Using Workflow Software for Process Automation Made Easy!
1 year, 4 month ago by Timothy Cox
When advantages of automation are undeniable, businesses are slowly turning towards workflow automation solutions. But, where can they utilize the software? Which processes can be automated? Will it be effective? And one main question - is it for my business? Of course, it is, after all, you too maybe spending 65% of our time on non-revenue generating admin tasks. Yeah, that’s true!
Read this blog to find out surprising uses of workflow automation software.
The Automation Background
Automation is a buzzword that has been taking businesses by storm these days.
What is interesting is that when one buzzword hits the industry, it’s not just one word - there are so many others that come along like workflow automation, process automation, etc.
But automation isn’t really something new - what if I told you that it has been around since more than 8 decades?
To add more to your surprise, here’s another fact - did you know that sometime around 1771, an automated spinning mill was invented by Mr. Richard Arkwright?
So, if automation can be traced back to centuries ago, then why has it become a buzzword now?
The Truth of Automation
The answer is simple - the full capability of automation has been realized only now. The automation in IT has been a game-changer of businesses out there.
People for ages have imagined automation to be something related to factories and manufacturing sector. But, that’s mechanization.
Automation can be introduced in any industry - literally, any!
But how is it a game-changer?
Well, it has been able to free people up from routine, repetitive, and manual tasks.
How Does Workflow Automation Software Work?
Here’s an example to help you visualize the power of automation:
Imagine that you are a class teacher in a school - where the student attendance is marked on a sheet of paper.
At the end of each day, you enter the same attendance in an excel sheet on the desktop.
After each month, you prepare reports manually for the attendance of each student and then e-mail those reports to parents, one by one.
Now imagine you have been introduced to a mobile app (as a workflow software) for attendance.
All you have to do is mark attendance on the simple mobile app.
As soon as you submit the attendance - it is automatically fed into the excel sheet, without you having to enter the data again. Wow!
What’s more? A report is created everytime you submit the data. All you have to do is just click to fetch attendance reports.
The reports can automatically be sent to the email addresses - without you having to send those.
Enterprises are using a variety of workflow software to automate routine tasks.
The Scope of Workflow Automation Software
It could be sales teams collecting data while filling up customer feedback forms, inspection teams recording data while carrying routine inspection, market research companies filling up surveys and questionnaires on mobile apps, the list of possibilities is probably endless.
And mind you, this isn’t just about making work easier - what comes along is more productivity, more efficiency, and more importantly - new profit avenues!
Without further preamble, let’s look at how workflow automation software can streamline your processes.
Should All of Your Processes be Automated?
No way! Automation will not make sense to your every process right in the beginning. Processes that are repetitive and manual can be targetted first.
Some of your processes will be paper-based - meaning that they are vulnerable to manual errors. Such processes have a great scope for automation.
It could be your front-line executives handling paperwork with customers while collecting data.
Manualdata collectioninvites loads of errors - you can avoid this by introducing simple mobile apps to collect data.
Platforms like Axonator allow creating workflows - which lead to automation.
Let’s say your inspection team is collecting data on the field. As soon as they submit the data through their mobile app, the manager receives a notification - who then clicks ‘approved.’
After which, a next task is automatically created and sent to the next person for further completion of the task.
When the task is completed, a report is created automatically and sent to the intended user/manager/customer, etc.
This is streamlining processes through automation. So many of the internal processes can be automated to save 100s of manhours each week.
But is it just for the internal processes?
Streamline Sales Processes with Workflow Automation
Automation can also be leveraged to streamline the sales processes. If you are wondering how a workflow software can do this - here are some numbers that will leave you baffled!
A study was conducted by Forbes to understand the sales process and how salespeople utilize or spend their time.
So, they decided to conduct a survey of around 1000 sales representatives. The results that came out were quite interesting.
It was found that on an average, salespeople spend JUST 35% of their time in selling a product or a service.
Then what do they do for the rest of their time? Now it gets interesting.
Salespeople spend the rest of their time, or rather a major 65% of their time in data entry, other insignificant repeatable and non-revenue generating tasks.
That’s like being outdated!
But you might even argue that should other tasks be a problem if salespeople are achieving their targets?
The question is - if they can achieve sales target in 35% of their time - what if they utilize their complete time in just selling and nothing else?
