Guide to Automating Processes - Role of Workflow Automation
Workflow automation software and tools have been designed to standardize how works get done and provide clear accountability at every work process.
According to research conducted by PwC, “automation is expected to reach up to an estimated 30% of all jobs by the year 2030”. This analysis shows that although not all work processes would eventually be automated, a voluminous percentage of 30% Would be in 9 years. Manual processes and workflows have characterized the day-to-day activities of all organizations over time. These processes are now being substituted with workflow automation tools.
Workflow automation uses software and tools to design, execute, and automate processes based on workflow rules where individual tasks, data, and files are routed between people or systems & with this they are a lot of benefits. There are numerous ways and techniques to automate work processes, just as there are several work processes and activities to be automated. With workflow automation, collaboration, coordination of tasks, productivity, knowledge, and learning approaches can be automated, and these are the stages where the "Role of workplace automation" is significantly felt.
Role and Impact of Workflow Automation in Any Business
According to this tweet by Breakout, “Automation of invoice approval workflow can bring in more transparency, reduce errors and lower processing costs considerably.” This cannot overemphasize the role and impact of workflow automation in the organization, some of these roles include;
With "Business Workflow Software", the quality of work done increases while the time expended reduces. The time to be spent moving files from one table to another in an organization and getting them acted upon is eliminated. Once you incorporate the workflow automation tools, as soon as you're done with your part of the job, you automatically click a command prompt that sends it to the following personnel. For example, in preparing a purchase order by the procurement department using a manual workflow, the employee creates a purchase order and sends it to the supervising manager for review and correction, then sends it to the finance department for another review and approval before being sent to the vendor. For some organizations, the purchase order goes through more processes, wasting time and causing unnecessary delay.
However, with "Workflow automation software", these processes have been automated. The purchasing orders are reviewed in real-time and sent out to the vendors without wasting time or lying around for approval.
Accountability is essential in keeping every organization running smoothly. It is when employees know what to do next and when to get it done. Without responsibility, everyone keeps doing whatever they feel like with no system to check them and put them to order.
Workflow automation tools have been designed to assign tasks to every employee or unit and schedule the estimated time for each job. This way, everyone has their work spelt out with durations, and as soon as you are done, you get assigned other tasks.
Also, accountability has to do with records keeping and financial activities. There is a need to monitor cash inflow and expenses. With business workflow software, especially in financial organizations, employees have all their activities automated.
For example, in banks, once a customer deposits a certain amount, the bank worker inputs it into the database and forwards it to the manager to update the customer's account, this way, whenever anything goes wrong in the individual's account during the deposit process, you will be held accountable.
3. Fewer Errors and Mistakes
Intentional and unintentional errors characterize manual workflows. An employee may enter the wrong data or information, send a form or file to the wrong recipient, or even forget to get work done before its due date. These types of errors put your organization in a bad state. They sometimes cause irreparable damage and a considerable loss.
With workflow automation software, most of these errors are eliminated, mistakes are detected and rectified, and there is little or no room for intentional ones. While it's impossible to stop the mistakes, workflow automation tools have reduced it to the barest minimum.
For example, when preparing an invoice, the seller prepares it and sends it to the buyer for payment regarding goods and services purchased. As a result of omission or commission, the employee might send a wrong or miscalculated invoice. The amount paid might be lesser than what should be delivered; this would affect the account of the business in the long run. You tend to run at a loss. But with an automated business workflow software, from the purchase of goods, the software is already recording it, and at the end, you either print out the invoice or send it to the buyer, and payment is made without error.
Also, some employees increase the total amount of goods purchased and put an inflated figure on the invoice for an unsuspecting buyer; this would eventually be noticed and might pose significant damage to the business.
4. Unified and Personalized Work Process
Workflow automation tools have already been designed to break down work processes and tasks assigned to each individual or department. This way, you already know what to do when you receive a file, thereby making you an expert. The processes are also unified; all works are done using the same software.
When you keep doing the same thing repeatedly, you get used to it and are satisfied. According to Peter Keung, he said: “workflow app leads to an increase in job satisfaction".
For example, in the aviation industry, those who are in charge of issuing tickets already know the way to go about it; the software has been programmed, they need to input passengers' details and verify the data and send it to the database. Same as those who check in passengers when it's time to board, theirs is to print the boarding pass and cross-check the data. These employees can personalize the process so that counter A would only input your first name and print out the boarding pass. In contrast, counter B would request your fingerprint to print out your boarding pass, and both counters A and B would present to you a unified boarding pass.
