How does your organization deal with workflow automation? From web forms to using the cloud or going for collaborative tools like Slack, workflow processes today have evolved. However, are you using the tools the right way?
Before we delve into the dynamics of workflow automation and how it can help businesses and organizations achieve desired results, we need to first focus on the basics.
Understanding the Problem
Every professional will vouch by one thing – it’s challenging to get rid of a cluttered desk of unfinished paperwork, an ever-lengthening ‘to-do list,’ and an inbox bursting at the seams with unread and unanswered emails. For those who succeed, it’s all about time management. Using the right tools go a long way in that.
There just isn’t enough time on your hands to implement all the process-improvement theories you have been reading about – things like minimizing waste, identifying areas of concern, implementing changes and assessing how those changes impact the final outcome.
However, if you invest some time in developing workflows for your business processes, you will not only improve your performance but also save a lot of time in the long run.
While having a workflow process in place itself will do your business a world of good, an automated workflow system, customized to suit your business needs will go a long way in augmenting those benefits manifold.
In this article, we aim to understand workflows, workflow management, and how a dedicated workflow software system, based on pre-defined workflow rules, can offer your business a seamless solution to your problems.
What Is a Workflow Process?
Every business setup has a process in place. It’s a sequence of activities involving manual tasks, files, data transfers and more – all directed towards achieving pre-set business goals.
Workflow ensures that these processes are thoroughly analyzed, planned and sequenced to achieve the best possible results in terms of transparency, efficiency, time management, reduced costs, and increased revenue.
A workflow can be as basic as a simple flowchart diagram laying down a set of activities to achieve the desired goal.
Conversely, it can be a complex series of events determined by pre-defined rules, resources and conditions and would be near-impossible to implement without incorporating a workflow automation system like dedicated software.
What is Workflow Automation?
Simply put, workflow automation is the process of incorporating software systems that provide a virtual infrastructure to arrange, monitor, control, and coordinate different business processes, or workflows including human resources, sales and marketing, lead management, and much more.
A study by Nucleus Research suggests that marketing automation can drive in over a 14.5% increase in sales productivity. That’s not all- the marketing overhead costs get reduced as well – by as much as 12.2%. That’s not all. Another Lenskold Lead Generation Marketing Effectiveness study states that companies that are using automation are edging past their competition. The study indicates that as many as 63% of companies that are outgrowing their competitors are in fact, relying on automation to do so.
Benefits of Workflow Automation
Here are some of the key benefits of workflow automation:
- Automated assignments, escalations, and notifications not only increase speed but also reduce errors of omission and commission by minimizing the need for human intervention, allowing your workforce to focus on areas that add value to your business.
- Real-time analytics and custom-metrics.
- Help you identify areas of improvement, further streamlining workflows for optimal results.
- Capable of providing notifications and data for the next stage in a business process, thereby allowing for seamless integration of different stages in workflows
- Allows integrating independent processes and systems into a cohesive structure.
- Offers you the adaptability and flexibility to change your workflow case-to-case.
What Type of Workflow Automation Software is Best For You?
Depending on the nature of your business and process needs, there are three types of workflow automation software that you can choose from – sequential workflows, state machine workflows, and rules-driven workflows
As the name suggests, a sequential workflow is a progressive flowchart. It follows a particular sequence of events, going from one task to another without any deviation in the pre-determined sequence.
A state–machine workflow is more complex in that it is an event-dependent workflow designed to follow pre-defined legal states on the workflow and the legal transitions between those states. It essentially means that it does not have to follow a particular sequence and can step back in the sequence if the state so demands.
In a rules–driven workflow, pre-defined rules and conditions guide the progress of activities. Expressions like “if,” “then,” “else,” or “wait,” are used as conditions to determine the next course of action in the workflow.
Is Your Business Suited for Workflow Automation?
Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut formula for this. However, the processes that can benefit the most from automation are high-volume repetitive tasks, time-bound activities, tasks that necessitate audit trails for compliance purposes, complex tasks dependent on other processes or systems, and labor-intensive tasks.
To put this in perspective, here’s a list of business processes that could derive maximum benefit from automation.
- Email marketing
- Creating case studies
- Lead nurturing
- Lead qualification
- Lead assignment
- Lead scoring
- Lead capture
- Website tracking
- List segmentation
- Automated responses or customer support
Using the Right Tools For Your Business Process Automation
The problem, as a study by Circle Research, indicates, is that over 61% of respondents talked about how difficult it is to implement an effective marketing automation solution. The top hiccup, for most organizations, according to an Aberdeen study, was finding the right personnel to help with the automation.
While it’s relatively easy to understand the advantages of automation, choosing the right software partner can prove to be a tricky affair. You need to select the right sales techniques, get access to actionable intelligence, and target real sales wisdom. Tools from companies like LeadSquared help you do exactly that. They offer a single, comprehensive solution, using powerful tools for sales and marketing automation, that cater to various industries, including education, insurance, banking, healthcare, and more.