Ushering in a new era of growth, the world is currently amidst technological transformation that will fundamentally change the way we work and live. In order to stay relevant in today’s current market, companies will have to adopt new technologies, such as automated workflow to unearth new opportunities for their businesses. Automated workflow is a technology that automates the routing for a series of sequential steps involved in a business process. Often, a business process involves human-to-human activities such as request review and approval, as well as system automation such as sending out notification messages and posting approved transactions to an integrated system.
Here are 5 benefits of automated workflow for your business.
1. Reducing turnaround time
One of the key challenges that business often encounter is the duration of delivery time. With automated workflow, it can reduce turnaround time. Approval cycle can be sped up with electronic and automated routing of e-forms and workflow task assignment in business processes. For example, approval form can be easily accessible from email and mobile application, making it more convenient for Managers and Senior Management to perform on-the-go decision making. Those in managerial level can focus more quality time on key managerial activities that help spur company's growth, instead of spending time on mundane data collection, reporting, and following-up on disjointed processes — which are better done by automation.
Turnaround time is also reduced from elimination of issues introduced by wrong routing of approval, which is often witnessed from a manual form routing process (whether through emails or physical documents). Not only that, automated workflow also improves efficiency. More automation in a workflow equals shorter delivery times, optimizing business operations while boosting productivity.
2. Simplify business processes
The opportunity for business process re-engineering is made possible by improving business process flows. When opportunity to simplify business processes came knocking on the door, business processes that have been carried -out for years are possible to be fully optimized by automated workflow. For example, elimination of the “checker” role from a process as electronic form will have the capability to automatically enforce form input validation prior to a request being completely submitted.
This applies to many other non-value-added tasks within a manual process, such as re-data entry, data cleanliness check and reporting through manual query. Besides, automated workflow can reduce data entry mistakes as it reduces the likelihood of human errors. For example, data entry that contains a value with a fixed set of options can be presented as a drop-down selection list or multiple-choice tick boxes.
3. Cost optimization
When the business process has been digitized, cost optimization can be achieved. The automated workflow can reduce the use of paper in daily operational tasks. One of Innov8tif’s customers – a Multinational Company (MNC) in the manufacturing industry has reduced photocopier and printing costs by 75% simply by turning their purchase requisition request and approval process into an electronic workflow. Furthermore, business can optimize its operating expenditure on software system investment. The system redundancy can be reduced by creating one workflow that contains all departments’ processes.
For instance, human resources and procurement processes may be implemented in silos - placing staff records in the leave application and overtime records in HRMS, claim expenses in a cloud application and purchase requisition from another custom-built application. Each of these different processes may require a separate server and system maintenance cost. Additionally, the cost and overhead of interfacing between multiple systems can be reduced. When data resides in multiple sources, there will be a need to perform system integration on core and master data synchronization, as well as transaction posting. This adds another layer of complexity to the system architecture and thus, additional cost too. Imagine this, when there are more systems in silos, the need to manage user credentials and passwords across the board (through single-sign-on or single identity) also incurs additional operating expenditures.
4. Improving transparency
With automated workflow, approval cycles and audit trail of review will be digitally recorded, and it will send a notification email and reminder to both the approver and requester. Thus, a standard operation procedure (SOP) will be carried out without any bias. This empowers employees to be more accountable to any action performed in the system. Not only that, digital signatures can even achieve nonrepudiation. Automated workflow can avoid ‘unwritten’ rules from happening and preventing intentional by-pass. Traditionally, the business process that requires physical documents tends to be overlooked; but, with the automated workflow, it can decrease the risk of forging physical documents. The transparency in this situation can be found in user authentication that gradually improves the confidence of a person’s identity representation. For instance, when a person logs-in to a system, username and password validation is required as part of authentication process. This identification process can even be strengthen with 2-step authentication using biometrics or one-time PIN.
5. Improve employee productivity & efficiency
The use of automated workflow can empower employees to manage their own time during the working hours. Manager and Senior Management don’t have to spend their time monitoring closely as every action and progress is digitally tracked. Thus, employee satisfaction can be increased, and employees have more time to upgrade their skills, experience while acquiring new knowledge. Occasionally, employees can give more value to the company. All in all, automated workflow allows better communication between other departments as the automated workflow their joint processes and to work together closely.
In conclusion, to foster industrial growth, businesses need to take a step ahead and digitize their business processes. In order to sustain a business, a business needs to modify the workforce changing their business strategy, boasting exciting prospects and streamlining their business for greater market share.