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What is Workflow Automation?

What is a Workflow?At Ayehu, we spend a lot of time thinking, talking and writing about workflows. It occurred to us, however, that for some, the concept of a workflow may not be such a huge part of their day to day lives. In fact, many are new to workflows or have only recently begun encountering them. To make things a little bit easier, we thought we’d take a few moments to break down precisely what a workflow is, as well as when and how workflow automation is used to get those who are unfamiliar up to speed.

To start, let’s take a look at the components that must be present in order for an activity to be considered a workflow.

  • It must include a series of predictable steps
  • It must be repetitive
  • Done manually, it must involve 2 or more people

If any of these three things are not present, the activity isn’t a workflow. This makes sense if you think of how workflow automation works by taking a repetitive task and automating its predictable steps so they no longer have to be done manually. The steps of a workflow may be either concurrent or sequential, in which each one depends on the previous.

Now that you know the definition of a workflow, let’s delve into how to actually map one out. Chances are you’re encountering workflows every day, without even realizing it. For instance, if you’ve ever found that you couldn’t complete a particular task because you were waiting for someone else to complete his or her piece of the process, you’re probably taking part in a workflow. To draw one of these out, grab a pen and paper and do the following.

  1. Verify that the three elements listed above are present (to determine whether it is, indeed a workflow)
  2. Determine the purpose of the workflow (i.e. is it meant to increase productivity, speed up a particular process, etc.?)
  3. List out the steps, one by one, from start to completion
  4. Assign a role to each step (who is responsible for ensuring that each component gets completed)
  5. Account for deviations (what happens if one or more steps aren’t completed, or some other scenario arises?)

Once you’ve mapped out the details of a particular workflow, the next step is determining whether that process could be automated. With workflow automation, you can achieve a number of significant benefits right from the start, such as:

  • Maximize efficiency and productivity levels
  • Eliminate mistakes and redundancies
  • Increase speed of processing, which can boost service levels
  • Enhance visibility of progress and establish greater accountability

Of course, the best way to see how beneficial workflow automation can be is to experience it for yourself.

If you’ve taken the steps listed above and mapped out one or more workflows, why not test out how automation can improve the process?

Download your free trial today to get started.





IT Process Automation Survival Guide




5 Ways Workflow Automation Can Save Your Business Money

5 Ways Workflow Automation Can Save Your Business MoneyThere are a lot of things that cut into a business’ profits. One of the biggest is inefficiency. In fact, a lack of efficiency in business processes and workflows can cost an organization as much as 20-30% of its revenue. Imagine what your company could do with even just 10% more money, let alone 30%. So, what’s the best way to overcome this obstacle? Workflow automation is one of the easiest yet most effective tools for maximizing efficiency levels, which means more money in the bank for your company. Here are 5 reasons why.

Eliminates Errors – Even the most careful of employees will be prone to mistakes from time to time, especially if the demands on your human workers are exceeding their capacity. One tiny error can cost your business thousands of dollars, maybe more. Couple this with the time and resources it takes to find and correct said error, and you’ll probably end up in the red. Workflow automation eliminates this problem.

Optimized Processes – Another area that not only causes delays, but also costs your organization money is in task duplication. It’s a huge waste. It’s also incredibly frustrating to your employees. Shifting workflows and businesses processes over to an automation tool, on the other hand, ensures that nobody is duplicating anyone else’s work.

Speed – Simply put, workflow automation is infinitely faster than human workers could ever be. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your employees will no longer be needed. Their duties may just need to be refocused on areas in which technology cannot do all the work. In the meantime, by leveraging an automation tool, all processes that can be streamlined can and will be to achieve optimum efficiency levels.

Do More with Less – This concept is becoming a reality for many organizations these days. How can one increase output while simultaneously improving efficiency and cutting costs, all while maintaining the same staffing levels? What once may have seemed like an impossible task is now completely feasible thanks to workflow automation. Getting more done with the same (or fewer) workers will help keep operational costs down and production levels up.

Fewer Resources – One area many businesses forget to consider when it comes to cutting costs is the amount of resources, such as paper and toner that they use in their day to day operations. These things aren’t cheap. Because workflow automation supports and promotes cloud technology, going paperless (or at least reducing the amount of resources used) is much easier to do. As a result, your organization can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year.

Still not sure if workflow automation is a wise investment? Why not try it for yourself?

We’re so sure you’ll be amazed by how this type of tool can improve your business operations that we’re willing to offer it free for 30 days.

 

Download your free trial today to get started.

 





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




5 Ways to Use Workflow Automation to Transform Your Help Desk

5 Ways to Use Workflow Automation to Transform Your Help DeskThe help desk is somewhat of a necessary evil for most larger organizations. Without such internal functionality, end users would run into regular issues that could significantly impact productivity, and as a result, the company’s bottom line. Yet, perhaps paradoxically, this department is often wrought with bottlenecks and inefficiencies that can actually cost the company money. The good news is, thanks to workflow automation, this function can be transformed for optimum efficiency, providing superior end-user support while maximizing staff skills for the benefit of the company as a whole. Here’s how.

  1. System Integration

    In the interest of time and money, most companies – particularly at the enterprise level – cannot afford to completely replace all of their systems. One of the nice things about workflow automation is that, with the right tool, legacy systems can be easily and seamlessly integrated. That means complete optimization of existing systems for peak performance

  2. Self-Service

    For most help desk issues, time is of the essence – even if it’s a simple password reset. When an end-user is locked out of his or her workstation, productivity doesn’t just suffer, it grinds to a halt. The problem is, when IT personnel are busy putting out other fires, it can inevitably cause costly delays. Workflow automation via a self-service portal allows common issues to be resolved instantly, without the need for help desk intervention.

  3. Automatic Escalations

    With manual escalations, not only are there delays during the process, but important issues can sometimes slip through the cracks. By incorporating workflow automation into your organization’s help desk function, you’ll ensure that any and all serious issues are adequately identified, evaluated and prioritized and that the right party is notified to take action in a timely manner.

  4. Round-the-Clock Monitoring

    Like it or not, your IT personnel can’t be on all the time. Very few organizations can afford to implement multiple shifts to achieve 24/7 coverage. The problem is, critical incidents don’t always occur during normal business hours. This is another area that workflow automation can help, with technology providing round-the-clock monitoring and automatic execution of appropriate actions as needed.

  5. Reduced Errors

    Your IT department might be amazing, but they’re still human and people make mistakes. Unfortunately, when it comes to IT issues, one seemingly minor error can have catastrophic consequences. Because workflow automation handles entire processes electronically, the risk of these types of errors drops to almost zero.

The help desk function will likely never completely go away, but it’s an area that presents ample opportunity for further optimization. Workflow automation can be the missing puzzle piece that pulls everything together and makes your organization’s IT department as efficient and productive as possible, while also improving IT operations across the board.

Could your help desk benefit from workflow automation?

Why not try for yourself by downloading a free 30 day trial?

You’ll be amazed at how powerful and effective this tool can be for your business!





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