The Benefits of Process Simplification and Workflow Automation
If your organization is like most, you have several critical, disjointed workflow processes. Often, software that was modified 10 years ago is being used to fit the way work was done in the past, not the way it is being done today. This has led to disparate technology with its own unique and specific workflows. It has also created numerous process workarounds and employees with “tribal knowledge” who keep operations running smoothly. There is the unspoken truth that everything will come crashing to a halt if a piece of hardware seizes up, a software application crashes or certain employees resign taking their knowledge with them.
Workflow technology that eases the pain
The right workflow software can streamline business processes. It removes complexity by simplifying and normalizing the workflow process and integrating with agile, best-of-breed software. Effective workflow technology also delivers a solid, hyper-automated, no-code workflow platform that lets your operations team easily add, remove and adjust workflows based on your business needs, versus you adjusting your workflow to fit your software’s capabilities. The benefits of adopting modern, process automation workflow technology will outweigh the cost to purchase and implement, disruptions to business and resources to manage.
Reduce process overlap and duplication
When looking at a workflow in its entirety, you will often see a lot of similarities. Employees will be operating in their own “mini-workflow silo,” relying on similar tools that lack connectivity. When viewing all your workflows together as one job, rather than a series of separate jobs, you’ll see overlap and duplication, especially with tasks that involve supporting technology. You will uncover efficiency and effectiveness by simplifying your processes. The first steps to gain advantages of simplification include:
- Standardizing on a single trunk-based workflow with small branches to remove overlap and duplication
- Identifying variables (there will be fewer than you think) and adding them as branches to the trunk-based workflow
- Using workflow intelligence to automatically launch workflow tasks based on time, events and resource availability
- Utilizing a trunk workflow with automation to trigger the branches appropriately
Connected is better
Software integrations are essential to create a trunk-based workflow that will automate and streamline processes so your operations run smoothly. No one technology provider or supplier has all the necessary hardware, software and physical devices to fully integrate and streamline your operations, so look for an intelligent, no-code workflow solution that is an integration platform. Also, look to vendors who can further streamline your operations by providing software that will help normalize, standardize and automate your workflow, with staff that knows how to simplify complex workflows.
As you become better acquainted with your workflow processes, you’ll find ways to further simplify and improve them. Simplifying processes, creating a trunk-based workflow and automating wherever possible is efficient and profitable for companies. Here are a few benefits you will receive by adopting a modern workflow approach and eliminating workflow inefficiencies:
- Fewer errors – Automated trunk-based workflows will prevent problems associated with human error. Automated workflows will make it easier to pinpoint any issues and address them.
- Improved collaboration – Software integrations allow your employees to communicate and collaborate with each other and their customers, even if you have a remote workforce or distributed teams.
- Increased productivity – A simplified and automated trunk-based workflow will alleviate many manual and duplicate steps, helping jobs move quickly through the process, keeping everyone informed along the way.
- Eliminate redundant tasks – With the help of a streamlined workflow and optimized software integrations, you will eliminate repetitive tasks that cost time and money
- Oversee multiple tasks at one time – Trunk-based workflows with software integrations let you perform multiple tasks, such as onboarding a new customer at the same time you are processing a recurring monthly order.
- Increase transparency and trust – Operators will have clearly defined roles and tasks, which means accountability is transparent. There’s no second-guessing which job has priority when it will be completed and who will update the customer.
- Survive employee turnover – Using a small number of standardized workflows, you will be able to onboard and train new operators quickly after the loss of a key operator.
As your business continues to mature, you will need to add new tools and technologies to meet your growing needs. Having disconnected workflows and systems will make it difficult for you to tailor your operations and services to match customers’ needs. When you have the right process with access to the right tools, you get scalability in addition to efficiency, which will positively impact your bottom line.
Erin McCart, Crawford Technologies
Erin McCart is Senior Product Manager at Crawford Technologies, a provider of document solutions that streamline, improve, and manage customer communications. McCart has 25 years of product management and marketing experience in the software industry and content management and output management markets.