Basic Guide on Workflow Automation and the Best Tool to Use
Workflow automation is the planning and execution of procedures and processes of an organization, programmed to follow a business model carried out using workflow software. Workflow software tools are a fairly recent innovation, but it has attained a considerable degree of popularity, and rightly so.
Workflow Automation vs. Manual Workflow Process
As earlier noted, workflows were predominantly manual, but the status quo is rapidly changing. This is because of how a manual workflow stack against an automated one, as analyzed as follows.
Accuracy: As could be reasonably envisaged, manual workflow comes with the risk of human error. It usually involves several persons and steps in the development process, with each person carrying the risk of error or misplacement of data given the involvement of printed materials. Workflow software, on the other hand, bear a lesser risk of errors. Most errors would stem from points of human input and are easy to detect and edit in the system.
Expenses: Automated workflows are usually done with SaaS tools and software, most of which users have to access by the payment of a token. However, it is still noteworthy that the overall cost price is considerably cheaper than manual workflows. This is because automated workflows eliminate the paper, printing, and middleman costs in the preparation of a workflow. Moreover, manual workflows may be developed severally before a final copy is settled upon. This means the costs of a manual workflow are not one-off, so they are invariably more expensive.
Time: Workflow development is normally not an easy and straightforward process. It tends to involve several processes in its development. Also, it has to make stops at several tables, each with its own delays. The process may also be repeated several times in situations where mistakes are discovered. This makes it very slow and strenuous. Automated workflows, however, ensure everything is done at once in a single application. Collaborations are also possible, so every authorized person gets to access the workflow and make changes as and when due.
Tracking and Designing: App integration software make it easy to track the progress of a workflow, and determine which person has done his part of the job at any time, and from any location. In addition, built-in illustrators and plugin compatibility allow users to easily design and illustrate their workflows as necessary. Manual workflows mean manual progress tracking and more stressful designing.
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How to Get Your Workflow Ready to Automate
1. Identification: This is the very first stage of workflow automation. The very concept of workflows suggests having different ones for different persons. This stage involves identifying to who the workflow is assigned, for what reasons were the automation introduced (to save time, money, boost productivity, etc), and what tasks should be automated in the workflow. These tasks are usually repetitive, time-intensive, error-prone, and systematic tasks. Other tasks that do not fit the description could also be automated, but it is more common for tasks that share that description. With all that, the workflow has the right foundation to achieve what it was meant for.
2. Education: This involves carrying employees and colleagues along in the automation process. If they are to optimally make use of the app integration software, they should be acquainted with the objectives behind the workflow, as well as how they are expected to use it.
3. Testing Stage: This is the stage that immediately predates the launch. It involves launching a model workflow to fish out loopholes and omissions in the original settings of the workflow. It also gauges the readiness of employees to utilize the app integration tool optimally, as well as their familiarity with the software. The data here allows modifications to be made, as well as more employee education.
4. Launch: This is the main event itself, where the automated workflow goes live. This stage comes by having certified that the workflow has been optimally designed, and the employees are ready to use the tools as meant.
5. KPI Tracking: This is the post-launch stage where Key Performance Indexes are set for each employee, team, and the company as a whole. They are micro and macro goals that individuals are expected to meet at the end of a particular time period. This allows the company to see the impact of the workflow automation tool, and determine how to optimize it further.
Best Tool to Use
In spite of all the aforementioned, it makes little difference if one attempts workflow automation with a substandard tool. The quality and features of the software will make an astronomical difference in results. However, with the development of superior tools like ZapUp, users seeking to automate their workflows need not worry. ZapUp allows designs of workflows with simple drag-and-drop approaches rather than complex coding. Its interface is designed in a way that enables users to manage all activities in a single log instantly, while receiving real-time updates. Moreover, users also have the choice to integrate in-built software like Botpath and BPMApp which help automate business processes even further. It goes further to enable integrations with over 200+ third-party applications. This makes ZapUp the best workflow automation tool on the market by far. All these features are made available by 500apps for an affordable price of $14.99, along with access to over 37 other apps every business would want to have in its arsenal.
Statistics by Comidor.com via Adlittle.com show that automated workflow processes have been proven to increase by up to 30%. A boost in productivity for any company by such a margin is sure to work wonders. By taking affirmative steps such as making a conscious decision to automate workflows and getting a premium tool like ZapUp, companies will take business and productivity to new levels.