Workflow automation — definition, benefits, and more
Businesses rely on a variety of processes that have specific workflows to complete tasks on deadline. Many of these workflows are formed by manual tasks that can be time-consuming, error-prone, and expensive.
For operations leaders and project managers, it’s important to understand what workflow automation is and how it can improve your company’s accuracy and your employees’ efficiency. In this article, you’ll learn all about workflow automation, including:
- What workflow automation is
- Workflows that can be automated
- Why you need to automate workflows
- Consider a platform to automate your workflows
What is workflow automation?
Workflow automation is the digitization and automation of business processes that reduce manual labor and process inefficiencies. This means that by using workflow automation and digital tools, businesses can streamline and automate repetitive and manual tasks, freeing up valuable time and resources. As a result, a company can improve efficiency and accuracy, reduce errors, and produce more consistent work.
Which workflows can be automated?
You may be wondering which common tasks can be automated. Here are some examples of key tasks that can benefit from workflow automation:
- Filing, renaming, or making changes to a document
- Reviewing and approving document changes
- Notifying others when a change to a document has occurred
- Onboarding new employees
- Processing accounts payable
- Managing record retention and storage
- Managing and making changes to vendor contracts
- Maintaining visibility with process management reports
- Importing data from other programs
- Filling out and signing forms
- Renewing contracts
Why you need to automate workflows
As mentioned above, workflow automation can improve your company’s efficiency in a great variety of ways. Some of the ways you could benefit from automating your workflows are:
- Increasing efficiency, productivity, and accuracy. When your team doesn’t have to waste time on repetitive tasks, they have more time to focus on work that matters. They’re more productive and efficient as a result. When repetitive busywork is removed, employees are also less likely to experience the “brain drain” that can occur when completing mind-numbing tasks. This can result in leaving employees more motivated to work harder on important tasks.
- Centralizing communication within a platform. Workflow automation can improve organization and communication within departments and the company overall. If your team is working remotely or hybrid, most communications will go through messages or emails, leading to a pile of messages and emails to sort through. Workflow automation can keep a track record of your interactions and organize them properly. By doing this, everybody has access to the same source of truth and information.
- Ensuring employees are following the same procedures. Manual processes tend to happen without documentation, with managers expecting employees to understand their roles and prioritize work appropriately. However, the combined lack of guidance and process standardization isn’t ideal if you want to develop a high-performing team. Workflow automation tools allow you to create tasks, assign them to employees, and indicate work priorities and procedures.
- Reducing errors, approval cycles, and manual handling. By placing less reliance on human memory for task tracking, workflow automation can reduce common human errors and boost productivity. This makes a big difference in the work done manually and automatically, giving employees time back to refine processes.
- Improving transparency, visibility, and employee satisfaction. Workflow automation can also provide transparency and visibility to stakeholders while being more cost-friendly. In addition, workflow automation can increase employee satisfaction since it utilizes their skills to complete tasks that can’t be automated and aren’t as repetitive.
Consider a platform to automate your workflows
Now that you’ve learned more about the definition, the benefits, and the applications of workflow automation, you know that this process can improve your business efficiency, productivity, and accuracy by automating key aspects of your department’s workflow.
Adobe Workfront can help you with your workflow automation needs. Discover how you can connect, collaborate, and deliver personalized experiences at scale with a platform that can keep your company running efficiently, even in the face of unpredictable challenges.
When you’re ready to get started, evaluate if your business, organization, or teams would benefit from automating certain workflow tasks.