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A Complete Guide to Workflow Automation

Manual tasks like data entry routing aren’t just tedious and repetitive — they take employees away from more engaging work. Employees waste valuable time when they fill out forms and chase down their managers for signatures with Workflow Automation.

So how can you streamline these tasks and ensure that you (and your employees) don’t get bogged down by monotonous activities?

The answer is workflow automation.

If your organization is still doing things manually, it’s time for a change. Automating business processes increases overall productivity and eliminates tedious tasks.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at workflow automation, including what it is and how it benefits your organization. We’ll also look at workflow examples across different departments and even show you how to get started with automating your workflows.

Click the links below to navigate to the section you want to learn more about:

  • What is Workflow Automation?
  • Benefits of Workflow Automation vs. Manual Workflow Processes
  • Workflow Automation Use Cases and Examples
  • How to Implement a Workflow Automation Solution

What is Workflow Automation?

Workflow automation is the process of using software to automate manual series of tasks. Examples include data entry and document routing. Standardizes how work gets done and provides accountability at every stage of a process. This increases efficiency and reduces time spent on manual work.

A common use case for workflow automation is document approvals. Documents like purchase orders typically follow the same set of steps.

Performing each step manually not only leads to higher cycle times but also leaves more room for error. An employee may make a calculation error or send the form to the wrong person.

By creating an automated workflow, you can streamline this entire business process. An employee simply submits a purchase order, and it automatically routes to the correct approver.

We’ll cover additional workflow use cases and examples later. For now, let’s look at how benefits your bottom line.

 

Benefits of Workflow Automation vs. Manual Workflow Processes

Spreadsheets are certainly a step up over paper forms. But they’re still prone to human error, and they lack the transparency that management needs to make key decisions.

Here’s how gives your organization a competitive advantage over businesses that rely on manual processes.

 

Increased Efficiency

Consider the steps involved in sending a purchase order. An employee creates a PO and sends it to their manager for review.

Performing each step manually is inefficient.

In a survey examining the impact of automation, 61% of business leaders and 58% of employees said that parts of their jobs could be automated.
With workflow automation software, you can digitize your forms and automate the approval process, so they route to the right individuals.

Employees don’t need to waste their time chasing signatures. Automating mundane tasks like document routing makes business operations more efficient.

Fewer Human Errors

Manual workflows are prone to errors. An employee may enter the wrong data, send a form to the wrong person, or even forget to move it to the next step altogether.

These types of errors can negatively impact your bottom line. You’ll need to spend even more time and resources to fix those mistakes (if you even catch them).

While it’s impossible to eliminate risk altogether, you can leverage  software to prevent common errors from occurring. For example, with dynamic forms, you can have fields automatically populate with SQL data when selecting a vendor.

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