The term workflow automation refers to a process that involves incorporating technology to carry out a variety of repetitive work tasks. When discussing workflow automation, two concepts need to be defined: business process automation (BPA) and robotic process automation (RPA). BPA is a broader term, referring to employing software solutions across an entire organization to perform tasks automatically. On the other hand, RPA is a subset of BPA, pertaining to utilizing software robots powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) to replicate human behavior. Essentially, workflow automation tools operate based on an “if X then Y principle“. When conditions are met, they set the predetermined, user-defined actions in motion. If you’re looking to automate the workflow in your business in any way, here are some tips to help you achieve your goal successfully.
Automate through tools already at your disposal whenever possible
Workflow automation is not only beneficial in terms of increasing business productivity. It can also be a great option to create a more environmentally friendly workplace, as the incorporation of tech leads to using less paper. To automate a business, you need appropriate software. However, sometimes you may not be aware that applications that you already use possess features that enable you to automate certain processes. The most basic example is email. There are software solutions that offer you to set up messages to be sent automatically. Most email providers also allow you to craft automatic responses, as this exists as a built-in feature in those applications. Thus, it would be a good idea to research the capabilities of the apps you are using and relevant software solutions. Depending on your needs, you may not require external software for certain actions.
Weigh out the pros and cons of automation for each task
It should be noted that not all processes benefit equally from automation. In some instances, automating certain tasks can even jeopardize the quality of work. To avoid this, you could list the tasks and jot down all the upsides and drawbacks related to their automation. Only then will you be able to clearly identify what processes would be performed more efficiently when automated. Despite its continual evolvement and improvement, tech can’t entirely replace certain aspects, such as human interaction and creativity. For example, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is advanced enough to the point that chatbots are frequently used for the purposes of customer relationship management (CRM) as they can carry out text conversations with clients. However, there is a limitation to the extent of what specific information these bots can provide. Thus, this can be a useful tool to introduce a product or service to the clients, before an actual customer representative steps in.
Choose appropriate software solutions carefully
Even though you can automate the workflow by using tools you already have at your disposal, it doesn’t mean that this is possible for each process. You’re probably still going to need to employ some other software solutions. Utilizing an abundance of various pieces of software can be confusing, lead to mistakes, and slow down the process. Therefore, aim to use only the necessary amount of different software solutions. What is more, incorporating automation tools owned by separate software service providers may make their integration impossible. With that in mind, you should also make sure that you will be able to connect the tools before deciding which ones to choose. There are reputable IoT companies that help you devise and execute an automated workflow plan by integrating your Internet of Things (IoT) devices and automated solutions with their own platforms.
Take the essential steps to maintain cybersecurity
Unfortunately, the more tech you involve in your business, the more vulnerable it becomes due to the susceptibility to cyberattacks. This means that your company needs to be prepared to combat potential cyber security threats, such as malware, leaks of confidential data, and ransomware. It’s thereby necessary to invest in cybersecurity by employing IT security professionals and protective software.
In sum, implementing workflow automation successfully can help businesses speed up their workflow, minimize errors, and ultimately reduce expenditure. The key is to take time to contemplate the most efficient way to introduce automation and avoid over automating.