Rings any bell? You are looking at at least double the sales if not 3x.
But then, what about data entry and other administrative tasks which is consuming their time?
How do you deal with it?
The answer is simple - automate all the repetitive tasks and paperwork through a workflow automation software.
A simple mobile app like Axonator can help in streamlining the sales process.
As a matter of fact, enterprises using Axonator mobile app are able to save a lot of time of their salesforce.
Here is how they do it:
Once the sales rep enters the data in the mobile app, the same data flows to Google sheet and CRM - this allows them to save the time, which would have spent on multiple entries on multiple platforms.
Apart from this, sales teams don’t have to spend hours preparing reports for their managers.
Reports can be auto-generated and sent to managers or intended stakeholders.
Using Axonator, managers are able to fetch reports, and also use an analytics dashboard to identify problem areas - and then make decisions based on the data collected.
What does this result into? More sales, and reduced overheads since you are effectively utilizing your salesforce into selling, and freeing up them from repetitive tasks.
Many enterprises are automating their sales processes for managing the sales funnel, trigger-based email messaging, and rule-based lead qualification with the help of a workflow automation solution - this is also known as marketing automation.
Can Other Processes be Automated Too?
Workflow software are used by businesses to streamline the HR processes as well. Simple digital forms (e-forms/mobile forms) are designed for various HR processes.
Let’s say there are 5 new hires each week in your company who need to fill multiple forms - and most of which have the same fields like name, age, birth date, address, etc.
With a mobile app, hires can fill the mobile form. When the data is submitted, the same data is automatically fed into different forms - without the need to fill the same details.
The in-charge HR will be notified when the form is filled and submitted, upon which she can allocate the next tasks required.
So, workflow software doesn’t just eliminate paperwork, but they also take care of storing data.
Platforms like Axonator come with cloud storage - you can fetch the details at any point in time.
Other HR processes like leave application can be automated too. You submit a simple form - that reaches the manager for approval through email.
Not just that, the manager gets a notification on his/her mobile app as a reminder to approve the leave. If he approves it, you get notified on the app and email too. If he denies it, you still get the notification - don’t worry!
Leave management, travel management, travel reimbursement can be taken care of by the workflow automation software.
A lot of such small processes can be streamlined by using workflow software.
Here’s another interesting example of how workflow automation software can be used.
Purchase Orders & Purchase Requests
- data submitted through mobile forms can be sent for multiple levels of approval. Once approved, the orders are released and directed to the vendors automatically.
Since everything is digital, it can be easily tracked and the status can be known in a matter of clicks.
Does Adding Another Software Make Sense?
But if you are thinking you already have too many mobile applications or software in your business for your internal processes, then would adding another software make sense?
Well, it’s not about quantity, mate. This is all about how you can utilize your applications.
The bitter truth is that if they are working in isolation without complementing each other - it doesn’t make sense to add another workflow software.
Remember the sales example that we discussed above in this blog?
Entering data a multiple number of times in different software or applications consume time, and another application will do nothing good - if such is the scenario.
They have to be integrated!
Building Capabilities by Platform Integration!
Surprisingly, there are platforms like Axonator that allow integrating with other systems like CRM, Salesforce, PeopleSoft, Zapier, Google Drive, SAP, etc.
Integration of a workflow automation software with other platform allows the flow of data from one system to another without having to do it manually.
Can you guess what does this result into?
This results into synergy! Data from one platform used for the next platform gives you a clear picture of the scenario - it could be the journey of your marketing lead or the onboarding of a new employee.
No doubt why decision-makers love having a workflow automation software that can easily integrate with their current legacy systems.
Each of the system talks to other - no software or mobile application works in isolation.
It doesn’t just save time but also gets in more transparency and accountability in the system.
So Summing up the Benefits of Workflow Automation Software for You Here:
Automates repetitive tasks - leads to an increase in productivity
Increase in efficiency and eliminates the scope of manual errors
The time saved can be utilized in more productive work
Managers can utilize the time in strategic decision-making and revenue opportunities
Transparency and accountability
Customer satisfaction, if applicable
Well, these are few. I am sure there will be many - different ones to different industries.
Would you want to know how a workflow automation software can help your business processes?