Any product made to streamline your company’s workflow promises a significant improvement in efficiency, productivity and accountability. However, the term “workflow automation” encompasses a wide range of principles, and it can be difficult to sort out what’s most relevant and what features a workflow automation platform offers. Here are some of the most significant aspects of workflow automation—any software platform worth its salt should offer these.
Many common tasks in a company follow a rote pattern that becomes complicated when it must be manually handled by employees, especially when the process isn’t transparent to everyone involved. However, most workflow automation systems allow you to create visual maps of these tasks that can then be adjusted and modified as needed. This lets everyone in the team stay on the same page. Process maps can be improved, too, by accounting for parallel workflows and using scripting languages to automate particular steps.
By making use of Cloud-based storage and networking, workflow automation systems can enable access to relevant documents for all employees. A major improvement on this, however, is to define what employees have access to based on their roles in a project or department. The security benefits of this functionality are apparent, as documents can contain sensitive information that not everyone should have access to. However, it also simplifies things on the employee’s end when they see just what they need to get the job done.
It’s not enough to perform given tasks; there needs to be regular updates and reports on what’s being done, the progress in a project and what the takeaway from a project’s completion is. With automatic notifications and audits, a project manager remains up-to-date on how everything is progressing and can respond to issues that arise. The automatic generation of audits also provides accountability for one’s work—credit is given where credit is due, and if a mistake is made somewhere, it can be pinpointed.
Integration With Other Services
The “automation” part of workflow automation only really comes into play if the platform can integrate with the rest of the system as necessary, reading and writing data based on defined scripts to perform menial tasks that are time-consuming or error-prone for humans. Workflow solutions from B2B software providers like Mitratech, Integrify or Comindware are at their best when they can seamlessly join with your company’s infrastructure and consolidate data and documents from multiple other applications.
Process mapping, role-based Cloud access, automatic progress updates and audits and the capacity for integration and consolidation are among the most vital services a workflow automation system can provide. Many other features can also be found in such a product, but these form the backbone of any meaningful workflow solution.