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6 Ways Workflow Automation Benefits Your Business

CAFM

11/11/21 | Rebecca Drewett

Discover the value of workflow automation software to modern organisations, removing unnecessary manual tasks and streamlining business operations.

How much of your workday is dedicated to manual processes that you are convinced could be automated?

Despite the rapid evolution of AI technology, many companies persist with manual tasks that sap productivity, burn through resources and send employees to sleep.

Just consider the following:

  • In a survey of 2,000 work activities, approximately 45% could be automated (McKinsey)

  • 74% of business leaders and employees believe parts of their job could be automated (WorkMarket)

  • Employees spend 20-40% of their time manually searching for documents (Imaginovation)

These statistics merely scratch the surface of the problem. Too many organisations still rely on time-consuming, repetitive tasks to function day-to-day – and this has a noticeable impact on their overall performance.

To break through the bottlenecks associated with manual processes, now is the time for businesses globally to embrace the benefits of workflow automation software. Below we will showcase the advantages of automation and how project planning for all types of tasks can be applied in companies of all shapes and sizes.

What is workflow automation software?

Workflow automation is when business processes can be launched and executed without the need for any human intervention. By applying rule-based logic, each step of a task can automatically be routed to the relevant people and systems needed for it to be completed.

Emails are sent to employees, clients and customers. Reminders are organised. Tasks are always scheduled. Announcements are published. All this and more is made possible with workflow-related project management software – without anyone in your team pushing a single button.

Through these pre-built rules, organisations can eliminate many of the manual tasks and paper-based processes that were the bane of their employees’ lives. This means improved productivity, reduced costs and overall better experiences for team members, customers and more.

How does workflow automation work?

Most workflow automation software will be based on a range of if/then rules and statements, which depending on the answer will trigger the next task.

The best forms of workflow automation technology will make it easy to set up these business rules. For instance, FSI's workflow automation module employs a straightforward drag-and-drop interface that users can effortlessly tweak and adapt as their business evolves.

As an example, consider the workflow process behind a cleaning task within your facilities:

  • An employee logs the problem with their helpdesk

  • The task is immediately created and scheduled in your facilities management software

  • It is then assigned to a relevant cleaner, who is automatically notified about the job

  • Reminders are sent to the cleaner prior to the time attached to the cleaning job

  • The cleaner is sent any resources or materials they require relating to this task

  • Once the job is completed, they sign it off on their device, instantly informing the employee and helpdesk that the task is done

  • The task is then immediately logged as complete and taken out of the active schedule

This is just one example of process automation that can be achieved through this software. The vast majority of departments can apply this to different areas of their work:

Facilities management

  • Creating and tracking maintenance tasks

  • Immediate alerts relating to business problems or incidents

  • Sharing health and safety notices or updates

  • Updating asset management data

Human resources

  • Automating recruitment processes

  • Publishing important HR announcements

  • Streamlining onboarding experiences

  • Checking compliance on project tasks

Finance

  • Scheduling payments for recurring invoices

  • Automating payroll management

  • Integrating data between accounting systems

  • Maintaining suitable stock levels

Sales

  • Building lists of potential leads

  • Guiding leads from start to finish

  • Sending emails for stronger customer service

  • Receiving regular reports and analysis

Marketing

  • Collaborating with content departments globally

  • Overseeing campaigns in real-time

  • Establishing consistent nurture journeys

  • Installing more efficient approval processes

6 benefits of introducing workflow automation systems

1. Faster task management and completion

First and foremost, introducing workflow automation software lays the foundation for a more efficient, productive organisation.

By cutting down time-consuming tasks, be it the number of helpdesk phone calls or manually updating data, employees will have more time to devote to critical tasks.

This increased productivity can have a knock-on effect on many areas of the business:

  • Less need to hire additional employees to fulfil automatable tasks

  • Employees can accomplish more every day without having to stay late, boosting their satisfaction levels

  • Workflow redundancies can be identified and removed faster

  • Tasks are conducted faster, leaving a better impression on clients and customers

  • Resource management is handled much more efficiently

80% of business leaders believe that employees could save up to 60 hours a month through workflow automation (WorkMarket)

2. Better possibilities for strategic thinking

Furthermore, the additional time unlocked by workflow automation can be utilised by management teams to guide their companies forward. Rather than be caught up in the minutiae of manual tasks, business leaders can concentrate on the bigger picture.

