizing productivity. Repetitive workflows, while important, can be distracting and time-consuming. Automating these tasks allows your employees to dedicate more time to their complex tasks, in turn boosting productivity. An added benefit of this is stress reduction. Indeed, 65 percent of workers experience less stress when they can automate manual tasks. This can have wide-reaching benefits, as less stressed employees will make fewer mistakes and remain engaged with your strategic goals.
- Increasing your competitiveness. By saving time and effort, as well as maximizing your productivity, your enterprise becomes more agile. This enables you to focus on more innovative and strategic processes, rather than low-value tasks, which can help you maintain an edge over your enterprise rivals.
- Reducing errors and boosting data quality. Activities such as data entry can be prone to error — a few mistypes, and your Excel spreadsheet will contain inaccuracies that may skew your business intelligence efforts down the line. Software programs can reduce this risk as they translate information accurately.
- Streamlining approval processes. When you’re reliant on people to complete workflows, such as approving sick leave and managing customer complaints, you must factor in delays. The workers responsible may have other tasks to prioritize, or the request may come through while they’re out of the office. With an automated approach, you can complete these tasks at any hour of the day. For global enterprises, this means you’re less constrained by time zones — you can deliver a consistent, standout service to your customers without having to work out-of-hours.
Working hand-in-hand with your digital transformation
At its heart, digital transformation requires embracing new technologies in order to increase agility, resilience, and productivity. Automation is a fundamental building block of this. In other words: it isn’t easy to implement digital transformation without automation.
By fully or partially automating your workflows, you can boost productivity, streamline processes, and reduce human error. What’s more, you’ll be better equipped to navigate your digital transformation.
If you’d like help implementing automation in your business, please reach out to the Success Software Services team.