Workflow Automation Software: What Does It Do?
A workflow is simply a way of doing things. You have “workflows” for getting the kids out the door to school in the morning, for changing the oil in your car, and for the many tasks you take care of at work. Sometimes businesses develop workflows organically, which can be great at first, when everything is done on a smaller scale. But workflows don’t always scale up well, and trying to use the same process to get 400 orders shipped that you used when you only had to ship 40 may be highly inefficient.
Workflow automation software can help. Companies in every industry use workflow automation software to define, map, automate, and refine workflows so that they’re most efficient. Workflow automation software helps you make the processes you use every day more efficient and less error-prone.
Signs Workflow Automation Software Would Benefit Your Organization
While most businesses can benefit from workflow automation software, if you want to be really sure, look for the following signs that your workflow processes are not optimal:
• Employees spend a disproportionate amount of time on “low-value” tasks like searching for documents or manually transferring papers.
• Workflow isn’t steady: some employees are slammed, while others don’t seem to have enough to do.
• Processes reach bottlenecks because decision-makers are needed, but hard to find at the right time.
• Employees avoid some tasks, and it’s holding your business back from reaching its goals.
If you notice these phenomena, particularly if you notice more than one of them, it’s a good sign your organization could benefit from workflow automation software.
An Example of Automating a Workflow
Suppose you still use the same workflow for business travel reimbursement that you did when the company was only made up of three people. An employee returns from a conference or client meeting with a pocket full of miscellaneous receipts and sits down with a business travel expense form. He fills out the form to the best of his recollection, attaches receipts, then puts it on the desk of whoever processes travel reimbursement. That person reconciles the form with the receipts, and if there are no problems, approves it and delivers the form to Accounts Payable, where a reimbursement check is cut.
When you automate the workflow, particularly if you make it mobile-friendly, an employee can submit electronic receipts, or even phone snaps of receipts. She can enter expenses as she encounters them, or during a boring airport layover. By the time she’s back in the office, the electronic travel reimbursement form has been approved by the appropriate employee (who received an email alert that a new travel reimbursement request had arrived), and Accounts Payable has received the approved form and is ready to cut a check or perform a direct deposit.
Flexibility Lets You Adapt Workflow Software to Countless Tasks
Workflow automation software should be highly flexible, so you can easily adapt it to any number of tasks. Common workflows that organizations automate include things like IT help requests, new employee on-boarding, requests for paid time off, expense reporting, and fleet vehicle reservation. There’s essentially no limit to the ways good workflow automation software can be put to work making processes more efficient and cutting down on errors and miscommunications.
Programming Ability Not Required
The best news is you do not have to know how to write programming code to make workflow automation software do amazing things. With a user-friendly solution like PerfectForms, you drag and drop elements into place to create online forms, and then connect them into logical workflows, where forms are automatically routed to the proper recipient, who can then be alerted by email that his or her input is required. PerfectForms even lets you make processes mobile-friendly, so if a decision-maker is out of the office, he can approve or deny a request using a smartphone or tablet.
Efficient processes that are error-free benefit organizations of any size, in any industry. PerfectForms makes it easy and affordable with cloud-hosted software that’s intuitive to use and that interacts with web pages, spreadsheets, and other software, with no programming required. Better still, you can try PerfectForms for free and see for yourself how to automate and streamline workflows. There’s virtually no limit to the number of work processes that can be improved with powerful workflow automation software like PerfectForms.