Automation has become a pretty trendy term in recent years as technology advances rapidly and businesses make moves to improve company-wide efficiency. In fact, 80% of business executives believe that automation can help them save hundreds of hours every year. But is automation right for your business?
It’s important to understand that automation can look drastically different from one business to another. Many people get this image in their head that automation means their office will be filled with robots feverishly buzzing around. Of course, this sci-fi image isn’t accurate. In reality, workflow automation is much more behind the scenes and manages more menial, time-consuming tasks rather than completely take over jobs.
To understand why the move to workflow automation is important, it’s most significant to understand what consists of this type of automation and what’s in it for you and your business when you make the switch.
What is Workflow Automation?
Now that you have the fictional movie idea of automation out of your mind, let’s take a moment to understand exactly what workflow automation is.
Simply put, this is the act of automating small tasks within a larger workflow to speed up the time it takes to complete a job and enable human staff to focus their time on aspects of the job that will make the biggest difference.
Of course, that’s still a pretty abstract idea of what workflow automation is so let’s provide a concrete example of what this might look like in your business. Let’s imagine you get documents with information sent to you by email and the information within the documents needs to be transferred into a system to complete the request. The old method of doing this is opening the email, saving the file, opening the file, and then transcribing the information into the platform that you’re using.
With workflow automation, many of those steps can be automated to save time and allow employees to act on the most important parts of their job. Perhaps the file within the email can automatically be saved in a document management platform, analyzed by the platform, and then have the information held within translated into the system you need to transcribe to. All of this is done automatically with no human intervention and it can be completed much faster than requiring people to take over the task.
What are the Benefits of Workflow Automation?
There are several important benefits to making the switch from having employees complete tasks manually to workflow automation.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to workflow automation is that you enable employees to actually do the work you hired them for. Let’s imagine you have sales staff that need to contact clients, build relationships, and then input sales into a system. Every minute that they spend inputting data from orders is a minute that they aren’t connecting with clients and growing the business. You can’t automate relationship building but you can empower your employees to produce their best work with workflow automation. Some estimates suggest automation could help employees save 2 hours per day depending on how time consuming their tasks are and how many they have to complete during the day. What do you think your staff can accomplish with another 2 hours per day to be productive?
With workflow automation, you not only save time, but you can prevent errors in your workflow. Data input errors can be eliminated with automation, document organization errors and filing issues can be fixed, and there’s no risk of having someone miss an important document that arrives in their email or fax inbox. With automation, every task is addressed immediately and the data is transferred as it appears in the file or document with little risk of typos.
Finally, workflow automation can bring together multiple teams within your business and reduce or eliminate bottlenecks in your workflows. When multiple teams or employees have to work together on one larger task, every time the task is handed off to another team there is an opportunity for delays and mistakes. If you can automate some of the tasks within the workflow and eliminate those bottlenecks between teams then you can complete more work faster and with more accuracy. Plus, this can improve team morale as people can’t point fingers or become frustrated with the process and how other team members may play a role in the process.
Experience the Power of Workflow Automation
Workflow automation can help your business and your employees become more efficient. You can cut back on costs and time commitments needed to complete minor tasks or fix human error. To learn more about workflow automation and how it can work with an enterprise document management platform contact us at Intellinetics today.