A Guide to Workflow Automation Software: Everything You Need to Know

What is workflow automation? Learn the indepth guide.

/workflow-automation-software

Every process in an organization has a workflow that needs to be followed to get it complete. And when you look into each workflow, you will inevitably find certain areas where you can do better, speed up tasks and get it done more efficiently if you remove the human element. That is where workflow automation software finds its relevance.

According to a recent report published by McKinsey, almost 45% of paid activities in a business can be automated by the technology available today. It equates to around $2 trillion in terms of the total annual wages. The IDC says that organizations lose almost 20% to 30% of their revenue every year because of inefficient processes.

This means that a good margin of the processes being handled by the workforce in an organization can be delegated to technology and improved in performance. A lot of companies still rely on workflows filled with manual tasks. This essentially increases the window for errors and wastage of time and takes away from a worker’s energy to concentrate on more important activities.

Adopting workflow automation software can make a huge difference in this respect.

A number of companies have reported significant digital transformation after having adopted relevant workflow automation software. According to a survey, almost 91% of companies reported an increased capacity to handle more volume of work and 85% of them were able to find new sources of revenue.

That is how powerful workflow automation is.

Here is everything you need to know about the concept.

What is workflow automation?

Simply put, workflow automation is basically defining a series of tasks to complete a process within an organization, determining the tasks that are repetitive and that which do not require any specific human skills, removing those steps and placing automation software to carry out those steps.

This can be adopted in any department within an organization and can be customized according to each business model.

What is workflow automation

There are a number of companies specialized in workflow automation software that can offer you an array of options to liberate your company from the burden of mundane and time consuming tasks. This technology can not only speed up your processes but can also improve the efficiency of your entire team by removing redundant tasks and allowing workers to concentrate on important tasks.

"There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all" – Peter Drucker

In order to make the most of workflow automation, you also need an app integration tool. It will further enhance the effect of automation by improving collaborative efforts. It will pull the entire process together and make it flexible enough for cross application interactions.

Importance of integrating multiple applications into the workflow

In any workflow, you may have a number of workers using different applications to perform different tasks. In order to complete the process though, you may need to combine the efforts of each of these employees and drive them towards the final result.

For this, you will need to find common ground among your team members to pass on the workflow and continue with the tasks. But it may be a difficult feat to achieve considering that data is generated and processed in different ways at each step as the employees are using different applications.

This is where an app integration tool can help. It helps combine efforts in the most efficient way across various applications. It syncs data between two applications and passes information on promptly for each step of the workflow. This ensures that the process is complete and up to date at each step, making it easier for the next person in the workflow to follow up effectively.

Zapup is one such efficient app integration tool that can help you extract the most out of your workflow automation software. It comes with an array of applications to integrate within the workflow and helps you collaborate in the most efficient way.

Types of workflow automation

A company can adopt different types of workflow automation software for its different departments like IT, sales, finance etc. according to the industry. There may be a number of time consuming manual tasks in each of these departments that can be easily automated to enhance efficiency.

For example, in finance, there are a lot of tasks that need incredible attention to detail and high level knowledge. To reduce stress, things like employee expense reimbursement and payments can be automated with information from existing employee databases, and can be set up for automatic calculation of deductions, net payments and the like.

Another example would be in the sales department, where you need to nurture and pursue leads. You can integrate your website into your workflow and set up opt-in forms with lead magnets for new visitors to sign up. Once a prospect signs up with your opt-in form you can set up automation to add the prospect to your leads list and have the sales team as well as the customer relations team promptly follow up with the lead.

These kinds of workflow automations perform best with an app integration tool, like Flow.ly. For example, in your sales automation workflow, Flow.ly can help you integrate and sync data between your website, your email marketing platform, your sales leads database and even your social media management system.

That is how efficient an app integration tool can make your workflow automation. For each industry there can be different relevant departments and workflow automation can help you revolutionize your performance in different ways. Read this to see how automation is impacting the transport and logistics industry for example.

How to map out a winning workflow and execute automation

In order to incorporate and deploy an efficient workflow automation system along with an app integration tool, you need to first create a winning workflow and figure out the specific areas where there is unnecessary manual involvement. Then you can work on removing those tasks and implementing automation.

