Workflow Automation Software: Beginner’s Guide
Need advice on how to choose the best workflow automation software for your business? Today, automation has become a buzzword in the tech world, and for good reason. As most businesses are deadline driven, the workflow has a big impact on their revenue because every minute counts when it comes to saving money.
Research reveals that inefficient workflows can cost your company up to 30% of its revenue. And the only way to optimize the workflow is automation which makes complicated business processes easier to manage and eliminates the need for a human operator, increasing productivity and efficiency. Workflow management software ensures that the workflow is effective because it makes it run with minimal energy from your employees.
Read on this easy guide to learn why your company needs to adopt workflow automation in management, sales, and marketing. We will explain essential things you should consider when choosing the sales automation software and office automation software. Besides, we will discuss the role of software automation engineer. Let’s get started.
5 Significant Reasons Why You Need Workflow Automation
Businesses that use workflow automation software are more efficient and competitive. Here are the top reasons why.
- Streamlining communication. Improving communication between employees and management is one of the biggest benefits of workflow automation. When automating the workflow, you also automate communication. Everyone is involved in the process and knows what role each person has in the process.
- Creating accountability. When you create workflow automation, you actually create a system of accountability and divide the work between the members of your team. Everyone knows what tasks they are responsible for so employees can manage their own time and manager can look at the overall workflow process.
- Improving management efficiency. With workflow automation, managers can get better insights into the work done by team members and see the bigger picture. Workflow dashboards and real-time reports can help managers gain better visibility into business processes. Managers can monitor the business variables and make informed decisions about process improvement.
- Eliminating distractions. According to a survey, an average employee wastes about 60 hours every month which means 759 hours a year because of workplace distractions. The employees reported that the most important reasons for wasting time were not being challenged, no satisfaction for the job, no incentive to work harder, and being bored. Boredom can be caused by lots of tedious tasks that don’t provide immediate incentive. Workflow automation eliminates tedious tasks, improves employees’ engagement, and allows them to focus on more creative and productive activities that require strong skills.
- Increasing production capacity. With workflow automation, you can eliminate unnecessary tasks and redundancies, streamline the processes and use the potential of people and the systems already in place without any need to hire extra employees or invest in expensive software to increase production capacity during the busy season. In this way, you can save costs as well.
As you see, workflow automation is the best way to achieve consistent and accurate results, remove the risk of human error, and identify areas for improvement to increase overall productivity.
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Where Can Workflow Automation Be Applied?
Business process automation means making workflows easy and self-running. In fact, it is possible to automate processes in any functional area. Common tasks that can be automated to improve efficiency include but are not limited to:
- Managing office information: data storage, information exchange, data management
- Accounting: creating invoices and delivering them to customers, checking payments, etc.
- HR: generating documents, posting job listings, responding to applicants
- Marketing: checking sales statistics or website traffic, creating reports, sending emails to engage customers, controlling ad costs, etc.
- Sales: sending follow up emails, automated alerts for managers etc.
Office Automation Software
Office automation software is used to digitally create, collect, store, and manage office information that is necessary for completing basic tasks and goals. Office automation started primarily as data processing tool but now it includes a lot of complex tasks such as integrating front office and back office automation systems. Speaking about the application of automation in today’s office, we can distinguish 3 basic activities of office automation systems: information storage, information exchange, and data management.
These days, office automation systems have become a necessity for SMBs and large-scale enterprises. All businesses deal with tons of purchase orders, delivery notices, invoices, records that contain employee details and a lot of other documents. Handling these documents manually is time-consuming and chaotic so most business owners prefer to invest in office automation systems that help them save a lot of time and money in the long run. In fact, office automation has become one of the hottest trends.
Sales Automation Software
Looking for an effective way to increase your sales team’s productivity? Then, sales automation software is the best option for you. Sales automation software automates manual and time-consuming tasks that managers and sales representatives do every day, improves efficiency and accuracy, and accelerates the sales process. Of course, it’s not necessary to automate every aspect of your sales but if you implement some sales automation tools, you can accomplish more and achieve better results. Sales automation systems can make simpler most sales processes and workflows such as
- lead generation
- lead scoring
- follow-up emails
- order processing
- order tracking
- sales quotes and proposals
- sales reports
- inventory management
- standard contracts
- employee performance evaluation, and more
Initially, sales automation tools focused only on eliminating tedious and redundant tasks but, currently, with the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, and machine learning, modern sales automation solutions have acquired more targeted capabilities.
