Handling projects manually is overwhelming for many organizations. Mistakes are made, critical steps are missed, and as a result, team members get lost and puzzled in the resulting mess. As the workload of a business grows, managing operations manually can become too complex and chaotic.
This is where automation comes into the picture. Digital transformation leads are on a hunt for a work platform that can seamlessly align processes with organizational goals. By automating workflows, organizations can shift their focus from tedious manual tasks and improve process efficiency that adds real value to the business.
By automating repetitive and low-value tasks, workflow automation brings about changes at every level of your organization.
Keep reading to learn more about how workflow automation bridges the IT – business divide and helps to boost your digital transformation efforts through deep changes in organizational processes and culture.
Rise of the need for digital transformation
New and transformative technologies were penetrating the workspace even before the pandemic, allowing businesses to innovate. But when the 2020 pandemic struck the world, innovative changes that would have taken years to happen took only a few months or less. Digital transformation has been the magic formula in responding to the disruptions in the business ecosystems triggered by the pandemic. Many businesses accelerated their efforts to compete against this sudden change.
However, digital transformation views are still limited to customer benefits. The improvements that don’t directly benefit the customer are often overlooked.
Many organizations forget that employees are the main contributors to digital transformation initiatives. They are the ones who’ll be closely working with any new tech you introduce in the organization.
Automating daily workflows is at the core of every successful digital transformation as it paves way for employees to focus on business-critical operations.
Why should workflow automation be a part of digital transformation?
Digital transformation starts with equipping employees with an easy-to-use workflow automation platform that will be an enabler for new digital culture change.
The platform should:
- Streamline and optimize operations
- Promote cross-functional collaborations
- Eliminate process redundancies
- Ensure optimal resource utilization
- Provide faster support to customers
With the help of such a platform, you can automate your routine processes, and calculate their effectiveness. This data helps you to identify bottlenecks and find areas for improvement to enhance the employee experience and drive genuine change in your business performance.
Departments that benefit from workflows automation include:
- Human resources
- IT service requests
Features of workflow automation
Here are the main features of a workflow automation platform that will satisfy your business needs in the long run.
- Zero code workflow design — Business experts can automate different workflows on their own without writing a single line of code
- Drag-and-drop form editor — Easily create and customize dynamic forms with sophisticated layouts (tabular, multi-page) that work for your business without programming
- In-built mobility — Reminders on upcoming approvals can be sent to smartphones, tablets, and desktops without any special effort
- Access control — Offers fine-grained access control so only authorized users can view specific workflows
- Reports – Analyze your workflows and their data to improve your processes and make informed decisions
- Audit trail — Keeps a log of all actions like who did what and when, giving complete visibility and control over business processes
- Dashboard — Prioritize tasks based on the most pressing workflows and enable teams to finish tasks before deadlines
- Third-party integration – Easily integrates with other tools such as calendars, contact details, financial software, and more
How to successfully implement workflow automation?
If you’re planning to enforce workflow automation – great! But before you proceed, follow these key steps.
1. Identify the troublemakers
Processes that cost you time, and money, or raise the risk of compliance are your troublemakers. They will have a lot of people involved and have many complicated steps. Talk to the leads and managers to make a list of such types of processes.
Some use cases of processes you can automate are:
- Employee onboarding
- Expense approvals
- Purchase order approvals
- Sales contracts
- Travel requests
2. Choose the right workflow automation platform
When it comes to workflow automation, there are concerns about IT involvement, because their association means added costs and time. So when choosing a platform, you should consider if business users can use it easily. Some of the non-negotiable features are cloud-based technology, and how quickly they can be integrated into your existing systems.
Other than these, you need to figure out your workflow needs. You might need an extensive workflow solution for core processes like accounting management or product and service delivery. Or you might require something lightweight that helps decision-makers to handle processes on their own. Make a list of these needs and then choose your platform.
3. Train users
Once you select a workflow platform, you need to train your workforce to use it effectively. Have a change management plan in place to inspire your employees and avoid confusion. When you provide a clear transition path from the current system to the new automated system, it’ll help your employees to get up to speed and make the transition successful.
4. Set your KPIs to measure the ROI
Define what kind of improvements workflow automation will bring to your organization. For example, document the number of hours and cost it takes to fix manual processes. If your KPI quantifies the performance of workflow automation in tangible ways for your organization, you’ll know what’s contributing to your ROI and make strategic decisions based on that.
The essence of digital transformation is automating everyday activities.
Using the right workflow automation platform across your organization will improve employee experience as well as customer experience. Your business will be able to reduce complexities and improve efficiency.
Instead of getting bogged down with repetitive tasks, your team will be able to take up other important initiatives like making the changes the client asked for, doing creative work, or making strategic decisions. Workflow automation will add agility to your business and allow you to respond to new opportunities at the right time.
While workflow automation is not synonymous with digital transformation, it is definitely a vital part of the process.
Suresh Sambandam is the CEO of Kissflow, the first unified digital workplace for organizations to manage all of their work on a single, unified platform. Kissflow is used by over 10,000 customers across 160 countries, including more than fifty Fortune 500 companies. He is an expert and renowned entrepreneur on a mission to democratize cutting-edge technologies and help enterprises leverage automation. He is also a part of Forbes Tech Council. Suresh is passionate about entrepreneurship, technology startups and spends a significant amount of time in the startup ecosystem mentoring young companies. He co-founded SaaSBoomi, Asia’s No. 1 & largest SaaS Conference.