What is a Workflow? Definition with Examples

Productivity, efficiency, and accelerated growth. Are any of these what you’re seeking to achieve for your company?

If yes, you’ve come to the right place.

You might have heard that companies these days are using automated workflows to up their game in this competitive era. Indeed, this is a relatively new digital solution with great potential to power up businesses.

So without further ado, here’s a brief guide on what you need to know about workflows.

  1. What is a Workflow?
  2. Why use an Automated Workflow?
  3. How to Create an Automated Workflow?

What is a workflow?

A workflow can be defined as a series of mini steps needed to finish a process. These steps are:

  • Arranged in order of sequence
  • Often repeated to complete the same process
  • Connected by the flow of a piece of information

According to this definition, many processes around you involve a workflow. Here’s an example of a job application workflow:

Workflows are great for visualising processes and standardising operating procedures. But there’s even more to benefit from if you leverage on automated workflows.

Why use automated workflows?

At the bottom line, automated workflows can help companies grow their business faster than ever before. Here’s how:

Get things done faster & reduce redundancy

One of the top reasons to use automated workflows is their ability to boost business productivity. This is also a distinguishing factor from normal, manual workflows. 

Once a step is completed, the next step is automatically triggered. This accelerates the transfer of work between different employees and reduces waiting time or delays.

Automation also shifts manual tasks from employees to the algorithms. One example may be managing notifications – no longer do you need to assign one employee to send notifications to every single customer; automation alone is sufficient for the job.

Therefore with automated workflows, your business is bound to move at a faster pace. Your employees will also have more time to work on more strategic tasks that drive actual growth for your organisation.

Get things done more precisely

It’s no unknown fact that technology can enable companies to reduce human errors and ensure more consistent work produced. If this means avoiding careless mistakes that slow down processes, why not?

Get things done more consistently

By standardising steps in processes, workflows can reduce uncertainty and improve efficiency amongst employees. This can benefit smaller organisations with less structured protocols, and bigger organisations seeking to coordinate the activities of employees across different departments.

It’s easier than you think

Even if you’re not a tech person, these benefits of workflow automation are feasibly achievable. Software companies like Forma provides no code platforms for you to create automated workflows easily.

So fear not, for technical background isn’t a key to automating your processes. What’s important is being open and strategic in devising a workflow idea that adds value to your business. Then, use a workflow automation software to materialise these ideas for you.

How to create an automated workflow?

Depending on the software you use, there may be different ways of building a workflow. But here at Forma, we lay it out in 3 simple stages.

         1.  Use Forms to Collect User Data

A workflow has to start with some information – e.g. a customer order, an employee request etc. We recommend using forms to capture these information as they can guide different users to provide information in a standardised manner. 

For example, in a job application, some essential information we’ll need to know about a candidate includes name, contact details, resume etc. You’ll be able to collect these data for all candidates by setting up forms with standardised questions.

        2.  Construct an Automated Workflow Diagram

Once a form is submitted, your workflow will be activated. In other words, the workflow will consist of all the steps that come after a form submission.

To create the workflow, you need to brainstorm and visualise the steps in the process first. These are the questions you can consider:

  • What are the current steps and employees involved in this process? Do they face any difficulties or inefficiencies? How can the process be improved?
  • What are the new steps that can be taken for this process?
  • Who will be involved at each step?

Thereafter, map out the sequence of steps into a workflow chart or diagram. This makes it easier for you to visualise which steps are linking to which. It also gives you an overview of the whole process. 

For Forma, the workflow diagram can be automatically activated after you click on “Publish Changes”. No coding is needed on your part to trigger the flowchart.

      3.   Store Data in Databases 

Lastly, it’s also recommended to create a database to store information collected from your forms. Within Forma, we enable companies to link up their forms and databases so that information can be automatically transferred after a form is submitted.

In short, if you’re looking to enhance the growth of your business with more efficiency and less hassle, automated workflows is a solution to consider. 

For a start, try building a simple workflow for free with Forma.