5. Customer Satisfaction
For every business organization, there is a target audience purchasing your goods and engaging your services. Business workflow automation does not directly affect the customers, but in the long run, they feel the impact as well.
Everyone wants the value for their money; once that is compromised, you stop the patronage. For organizations that have adopted workflow automation software, their customers enjoy improved output and services. The issue of error or mix-up is eliminated; you get what you ordered.
Also, your business partners are impressed with the excellent work done in real-time. Everyone is satisfied.
There are several workplace automation software and tools to be incorporated into a workplace. For the sake of this article, we have carried out thorough research and have been able to come up with the best business workflow software and tools.
Best Workplace Automation Software in 2022
ZapUp is a workflow automation tool that enables you to eliminate redundant tasks and merge two or multiple applications. ZapUp enables you to integrate your favourite applications, assign tasks, and monitor workflow on a single platform. It is the best workflow automation software as it is easy to use and allows synchronization with over 35 applications. With $14.99, you have access to over 35 apps and can integrate them all into your workflow to improve productivity.
Mio is a workflow automation software used in connecting Microsoft teams and slack. It allows you to create automated workflows, and chat with your colleagues and business partners using Microsoft teams, slack, and WebEx. It also provides for cross-team or inter-team collaboration using different applications, thereby bringing you together on the same platform; that platform is Mio.
With Mio, you can send direct messages across different applications, assign roles and take permissions, and approve and disapprove requests. Its most competitive advantage is that it enables you to sync chat applications. With $5 per month, you can have access to Mio. It also has a free trial plan.
Automate.io is a workplace automation tool that allows you to integrate over 200 cloud applications and set up automated workflows. With automate.io, you can create your computerized workflows, test them and assign it to various individuals. These automated workflows are called bots. These bots are assigned the tasks and serve as the command prompt. Once you program them, they do exactly what they are designed to do.
Automate.io is easy to use and has a friendly interface. It allows you to build your workflow and assign it to others across other applications. It has a free plan, but you can only build a single action bot (workflow). However, with a $9.99 monthly subscription, you have access to premium action bots.
Catalytic is an open-ended workflow automation software that allows rule-based workflows. With catalytic, you can build workflows that enable you to organize data and synchronize your working applications on a single platform.
Catalytic software provides data security, workflow monitoring, text analysis, browser automation, and predictive models. It also helps to build robust and dynamic automation workflows, and process high-volume emails and notifications without coding. Catalytic is not budget-friendly; its monthly subscription goes for $1,500 per month, but you are eligible for a 30-days free trial.
5. Power Automate
Power automate is now regarded as Microsoft flow. It is a cloud-based software used to create automated workflows. It's developed by Microsoft and works with Microsoft Office 365 package.
Power automate is a business workflow software that allows you to build your automated workplace using artificial intelligence and smart recommendations. Albeit, You need a little knowledge of coding to develop the workflows to your satisfaction. With $15 per month, you can build limited cloud flows. To have access to unlimited cloud-based workflows, you need to subscribe to a plan of $100 per month.
Checklist for Buying a Workflow Software
It is essential to know that there are countless "App integration software and tools" available; they all have their peculiarities and specifications, which should be considered when automating your organization's work process. The following conditions should be considered irrespective of your organization's structure, size or activities.
1. The User Interface
The workflow software or tools must have an easy-to-use and easy-to-understand user interface. If you are new to automation and just trying to change from the manual process, you should incorporate easy-to-use software. You can then graduate to more sophisticated ones as time goes on.
It would be best to consider your team members, employees, and partners; you can run a free trial to ensure they will find your preferred software easy to use.
Every organization should be conscious of their spending with respect to their income. There are workflow automation tools that are very expensive to subscribe to and maintain. You should stay clear of these kinds of software and go for the ones with lesser subscription fees. ZapUp is relatively cheap and can do basically what the expensive tools are doing. You should not run at a loss just because you want to get business workflow software.
3. App Integration
One of the advantages of workflow automation over manual work processes is that this software allows you to integrate several applications and communicate with users across platforms. If your software automation tool does not combine with your choice of applications, do not subscribe to them. The purpose of automation is to synchronize your tasks across platforms and make them accessible on your preferred software, so do not go for tools that do not support your choice of applications or business needs.
App integration software and tools have been designed to standardize how work gets done and provide clear accountability in every work process. Workflow automation tools are designed to increase efficiency and reduce the time spent on manual work processes.
Every work process can be automated, but that doesn't eliminate the need for human resources in supervising these activities; they both work hand in hand. There is numerous software that can be adopted in work processes, and in order not to waste resources or complicate business activities for your employees, software such as Zapup developed by 500apps should be integrated.