Benefits of Workflow Automation
Workflow automation is a way to simplify manual tasks and improve work efficiency. Learn about using workflow automation software at your job.
Workflow automation involves the use of technology to reduce menial, time consuming tasks at work. The overall goal of workflow automation is to free up employee time so they can focus on more important tasks. It also ensures there are no human errors when recording data. Workflow automation is all about speed and efficiency. It also saves businesses money by minimizing mismanaged tasks. Workflow automation software has become a vital part of organization, no matter what business you run.
Workflow automation uses different software to manage a variety of mundane tasks, primarily relating to data entry. In the past, it took employees hours to record this information, and there was always the chance of inputting the wrong data. It is most commonly used with financing and human resources, but there are also marketing benefits as well, such as managing email marketing campaigns or sending confirmation emails.
Benefits of Workflow Automation
The biggest benefit of workflow automation is improving efficiency. By automating tasks, you are freeing up time for your employees to perform more important tasks. Many managers reported saving anywhere from 30 to 60 hours each month through automated tasks. Having software perform automated tasks also eliminates the chance of human error. It also makes it easier to transfer and reference data among different departments.
Previously, financing and accounting departments worked under significant crunch to get data entered. This not only led to unhappy employees, but it typically cost the business more in overtime fees. Automation software reduces this stress and cuts down on overtime spending, freeing up important resources to help each department.
Another way workflow automation saves time is cutting down the approval process. Without automation software, reports must be manually approved. While this may seem like a quick process, it becomes a significant burden when you consider how many reports are generated each year. Even smaller businesses often waste several hours going back and forth with reports and other documents.
Examples of Workflow Automation
While workflow automation software has greatly expanded the number of uses in recent years, many companies were already utilizing basic automation programs. For example, online retailers use workflow automation to send confirmation emails to customers after making a purchase. The system is set up to list the expected delivery time, how much the customer spent, when the purchase was made, the payment method, and who to contact if there are any errors or issues with the order.
Workflow automation is also a quick way for managers to send out notifications to the rest of their team. Managers can create a task list, which is sent out to all employees. As employees complete tasks and submit information, the list is updated without the manager having to contact each individual employee for updates.
Workflow automation is also helpful for human resources. The software can automatically track how many hours each employee works to automatically generate paychecks. It can also be used to track working hours to bill clients.
Another use for workflow automation is mass producing documents. For example, many businesses create basic legal templates, like employee contracts or nondisclosure agreements. Whenever a new document is needed, you can access the template and quickly input the relevant information.
Automation is also an important tool for IT teams. Whenever a ticket is submitted, the software logs the requests and puts it into a queue. Once the task is solved, the software updates and closes the ticket.
What to Look for in Workflow Automation Software
An important consideration for workflow automation software is the user interface. Automation software only works if you understand how to create tasks and access data. A good user interface is simple, but also allows user customization. If you are constantly looking at tutorials or asking the IT department for help, you lose the efficiency benefits associated with the software. Look at multiple programs and whenever possible, request a free trial to get a feel for how the software works.
Another consideration is compatibility. The best way to use workflow automation software is to combine it with other programs. Most programs will advertise if they are compatible with other software providers, such as QuickBooks or Microsoft.
Cost is also an important consideration. Most automation software charges a monthly membership. There are usually different tiers of support. The different tiers may also determine how many users can set up accounts or the number of automated tasks you can run at a time.
In terms of product integration, it is hard to find a better option than Automate.io. As of writing, the software is compatible with over 200 cloud-based software. It only takes a few minutes to integrate your existing software into Automate.io. The interface is simple to use, with most options available through dragging and dropping tasks into the app. While it is primarily used by smaller and medium companies, it is still suitable for larger companies.
The pricing for Automate.io is straightforward. A free option is available, but with limited access, essentially acting as a free trial. Otherwise, the program costs $9.99 each month per automated task on your network.
If you are not comfortable employing new software, Zapier is a convenient automation program. Zapier largely uses pre existing templates and tutorials to walk employees through automation setup, making it a popular choice for newer businesses. It is compatible with most other workplace apps as well. A free plan is available which supports up to 100 tasks each month. For more tasks, you must pay for a monthly membership, with plans starting at $19.99.
Kissflow is another workflow automation service with an accessible user interface. The program largely uses drag-and-drop editing to create new tasks. Each user can customize their dashboard, as well as exchange reports and other information among other users. Kissflow not only integrates with most common business software, but it includes compatibility with other automation programs as well. Unlike other programs, Kissflow only charges per user and not tasks. A free trial is available to test the program. After the trial, you must pay $12 each month per user.