Here are the steps involved in mapping out a winning workflow and executing automation.

How to map out a winning workflow and execute automation

  • Figure out comprehensive business goals as well as department specific goals to achieve for the short term as well as the long term - This will help you provide direction to the workflow or department wise workflows that you are about to map out.
  • Create a visual representation of your existing workflow and identify areas that need improvement - Your current workflows may be all over the place or may lack precision and efficiency. There may also be ambiguities as to the tasks assigned. Figuring out all of these pain points will help you see where you are going wrong.
  • Determine the specific processes that can be automated, the processes that need to be repeated and the processes that involve manual interaction and are hence prone to errors - Once you figure out where you need improvement, you will be able to see where there are redundant tasks and where your employees may be wasting time or are making errors. These are the areas where you can employ automation and enable app integration.
  • Create a visual representation of your new workflow, with careful demarcation of the areas that need manual involvement and the areas that don’t - This will help you form a streamlined idea of your winning workflow.
  • Determine the needs and requirements of the workers involved in the workflow process - This is a very important step as you will need to customize your workflow automation software and figure out which apps you need to integrate with your integration tool, according to these requirements.
  • Adopt relevant workflow automation software that is flexible, is user friendly and which suits your business model - Now that you’ve drawn up your new workflow, and figured out the exact places where you need automation, you are ready to purchase and deploy an efficient workflow automation system.
  • Deploy an efficient app integration tool like Flow.ly to all the relevant areas in your workflow where you need cross application syncing of data - This will help further smoothen the workflow process and improve effectiveness.
  • Set workflow KPIs to measure effectiveness - Now that your workflow automation software and your app integration tool are in place, you can set benchmarks and standards to measure your performance in the future, and stay accountable.
  • Test the solution -Once you’ve set up the entire workflow automation system, test run the solution to see if there are anomalies and correct them.
  • Train employees on the new system- On successful testing, you can conduct training sessions for all workers involved in the workflow on how they can use the system.
  • Execute automation and follow up with monitoring- As a final step, execute the automated workflow and follow up effectively and regularly with monitoring. Your workflow automation software will help you gauge the effectiveness of your processes with reports and analytics as well.

What to look for when adopting workflow automation software

When considering purchasing workflow automation software for your business, here are a few essential points that you need to look for, to ensure that it is right for you.

  • Ease of use and installation – Workflow automation software should first and foremost be easy to use and install. It should ideally be easy enough for your technical team to deploy it and get it functioning. Hence, look for software that requires minimal to no coding and can be easily integrated into your existing workflow.
  • Flexibility – The workflow automation system should be flexible and customizable to suit your particular business model and processes. It should not be a rigid system where you will need to alter your processes to suit the system. It would be the other way round.
  • Collaborative features – Look for effective collaborative features and make sure you can use an app integration tool integrated with your workflow so that you can collaborate across multiple applications.
  • Reports and analytics features – Insightful reports and analytics are very important to measure the performance of your workflow automation software, figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your employees and much more.
  • Pricing – Last but not least is pricing. You need to ideally look for software that is not too high but also not too low in price. A high price will shoot your expenses up and with a low price you stand the risk of inefficiency. You should look for something in the middle with a mix of performance and value for money.

You also need to employ a good app integration tool like Flow.ly in order to tie the software together and seal the deal.

Conclusion – why you need to adopt workflow automation software for your business

In the upcoming years, a number of small to medium business enterprises are expected to adopt workflow automation software to enhance productivity. Statistics reveal that 70% of workers would like their organizations to adopt automation as they believe it will make them more efficient and competitive.

Conclusion

Furthermore, automation will help you improve the overall productivity and efficiency of your entire organization by allowing top managers to concentrate on important tasks rather than waste time on jobs that can be mechanized. It will help speed up and automate tasks without having to learn coding as well.

Additionally, by installing an app integration tool, you can also allow your workers to combine their efforts across applications and further enhance the workflow. Flow.ly comes with its own library of useful applications for integration, which will make your job easier.

Hence it only makes sense for you to adopt workflow automation software and do your organization as well as your employees a favour.

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