Workflow Automation software helps companies to enhance overall productivity by cutting down on repetetive, tedious tasks to save time and resources. These solutions can assist various aspects of a business from Sales to Marketing and Customer Service teams by automating recurring tasks while also removing human errors. Read the full software guide...
Workflow automation software gives businesses and organizations the ability to build workflows and assign business processes and tasks to different departments, teams and individual employees.
The term workflow automation refers to the automation, design and execution of key business processes largely based on workflow rules where specific tasks, files and/or data are allotted between employees and departments or smart systems with pre-defined business rules. This category of software makes a wide variety of processes, from simple to complex, easier to manage and maintain. It automatically transforms or transfers data according to pre-defined instructions whenever a user action, an internal signal or a form fill activates the appropriate pre-built triggers.
Workflow automation software allows for a more hands-off approach when dealing with a number of time-consuming, repetitive and integral business processes, resulting in a well-optimized and time-efficient work process. The right automation software can help departments and teams expedite progress across multiple projects and tasks. Some software solutions are even equipped with built-in analytics capabilities designed to highlight possible inefficiencies within existing workflows and established operational processes.
The majority of workflow tools and process automation solutions in the market usually provide users with a certain visual aspect where they can easily build workflows without significant technical know-how or having to code workflow instructions for days and weeks on end. These platforms often use a drag-and-drop interface, a form or a flow chart setup to make things simpler and more efficient for marketing teams, project managers, sales personnel, stakeholders and department heads.
Furthermore, Workflow automation software utilizes rule-based logic to effectively automate manual tasks and processes, such as lead generation and nurturing, data entry and analysis. It is widely used by different departments and teams, from information technology (IT) teams to the admin department and from sales and marketing teams to the finance department.
Workflow automation software can be categorized on their base model, i.e. how the automation software is implemented or sold to customer organizations. With this classification, there are three main types of workflow automation systems you have to consider: the integration-based model, the technology-based model and the feature-based model.
Workflow automation software that follows an integration-based model is a type of automation software system that puts an emphasis on the integration of the workflow tools within other third-party platforms, such as cloud-based task management software or business process management software products that offer a workflow or task automation module. This is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that are still in the process of building their technology stack and want to streamline all software solutions to maximize efficiency and productivity.
This workflow automation approach takes into account the various technology services that are currently available for creating and designing robust workflow solutions. Technology-based workflow automation software is widely used by businesses and organizations across multiple industries, including manufacturing, IT and software development, financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies, logistics, retail, hospitality, legal, warehousing and distribution, just to mention a few. The technology-based model is highly customizable, but it may require a pretty steep investment.
Feature-based workflow automation systems are an incremental software option that comes with various workflow tools and applications capable of delivering basic to slightly advanced, complex process automation solutions. Similar to the technology-based model, this category of workflow automation software can be customized by users to accommodate their unique operational requirements and preferences. This software option is often delivered as a service, commonly referred to as software-as-a-service (SaaS).
There are many different workflow automation software products in the market, especially when it comes to the features, capabilities and specific packages they offer to prospective customer businesses, from basic packages to the more advanced and complex solutions. Businesses that want to find the right automation software that can match their automation requirements and demands should have a clear understanding of what it is they actually want or need to accomplish with the product. This means choosing a software solution based on their specific operational circumstance.
There are several key factors worth considering when choosing the most suitable workflow automation software for your business. The following are some of those major considerations that you have to take into account when evaluating workflow management and automation software for your business processes and tasks:
Cloud-based workflow management and automation software solutions are often the most efficient and practical choice for a lot of organizations, especially with SMBs. Also referred to as SaaS, or software-as-a-service, most cloud-based solutions are cost-effective and do not typically require a hefty upfront cost or initial investment. This is perfectly suited for a lot of small businesses with limited budgets and resources.
Service providers and vendors of cloud-based solutions generally offer different pricing packages for prospective customers to choose from, ranging from basic or standard plans to enterprise-grade custom packages with all the bells and whistles. This approach follows a subscription-based model, so businesses need only to subscribe to their preferred workflow automation software pricing plan and they can begin to build workflows and assign tasks and processes to team members and departments.