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When done right, sales automation can save a lot of time and help sales teams concentrate on core selling activities. That’s why it’s critical to choose a good sales automation system, for example, a CRM that can help you increase your sales efficiency and close more deals. There are web-based and in-house systems and, as new sales automation tools are released every day, choosing the right application that will make your life easier can be a challenge. Wondering how you can do it right? Keep reading.
Key Things to Consider When Choosing Automation Software
When you make a decision to automate repetitive processes, it’s very important to choose the right workflow automation software to ensure that it will have a positive impact on your business. When making choice, you should pay attention to the following aspects.
Simplicity should be one of your first considerations. You need a workflow automation application that is user-friendly and doesn’t require expert knowledge such as programming skills to use it properly. You need software with a well-designed user interface that includes easy to navigate menu, tools, and patterns you really need. A poorly designed user interface may confuse users and they may find it difficult to complete tasks. Remember that the main goal of implementing automation software is to make your work easier and to give you extra time to do more.
Functionality. This aspect is especially important when you are selecting a process-specific workflow automation system. Think about the features and capabilities of automation software and note what an app can do and can’t do. Automation software should have all the necessary features that suit your workflow and your business process. If the tool can’t perform functions you will need most often, you should reconsider your choice.
Security. When using workflow automation software, you are sure to process sensitive information, for example, financial or personal data. That’s why data security is crucial. You don’t want to share confidential information with other people. Make sure that the workflow automation software provider can guarantee no data leakage or data loss.
Customization. When you choose an off-the-shelf solution, you should make sure that the software is flexible enough to be customized for performing certain tasks. Ask if it is possible to build workflows and customizations just as you need them without investing in expensive additional programming resources. It’s important that your team can easily make adjustments and changes or add new features and patterns without additional requirements.
Compatibility. You are likely to use a variety of tools to manage your processes. Your new workflow automation software should easily integrate with all the tools you already have because it will have a big impact on your overall efficiency and productivity when using the new software. If you choose software that doesn’t integrate with other tools, you will need to waste time when switching platforms. On the other hand, integration makes completing tasks much simpler.
Scalability. As your business grows, the volume of work grows as well. That’s why you should choose software tools that are scalable by design. In this way, you can ensure that your automation software can grow with your business and you won’t have to invest a lot of money in a new tool when you need more advanced functionality. Scalability is crucial for small businesses that have the potential to grow. You don’t want to purchase workflow automation software and go through a lot of testing, integration, and customization only to realize after some time that your business has outgrown the software and you need to purchase or custom build a new tool to replace it.
Maintenance and support. You should have a clear understanding of the maintenance framework. Find out if you have to pay for new updates when your provider makes them available. Make sure that your provider offers technical support for your automation solution and find out their support department operates and how long it usually takes to fix bugs.
Pricing is probably one of the first things that people take into consideration when they purchase the new business software. No one would be happy to pay a higher price if they can find a more affordable solution with similar benefits. Many cloud-based workflow automation solutions are available on a subscription pricing model but you should find out what your subscription includes and what you will actually pay for. And you should have a clear picture of the total cost of ownership for your software.
To get the best ROI, you should closely consider all the points we have discussed and try to find a solution that offers the best quality/price combination. Every business is unique and, frankly speaking, it’s practically impossible to find off-the-shelf software that will meet all the above-mentioned requirements and fit your specific business processes. That’s why it’s better to consider building a customized workflow automation system that will be tailor-made according to your business needs and your specific workflow and will be able to give your company a competitive advantage.
Role of Software Automation Engineer
Software automation engineers are responsible for designing, building, programming, implementing, integrating, and testing software automation systems. When you decide to build a custom solution to automate your unique business processes, it’s important to choose a qualified and experienced software automation engineer to ensure that he will be able to focus on building secure and reliable software that can help you achieve your goals and grow a successful business.
Quandary team has an extensive experience in the development of custom software automation solutions for a broad variety of industries. Our software automation engineers are capable of providing you with scalable and powerful workflow management software that will be built according to your specific business needs and will function exactly as you want it to. We will help you develop the perfect workflow management system that will address your most important business process requirements. With our customized workflow automation tools, you will be able to manage your business smarter, get more done in less time, and free up time to focus on things that matter most.
As you see, workflow automation software is designed to scale up your productivity and save you time and money. If you are not currently automating your processes and are not sure where to start, schedule a free consultation with Quandary experts to learn how we can help you develop custom workflow automation tools that can streamline and optimize your company’s standard business processes and boost your revenue.