Think of workflow automation like a film production. You have all these scenes, or manual tasks, that need to be set up in the right places to make a cohesive plot. They also need to be good, and for that, you need everything working together. Once you’ve achieved that, you can scale your workflow automation across all your departments to realize even more efficiency, collaboration and growth.
Using robotic process automation (RPA), you can automate your manual tasks by giving your RPA bots a ‘script’. You set the rules and RPA performs them as directed. Intelligent automation (IA) adds artificial intelligence (AI) to your RPA to turn it into an experienced actor – what we call a ‘digital worker’. The digital worker follows the script, but it adds flare. It finds the best way to do the task, so it’s running at top performance – award-winning, some might say. Finally, business process management (BPM) is your director. It tells your digital workers where to go and makes sure they’re doing a good job.
So, let’s see how you can use workflow automation to get your box office hit. Lights, camera… action!
What Is Workflow Automation (In Technical Terms)?
Workflow automation streamlines and automates business processes. This brings disparate systems and departments together, removing the boring, repetitive tasks from your people so they can focus on higher-value work, such as customer support and strategic initiatives.
How can I benefit from workflow automation?
- Saves time
- Supports decision-making
- Increases efficiency
- Reduces errors
- Connects the workforce
- Saves money
- Improves customer service
- Boosts employee satisfaction
- Shows real-time insights and monitoring
- Increases regulatory compliance
What is automation software?
Automation software turns repetitive, rules-based tasks into automated actions. IA is an example of this. Automation software is your production center – it’s how you set the whole film in motion, from beginning to ‘The End’.
How Do You Start Your Automation Production Right?
Your IA journey isn’t all about using advanced, AI-powered technologies. It’s about combining a strong workflow with process automation and establishing deliberate and strategic automation that you can scale.
But how do you get a strong foundation?
A strong automation foundation requires planning and understanding your as-is processes. Here are five steps for integrating workflow automation:
- Choose your processes. Identify processes where you’ll achieve quick wins and employ technologies such as task and process mining to help you efficiently determine the best processes to start with.
- Find use cases. See how other organizations like yours have utilized workflow automation.
- Gain buy-in. Get your employees and business leaders on board with the technology.
- Design the workflow. Use a workflow management system such as business process management (BPM) to build and manage your automated system.
- Monitor and optimize. As you automate your workflow, monitor how it performs over time and track key performance indicators (KPIs).
What does BPM do?
Business process management (BPM) helps with resource allocation, document processing and API integration. Think of BPM as your film director. It’s a management software that coordinates all the automated processes to ensure they’re acting in the right places at the right times.
Essentially, BPM brings together all the processes you’ve automated with IA for easier performance monitoring and scalability.
6 Workflow Automation Examples
Every industry and department performs repetitive tasks, and those take up valuable time. It’s not surprising your employees want to work on more interesting things, rather than spending hours on manual data entry or form filling. Besides, people can only work so many hours in the day. They need breaks – digital workers don’t.
Below are six detailed examples of where you can input workflow automation.
1 - IT service requests
Any good IT department knows the importance of handling technical assistance requests efficiently. There are bound to be a lot of them, and streamlining this process can save a lot of headaches. Instead of employees emailing IT when something’s not working, they can submit a form. A workflow automation system then assigns the ticket to an available support person, making it easier for them to track, manage and respond to requests sooner.
2 - Employee onboarding
If we’re talking tedious tasks, there’s none so repetitive and time-consuming as manually inputting a new employee’s data into your human resources (HR) systems. Personnel records require a lot of care; you’re working with sensitive data and any input errors can have a costly impact on your organization. Imagine walking on set and realizing your employer mistyped your name in all their documents or forgot to send your starting equipment. That’s not a good first impression, and those matter.
Workflow automation creates a standardized and accurate onboarding process. It gathers and inputs the relevant employee data without errors and can also help HR staff send out employee forms and compliance documents ahead of the start date. This frees your employees from those manual processes so they can focus on welcoming your new hire, and it also builds your hire’s confidence in the organization going forward.
3 - Expense reimbursements
When reimbursing employees, the submission and approval process requires a lot of steps: creating an expense report, sending it to a manager for approval, forwarding that approval to the finance department and finally, manually keying the information into the system – all before reimbursing your employee. That can take a long time.
With automation, an employee can fill out and submit an online form, which is then automatically directed to their manager for approval. With sign-off, it goes straight into the finance department records and the reimbursement is added to the employee’s next paycheck. Pretty slick.
4 - Invoices
Finance and accounting departments continuously generate invoices – a time-consuming task that’s perfectly suited for automation. Yet, invoices are often forgotten because they’re in the background. However, automating the invoice workflow could completely transform accounting tasks, saving time and money for your organization.
Workflow automation software can set up a process, where any time a transaction is completed, an automatic invoice appears directly in your system. You can even set up recurring invoices on a reliable schedule, so they’re sent out to a customer on time every time and with the accurate amount.
5 - Customer support
Automations ensure customers get immediate support day or night. If a customer has a burning question – or an issue where they want a quick resolution – workflow automation can employ a chatbot to assist them and guide them through a chat flow based on their topic selections. Automation can also keep detailed records of these interactions and any customer feedback – ensuring a happily ever after for all participants.
6 - Task management
Workflow automation can reduce and streamline communication channels between employees and their project managers, ensuring the project gets done on time and no crucial information is missed.
Workflow automation can help with time management and automatically create to-do lists, even transferring those to your preferred project management software. No tasks are missed, and your teams stay on track. Big applause for productivity!
How Do I Bring Workflows Together?
It’s simple: One unified platform. Once you’ve set the stage, bring all your actors together on screen.
IA, in conjunction with AI and RPA, combines workflows into a more cohesive, efficient operation, ensuring governance and compliance while saving an enterprise time and money.
We’re improving workflow automation with ServiceNow RPA and SS&C Blue Prism IA. Our partnership with ServiceNow gives customers easy account creation, seamless connectivity, consolidated workflow automation tools in a single platform and more control for a speedy digital transformation. All that’s to say, we’re making it easier for business users to improve their workflows and operations.
That’s a Wrap!
Workflow automation is designed to reduce errors, streamline processes and make your employees and customers happier. It directs, performs and produces an entire workflow automatically. SS&C Blue Prism is here to help you bring workflow automation to action in your organization.
Let’s roll the credits on this one.