Data entry, copy-pasting emails, and generating slow responses to customers. Manual work is repetitive, monotonous and a huge time-waster. But it doesn’t have to stay.
In this post, find out how manual tasks at your organisation can be made more efficient through workflow automation.
Workflow automation can be defined as a sequence of automatic steps taken to finish a process. What this means for companies includes:
Accelerated Processes — Automated steps reduce lag time and delay between activities. They also accomplish tasks faster than normal, manual ways, enabling processes to complete more quickly.
Elimination of Unnecessary Manual Tasks — While leaving manual tasks in the hands of automated workflows, employees will have time to work on more strategic tasks of greater value.
Reduced Mistakes in Work — Workflow automation can help avoid human errors, which are otherwise commonly made in manual paperwork and data entry tasks.
Simplified Path to Growth — Collectively, higher quality processes coupled with a faster work pace can push businesses to grow further in simpler ways.
What exactly can you automate in a workflow? Different workflow software may offer varied automation functions. But the basic automation plugins usually includes:
Automatic notifications enable you to inform customers or employees about an issue without time lag.
As long as the trigger event is executed, such notifications can be customised and delivered to 1, 10, even hundreds of users all at once.
In automated workflows, approval requests will be automatically routed to your respective supervisors. This saves you time from drafting and sending emails to each of them.
Once the supervisor(s) approve or reject a task, an automatic email will be sent to you with the review outcome enclosed.
Many business processes don’t run in a straight line. It’s common to see workflows branching out into multiple paths, depending on various situations encountered.
Take approval requests as an example. You may be in charge of producing documents A and B, where each shall be approved by Supervisors A and B respectively. In this case, you can set the following business rules in your workflow to automatically route the correct document to the correct supervisor:
If document = A is true, send to Supervisor A.
If document = B is true, send to Supervisor B.
If you’re collecting data e.g. from a form, you don’t have to manually key in or copy-paste them into your database.
Adopting workflow automation will allow this transfer of data to be automatic, and of course, done much faster than the average human.
To better understand how it works, here’re some real-life examples of workflow automation.
Every workflow has to start with a first trigger step. In this example, the first trigger step is the submission of a job application form.
Examples of automated steps in this hiring workflow include:
For companies that receive huge numbers of job applications, HR managers will be able to process applications and get back to candidates at a faster rate, making the hiring process more efficient.
The first trigger step in this workflow is the submission of an expense reimbursement form.
As challenging as “automation” may sound, you really don’t have much to worry about if you’re using a workflow software. Particularly, a no-code one.
No-code platforms often provide a drag-and-drop interface that will enable you to achieve workflow automation without coding.
In other words, there’ll be no need for you to hire a technical developer, nor to learn any programming knowledge to automate your business.
Using the software, design a workflow diagram.
The methods to creating a workflow may differ depending on the workflow software you use. In the case of Forma, users can:
Select automation plugins relevant to their process (e.g. Notification plugin, Approval plugin)
Drag and drop to connect the plugins in sequence
Double-click each plugin to customise their configurations
Once you’re done, the software will automate the workflow for you. No other work is needed on your end.