What is Workflow Automation?


In the corporate world, it seems like there’s a new buzzword every week. Oftentimes, people can have different interpretations of business terminology, which makes it difficult to stay on the same page. So what is workflow automation? It’s basically a way of taking your company’s processes, defining the steps that are involved, and setting up automated actions to make them structured and repeatable. Workflow automation streamlines manual and paper-based processes to increase productivity and efficiency in the workplace.

Why Companies Use Workflow Automation

In addition to enhancing productivity and efficiency, automation saves you time and money. When you automate your workflows, everything is executed quickly. Think about the time it takes for you to get approvals or how long you wait for a form to be returned. What could you do with the amount of time wasted sifting through emails to find the information you need? How much quicker would your business processes take if all of the information was located in one place?

Companies are realizing the need to take their manual or paper-based processes digital. In a recent survey by AIIM, signatures proved to be a serious concern.

“One notorious process bottleneck that can be speeded up by use of mobile tablets is that of the approval signature, which may be a process confirmation, a payments approval, a professional sign-off, a customer contract or a patient consent. We found in a previous AIIM survey, that for 40% of organizations, half or more of their electronic workflows are interrupted by physical sign-offs, generally requiring multiple paper copies to be printed.”

This roadblock in the process causes an unnecessary strain on production.

Signs You’re Ready for Automation

If your workflows take an excessive amount of time to complete, you need a more efficient solution. How do you know when your processes are lacking? Some of the telltale signs include:

  • You don’t have a designated approval route for each process.
  • Forms take longer than they should process.
  • Obtaining necessary information is time-consuming.
  • Vital information gets lost in the paper trail.
  • You spend a lot of time on process follow-up.

While productivity is one of the primary reasons companies choose automation, there are many department-specific benefits as well. It’s important to determine what your biggest goals are for process automation so you know what to focus on.

Selecting the Appropriate Workflow Automation Software

Companies often seek out a web-based tool for help instead of developing their own solution. Search for the best tool for your unique business needs. Looking for workflows that accommodate digital signatures? More focused on fillable form capabilities? What about the ability to integrate with your CRM? These are all important considerations to take into account.

In addition, you’ll want to analyze your current business processes to pinpoint what works and what doesn’t. Learn more about business process automation in our recent blog post. Once you’ve identified the strengths and weaknesses in your process, you’re ready to select your solution.

Start your research with OnTask. Schedule a customized demo today to learn how we can help you manage your business processes more efficiently.