In nearly every industry, companies spend a large amount of time on making sure tasks flow neatly into each other and keeping track of where everything is. For a project, employees have to know who is working on what when. With a company website, somebody needs to keep track of where potential customers are and where they need to go next. 

But keeping track of all of this takes valuable time and resources. In addition, leaving everything up to employees does introduce a higher amount of human error where something could go wrong or slip through the cracks. That’s why many companies find workflow automation to simplify processes and even increase productivity and accuracy. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of workflow automation, why it’s used, and why it matters.

What is Workflow Automation? 

Workflow automation is the use of digital tools to automate and run tasks without human intervention. Essentially, it allows companies to take tasks that either require extensive human energy or tasks that were done with physical tools and convert them into a digital process that will run on its own. 

For example, a team might need the budget for a project approved before they can move forward. With physical tools and human intervention, the approval process takes time and energy to make it happen. With workflow automation, the team would use a digital tool to send the request through. The workflow automation tool would use logic-based guidelines that follow the business’s rules to send the budget to the right people for approval, and back to the team when it’s ready.

Why is Workflow Automation Used?

Workflow automation is used for several reasons. One reason is to simplify processes and save valuable time and resources. When every step of a process requires someone to perform an action, it uses time that the employee could be using for something more valuable that can’t be automated. Automation helps everything move more efficiently and saves employees from having to do little tasks that could be done with a digital tool. 

In addition, workflow automation increases accuracy. Anything that requires human intervention and interaction increases the likelihood of human error. Having a human employee file important documents individually takes time, and it also means that the employee could misfile or lose a document. A workflow automation tool would use technology and logic-based rules to ensure that processes happen without human error. 

The other primary benefits of workflow automation include: 

  • Increased productivity and efficiency
  • Increased accountability
  • Increased visibility into processes
  • Increased data security

Who Uses Workflow Automation?

Workflow automation is a valuable tool to improve productivity and more. But who uses workflow automation? Workflow automation is valuable in nearly every industry and can be used in a variety of ways. We’ll highlight some of the interesting ways industries use automation. 

Workflow automation is especially valuable in HR departments. Workflow automation can help organize and update the employee database, ensure onboarding processes are done correctly and on time, send reminders when a certification needs to be renewed, send out tax documents to employees, and much more. When all of these processes are automated, the employees benefit, and the company benefits. 

Workflow automation is also incredibly useful in the finance industry. Finance employees shouldn’t be spending valuable time approving documents, moving documents from place to place, managing contract approvals, or managing travel expenses. Workflow automation tools can instead help perform these tasks, making them happen more quickly and more accurately. 

Overall, almost every industry and department could benefit from utilizing workflow automation tools to simplify processes, save time, and make better use of employees.

How Does Workflow Automation Work?

Since each department and industry can benefit from automation, it’s important to understand how to get started. These are the basic steps of how workflow automation works:

  1. Identify processes that can be automated. Some of the things to look for are:
    • Is the task repetitive? 
    • Does it need to be achieved more accurately? 
    • Does it need to be more efficient? 
  2. Map the processes. The next step is to know what the existing workflow looks like already. This step will require employees with in-depth knowledge of the business processes. 
  3. Define the business goals. What are these processes trying to achieve? What are the overall goals? And how can these goals be met with the workflow? 
  4. Choose the right workflow automation tool. Spend time researching and understanding the best tools that will help meet your business goals. 
  5. Train employees. Employees are still needed to operate the software and help things run smoothly, so the next step is to teach them how to do so. The new tool is likely unfamiliar, so they will need training to use it well.
  6. Measure success. Using workflow automation software, see how well the processes are meeting the business goals and where they could be improved for future growth.

Importance of Workflow Automation

Overall, workflow automation can take many forms and solve many problems. In each department and industry, tasks can be automated using digital tools—and it should be a major focus for companies to do so. 

Workflow automation is such a valuable tool to help companies run smoothly and more efficiently. Even in 2021, so many employees are still performing repetitive tasks that could be automated. A report indicates that 94% of small and medium business employees spend extensive time doing repetitive tasks that are draining resources. Workflow automation can take these tasks and make them possible without constant employee attention—saving these businesses time and money. 

But to use workflow automation, you need the right automation tools to get started. When it comes to automating your document processes, you need a tool that will make that efficient and simple—and that will be easy for your employees to use well. Rubex from eFileCabinet is designed to do just that. Using this tool, you can manage and automate document workflows in a way that will keep them simple, efficient, and effective. 

Let’s talk today to see how you can automate work processes.