When assessing workflow automation software, consider looking into its integration capabilities. Most businesses that are thinking of buying this kind of software are aiming to build workflows and streamline their day-to-day processes. This can also mean they may already be using a comprehensive stack of different business process management software systems and are merely looking to integrate an automation software solution to optimize workflows and task allocation. Hence, you should opt for a solution that can effortlessly integrate with existing third-party software to facilitate the transfer of critical data and other pertinent operations.
Having the ability to create custom workflows is an integral aspect of workflow automation software. It goes without saying that whatever software you pick should allow you to build workflows that are specific to your process automation requirements, especially since not all businesses, teams and departments operate in the same manner.
Businesses can undergo a number of changes as they continue to grow and expand their workforce, their capacity to take on more challenges and their need for more resources. This means the automation software you choose should have the ability to adapt—i.e., to scale up or down—depending on your current needs and demands. For example, having a workflow management software solution that has more modules and tools than you currently need, or use for that matter, is a waste of money and resources.
This is where scalability and flexibility become valuable components of any business process management software in your technology stack. You will have the ability to easily switch to a higher subscription package to match your growing demands or move to downgrade your subscription to save money and perhaps maximize your return on investment (ROI).
Businesses and organizations that have the ability to create workflow automation to match their day-to-day operation can benefit from an increase in efficiency, cost and time savings, as well as fewer occurrences of human errors. There are many other benefits that can be had by simply implementing the right workflow automation software.
Workflow automation can empower employees and individual team members to better manage their time while tackling daily tasks and processes. Workflow management and automation software ensures every team member and every employee in a department is aware of their role and the tasks they are responsible for. Project managers and department heads don’t have to hover over every employee or team member just to make sure they deliver what is asked of them on time.
With better time management and awareness of roles and tasks comes accountability. When you build workflows and then implement proper workflow automation, you effectively assign responsibility to every member of your team. For every step in the workflow process, there is a designated individual tasked with performing and completing a specific set of actions that only they are responsible for. This is how a system of accountability is created and maintained within the workplace.
This is quite possibly one of the biggest benefits of implementing the right workflow automation software. Creating custom workflows and business process automation can help improve internal communication, especially among team members, project collaborators and departmental personnel. It can reduce the rate of employee turnover, since there are better and more streamlined communication channels between employees and management.
Workflow automation software can help reduce errors as it ensures visibility of all necessary tasks and business processes. No important task will ever go unnoticed. This is mainly because every team member or personnel involved in the process is responsible and will be held accountable for their assigned role. Essentially, employees can’t claim ignorance or make the “no one told me” excuse if they fail to do the task assigned to them.
|API||Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.|
|Batch Permissions & Access||Control user or group access and permission settings for software or other systems.|
|Contact Management||Manage large amounts of personal or business contacts in a centralized system.|
|Dashboard||Dashboards are digital interfaces commonly used to visualise data or give quick access to important features and functions of online platforms. They often serve as an overview gateway in software applications.|
|Data Export||Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.|
|Data Import||Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.|
|Data Visualization||Data visualization features render a visual interpretation of data sets through the use of charts, infographics and other visual cues generally in form of a reporting dashboard.|
|External Integrations||Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.|
|Inventory Tracking||Stay on top of inventory levels, to manage the storing, reordering or production of stock items.|
|Marketing Automation||Automate marketing processes, such as outreach emails, customer engagement, chat replies through the use of chatbots and others.|
|Notifications||Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.|
|Project Management||Manage projects from conception through the planning stage to delivery and post-project reporting phases. This allows organisation teams to organise resources, plan budgets and improve efficiency in the delivery of project objectives.|
|Sales Automation||Sales automation refers to the automation and streamlining of various sales processes to standardize business functions.|
|Supplier Management||Manage suppliers and purchases required in the day-to-day operation of a business.|
|Third-Party Plugins/Add-Ons||Offers additional features or integrations built by third-party developers in form of plugins or add-ons.|
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