Improving productivity is a priority for most businesses, work smarter not harder. New technologies from Microsoft, Google, Amazon and many others has allowed smaller businesses to achieve the same technology gains that enterprises have been investing in for many years. But investing in technology to improve business efficiencies and reduce human error can have high upfront costs.
Technology can make decision making quicker and easier. Although getting the most out of your productivity investments depends on how technology is integrated into your business. If done properly, you not only simplify work for your staff but also improve your client experience.
Workflow automation is one example of a technology that over the past few years has become more accessible.
What is Workflow Automation?
Workflow automation uses technology to automate the flow of data in business processes and replaces manual work with rule-based logic. When a workflow is managed by a system, it reduces processing time and manual errors while increasing efficiency and productivity. It allows you to spend more time on actual work and less time on the processes that support them.
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
- Bill Gates
Many business systems can build and operate workflows within their own boundaries. However, building a workflow between multiple systems has historically required the development of EDI’s (Electronic Data Interchange) or integration with existing API’s (Application Programming Interface). This is one area where technology is moving rapidly, enabling workflows to cross more easily between systems.
When you should consider Workflow Automation
Automation is the most efficient way to manage and achieve tasks that can produce consistent and accurate results every time. When you have a repetitive series of tasks that are managed with paper files, spreadsheets or e-mail you should be looking at automation. By creating workflows, you streamline the processes and remove the risk of human error.
3 Benefits of Workflow Automation
1. Fewer Errors
Even a well-managed business can’t escape human errors. Human errors can never be eliminated in the workforce, but we help make them more avoidable. By automating repetitive processes and tasks you are giving employees time back to focus on the work they are trained to do and let the workflows can handle the repetitive tasks.
Saving time leads to increased productivity. By spending less time doing repetitive tasks, employees can use their time elsewhere.
3. Client Engagement
By establishing processes and protocols you create consistency for your employees which allows for better client experiences. Looking to see what can be automated, or where in the process your employees can focus less on internal tasks and administration, means they have more time and energy to devote to outward-facing activities.
The transformation of the modern workplace is a positive change to the way people work. By understanding your business and employee needs you implement the right technologies and improve business productivity. In the long-term, it reduces risk and errors, saves time, increases productivity and creates accountability within your team.