Workflow automation as part of digital transformation initiatives

Digital Transformation and Workflow Automation

Digital transformation initiatives are at present in vogue throughout all industries and firm sizes. Entrepreneurs launching new companies have a chance to construct a scalable, future-proof digital infrastructure with out having to maneuver off legacy programs and coping with change administration.

One of many vital elements of any digital transformation is a transfer to workflow automation, particularly relating to enterprise processes. Many organizations are saddled with guide processes that perpetuate regardless of clear inefficiency and a excessive charge of errors.

Workflow Instance

Take a easy capital expenditure course of, which is most typical within the manufacturing sector however exists throughout many different industries. On this course of, somebody requests the acquisition of a high-ticket, capital merchandise for the enterprise. This request is manually circulated to all of the those who have to approve the acquisition, normally by way of electronic mail. In the end the request will get accredited or rejected, and, if accredited, the merchandise is bought.

Whereas that course of might sound easy on the floor, anybody who’s handled this course of is aware of it’s something however easy. Let’s begin with how the method will get initiated:

There might not be an ordinary request kind to finish.
There could also be a kind, however the individual requesting it doesn’t know the place to get it.
The shape could also be:

Buried in a shared drive or intranet portal and outdated.
In an older (or newer) model of Microsoft Phrase, Excel, or Acrobat.
Cumbersome to finish and demanding fields left clean.

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The shape then must be despatched to somebody particular, however whom?

As soon as the proper kind is discovered, precisely accomplished, and despatched to the suitable individual, the approval course of begins. Relying on the kind of request and the complexity of the approval course of, the request can spend weeks bouncing across the electronic mail system. In the meantime, the unique individual requesting the merchandise has no concept what’s happening and once they’ll hear again.

This course of is only one instance, however the unhappy reality is that that is how MOST enterprise processes work. It’s one thing that many digital transformation initiatives search to handle with workflow automation.

Workflow automation analysis

What’s workflow automation?

Workflow automation refers back to the design, execution, and automation of processes primarily based on workflow guidelines. Human duties, information, and recordsdata route between individuals or programs primarily based on pre-defined enterprise guidelines.

Workflows are designed by defining duties, as an example, “Give an Approval or “Full a Request Type,” after which laying these duties out visually to simulate the precise course of as carefully as attainable. Every process is assigned to the suitable individual (or group) primarily based on the enterprise guidelines arrange.

An instance might be “If a request is for greater than $50,000, assign the approval on to the Finance Vice President within the requester’s area.”

As soon as this workflow is kicked off, normally by somebody finishing a kind, the automation begins operating and handles the workflow from particular person to particular person and system to system.

Businesswoman using automation thools

What are the advantages of workflow automation?

Scale back Inefficiency and Enhance Productiveness

By decreasing the guide dealing with of routing and assigning duties, workers have extra time to spend on the duties themselves in addition to different higher-value work. As an alternative of counting on conferences, emails, and telephone calls to maintain a course of transferring ahead, the workflow automation system maintains ahead momentum.

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This momentum isn’t achieved simply by routing and process task, but additionally via alerts, reminders, and delegation. These instruments are vital for decreasing cycle occasions. That is very true of delegation, which permits for a back-up process task if the originally-assigned particular person is unavailable.

As a result of there may be full course of visibility, everybody is aware of who’s been assigned to which duties and the place the workflow at present stands. This transparency reduces the necessity to have a number of standing conferences or “check-ins.”

Scale back Dangers and Enhance Standardization

Fastidiously crafted requirements and insurance policies can get uncared for when there is no such thing as a automation in place. Folks will submit the mistaken varieties, ship them to the mistaken individuals, approve issues they shouldn’t approve, and customarily ignore set requirements.

In conditions the place a mistake or delay can price 1000’s of , as an example, in a pharmaceutical product growth workflow, it’s an enormous profit to have the guardrails of automated workflow in place. By making a repeatable, auditable, clear workflow, processes are more likely to be adopted in accordance with organizational requirements.

Adapt to Adjustments in Course of

One of many nice issues about constructing an efficient, visible illustration of a course of is that it’s simple to return and alter/modify issues on the fly. For example, within the “greater than $50,000 request” situation talked about earlier, let’s say the CFO decides to make the restrict $100,000. The workflow administrator merely adjustments a price, and the workflow is immediately up to date.

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This adaptability additionally applies to adjustments in personnel, duties, varieties, integrations, and roles. Something within the course of might be modified and is immediately mirrored within the workflow.

Generally these adjustments are on account of a change in coverage, in different instances it’s due to a course of enchancment initiative. Strategies might be made and carried out to make processes run higher and higher over time.

Businessman is using workflow automation solution for running his service business

How Do I Put together for Workflow Automation?

Earlier than contemplating investing in a workflow automation system, you should make sure that the group or division utilizing it’s ready.

An article on the subject of planning for workflow automation is offered on our weblog, however listed here are 4 key concerns:

Enlist enterprise course of analysts or succesful undertaking managers to interview members of the processes. They will develop correct mockups of every course of and sub-process.
Doc the requirements, guidelines, and working procedures for all of your processes, together with exceptions.
Arrange time to overview and validate all of the documentation generated with all stakeholders and govt champions.
Assign a selected individual or group to be accountable for sustaining the workflow automation software program and constructing out the preliminary processes.

Hopefully, I’ve given you understanding of what workflow automation is and why it may be useful to your group. Investing in workflow automation instruments can have a optimistic impression on each workers and the corporate’s backside line for years to come back.