Once they have buy-in from the C-suite and employees, managers often think launching a workflow automation program is smooth sailing. Yet the implementation period is a key make-or-break time that can influence the success of a company’s automation efforts.
If you want your workflow automation program to stick, here are some insights and tips that can help you on your automation journey.
Choose the right software, not the most popular
Type “workflow automation software” into a search engine and you’ll receive over 11 million results. Sifting through that noise can be overwhelming, but the guiding principle in selecting a automation tool is: Will this software work for my team and my company? You may be swayed by minimalist user interfaces or fun features, but function and compatibility shouldn’t be left by the wayside.
As you weigh options, try looking for a ready made solution to your workflow needs. If you require something that will quickly cut down your operational processes, then look for a more specialized business process automation tool instead of bending over backwards to make a more well-known program work for you.
See more than one software that you like? Then create a testing team made up of employees from different departments with distinct technological capabilities and backgrounds. By having a wide variety of technical and non-technical employees from your company demo products, you’ll see which products appeal to specific end-users, helping you find that just-right automation software. Through several rounds of testing, you’ll have full confidence that you’re picking a tool that can actually make impact on your entire firm’s productivity—not just your own.
Fully understand the process that you will be automating (and optimize)
Once you’ve picked out the tool that’s right for your team, turn your attention to your company’s processes. As you plug in your workflows into the program, make sure you fully understand the reasoning behind your infrastructures—then optimize them. Ask yourself: Are these processes as streamlined as they could be? Can these approval requests be sent at the same time? Does my team actually fully understand these processes and timelines? By analyzing your current workflows, you can see what’s working and what’s not so you’re not in the dark when you create the framework for new standards.
Create a gameplan for training
No one likes change and implementing a new software company-wide can be a huge undertaking for everyone involved. As you create your implementation plan, make sure to include training and change management strategies that keep employees excited and informed. Depending on your company’s size and capabilities, training can be done through a number of different channels. You can train a beta team of managers that will become the champions and thought leaders for your automation initiative. Or, you can build training sessions for employees to learn and to share their questions and concerns. As long as training is a priority, employees will be more likely to use the new software.
Make sure you have a security plan
If this is your company’s first foray into digital processes, it is imperative that you create security protocols. Make sure to do deep research into the necessary security protocols that are required for your industry and choose vendors that you trust and meets your company’s needs. If your company is in investment banking, make sure the vendors you choose have the necessary capabilities and experience that can help your financial data safe.
If you have the proper security framework, use data encryption and follow best practices, you can rest easy knowing that your new digital processes won’t be susceptible to attacks.
Don’t expect it to be right from the get-go
Once you have your workflow automation tool up and running and your team has been trained, your new workflows are magically going to transform your company into a productivity juggernaut, right? Probably not. You’ll get there eventually, but expect a couple of kinks along the way. Maybe Laura from finance is creating one too many templates or Bill is accidentally editing the wrong workflows. As long as you monitor, measure and address any possible hiccups, you can maintain your automation program’s effectiveness.
By following these guidelines, you’re well on your way to implementing a workflow automation solution that’s built for success.