In addition, access to a solution that consistently monitors workflow performance allows companies to harness this insight for data-driven decisions. Instead of relying on gut instinct or guesswork, teams will have the information they require to determine their next steps.

This will also give management clearer visibility over their workflows than they would ever have had when processes were primarily manual. They will be in a better position to spot issues and promptly rectify these, which may have dragged on for months or years without this oversight.

Nearly 20% of CEOs’ time is dedicated to work that could be automated (McKinsey)

3. Clearer company-wide communication

A high-quality workflow automation system will actively centralise all company communications. Rather than resort to a confusing array of emails, webmails and post-it notes, this will enable comms to flow smoothly and seamlessly.

From urgent health and safety notices to critical updates related to certification, everything can be tracked and cached in one place. This not only streamlines activities and boosts performance, but also leaves a definitive digital trail that companies can use for reference to ensure accountability.

In addition, paperwork can be substantially reduced across an organisation. This both reduces the chances of critical information being lost and improves its environmental credentials.

4. Reduced human error

We are all capable of making mistakes. The more manual tasks that a company relies upon, the more likely they are to fall victim to these on a frequent basis. This could include:

  • Failing to pass on a message or email, causing a task to be ignored

  • Not updating a spreadsheet with the latest asset data

  • Poorly writing notes or messages, meaning they are difficult to decipher

  • Not informing people when a task has been completed or requires assistance

  • Not ordering required stock, meaning it runs out entirely

These can result in additional expenses, loss of productivity and potential compliance issues. However, automating the process of assigning tasks, logging data and communicating with employees, the possibilities for human error are greatly reduced.

This means more consistent performance and operational efficiency, and fewer chances for this to be derailed by an unfortunate mistake or oversight.

52% of business leaders believe workflow automation leads to a noticeable reduction in manual errors (WorkMarket)

5. More scalable business process management

If companies with an abundance of manual processes want to scale up, their options are limited. They can either hire more employees, increasing overheads, or increase their current team’s workload, which can affect their happiness. Both approaches also increase the risk of mistakes.

With good work management systems in place, scaling becomes far simpler. As more repetitive tasks can occur at once and with minimal human input, less manual labour is required. Not only does this improve their job satisfaction, but it enables companies to scale up without significantly expanding their workforce.

This benefit is enhanced by having the right solution in place. At FSI, our workflow automation software does not lock you into the configuration you selected from the outset. Instead, you can adapt this at any time to support your development. This ensures that you will have the ideal app alongside you now and in the future.

6. Stronger customer service and engagement

Finally, improved automation inside an organisation can have a dramatic impact on customer experiences.

Automated management tools will result in fewer errors and delays to services and business processes. This means work is more likely to be delivered accurately and on time, keeping customers satisfied and encouraging repeat business.

From immediate responses to customer complaints to preprogrammed marketing campaigns, workflow automation greatly strengthens a company’s ability to communicate with its audience.

38% of firms are trying to enhance workflows with the aim of improving customer satisfaction (BPTrends)

Is workflow automation suitable for all businesses?

As highlighted earlier, workflow automation systems can help practically all departments in an organisation work smarter, not harder. That means that, regardless of size, scale or industry any business can harness this software and feel the benefits to productivity and employee wellbeing.

If you are wondering how and where workflow automation can support your own business processes, try the following exercise:

  • Ask your employees what tasks they perform each day that are repetitive or mundane

  • Gauge your workforce’s opinion on automation – are they for or against it?

  • Define business goals and KPIs relating to each repetitive task identified – speed, costs, number of workers, etc.

  • Establish a potential workflow, listing the tasks that would need to be fulfilled for that task to be completed

Discover the benefits of workflow automation

We hope this has given you a greater understanding of the importance of workflow automation in today’s landscape. Persisting with unnecessary manual processes can have a damaging effect on productivity, efficiency and overall performance.

By taking the step to identify and design automated workflows, your business will run smoother, and can be rid of boring, repetitive tasks for good.

At FSI, our workflow automation app adapts to your exact business needs. Whether you need to capture every detail at a granular level, or prefer a simpler, top-line system, you get to make those calls yourself. The system moulds around your business, not the other way around.

Get in touch today to learn how you can reap the benefits of workflow automation.