5 long-term workflow automation benefits
Workflow automation – using software to automate the flow of tasks, documents, and information used in a business process – is a valuable tool for any business and invaluable over the long term.
Everyone has work that must get done, and workflow automation helps reduce the time that needs to be spent on repetitive processes, making employees more productive and efficient. With workflow automation, everyday work gets done faster, freeing employees to spend more time on strategic, higher value tasks.
In many organizations, workflow automation saves thousands of manual work hours and millions of dollars in unnecessary cost every year.
Below are five long-term benefits of using workflow automation:
1. Fewer Errors
There is one thing even a well-managed company can’t escape: human error. It is impossible to anticipate, and when it happens, companies spend time and money fixing it.
Human error can never be completely eliminated in the workforce, but we can make it more avoidable.
Workflow automation can send requests to group members that require a human response to move the process forward. This can range from a simple accept/reject button, to a detailed comment. These easy tasks reduce the chance for human error.
Instead of forgetting to send that email or attaching an outdated file, you only need to give authorization and the work gets moved forward. Employees can focus on the work they are trained to do, and their automated workflows can handle the repetitive tasks.
Additionally, business rules within workflows can provide guardrails on what data is acceptable or not, and flows can only proceed if certain conditions are met. With business rules in place, human error is minimized.
Long-term, fewer errors means more satisfied employees and customers, which ultimately drives longer term growth.
2. Less Risk
Workflow automation can also reduce risk and ensure compliance with industry and government regulations. When employees follow documented, automated processes, the risk of something going wrong is minimized.
Industries such as government, banking, financial services, and healthcare are especially prone to risk, due to the process heavy, document heavy, regulation heavy nature of these industries. These verticals are ripe for automated workflows.
Workflow automation can automate and streamline processes, digitize document creation and information capture, and ensure all regulations are followed by every employee, every time.
Long-term, when risks are mitigated by standard workflows and automations of those workflows, compliance penalties can be largely avoided.
3. Saves Time
With workflow automation handling repetitive processes, employees save time. One of the best examples of time-saving is in hospitals.
Say you get injured and go to the hospital. The doctor prescribes your medication and leaves to help other patients. The nurse goes to the computer, enters the prescription for billing, and brings you the dosage to take. Sometime that day, the nurse must go track down the same doctor to sign a slip confirming administration of that specific drug and dosage.
These are called voice order authorizations (VOA), and must be done for every patient who is prescribed medication. Some hospitals even have specific people whose job is to take these VOAs and track down doctors for their signatures.
Workflow automation is already solving this problem.
Hospitals can utilize workflows that trigger when a nurse enters the drug information for billing. After that, the workflow sends a notification directly to the doctor’s phone to confirm or deny the dosage on the spot. Administrative and nursing staff don’t need to spend time away from patients, doctors have more freedom, and the whole system is faster.
In the long-term, doctors and nurses hone their skills with patients and waste less time on administrative work. (Here are some other benefits of workflow automation for healthcare organizations.)
4. Reduces Cost
Saving time leads to reduced costs around the execution of business processes.
Reducing costs can take different forms. Workflow automation can result in greater productivity and throughput from existing team members, for example customer-facing workflows that used to take hours to complete now only take minutes, allowing room for company growth without having to hire more headcount.
Workflow automation can also result in cost savings through team size reduction or the reallocation of team members to other projects. Many organizations find that after implementing workflow automation, they are able to terminate contract labor, which reduces overall operational costs and improves company profitability.
Most employees pursue and remain at jobs that empower them to do work that matters to them. Creating calendar events and managing long email chains is not the kind of work engineers want to spend time on, for example. Workflow automation lets employees spend time on work they like, and that means more motivation and higher productivity.
Long-term, with always escalating business costs, shaving cost from operations wherever possible ensures longer term market competitiveness and company longevity.
Watch the Nintex webinar How 5 Companies Cut Costs Through Workflow Automation.
5. Easily Scalable
At first, workflow automation can seem daunting. But as you learn the software and get more comfortable with it, more possibilities come to mind across the organization.
Many Nintex customers say that once they begin building workflows, they can’t stop as they realize all the processes they can automate in each department. Each department has different needs, but all can benefit from workflow automation.
Legal could automate sales contracts, finance could automate PTO requests and HR could automate employee onboarding. There are dozens of potential workflows in each and every department of an organization.
Once a simple workflow is created, more can be added on as needed. Workflow automation also becomes easier to learn the longer you use it. Over time, it becomes easier to automate repetitive work and reap all the long-term benefits this blog describes.
Fixing problems becomes easier, too.
Previously, if you had a software issue, you would contact IT. If they happen to be busy, then your solution would get delayed. With workflow automation, you build the system so you understand how it works and what to change.
This translates to employees who understand the programs they use and are empowered to fix and improve them, all without depending on IT.
Workflow Automation: For Now and the Long-Term
Now that workflow automation is part of day-to-day business practices, it’s here to stay.
Both now and over the long-term, workflow automation reduces errors and risk, saves time and cost, and is easy to scale across the organization. Every business strives for these results, and workflow automation provides them. A successful company needs to focus on the short-term but plan for the long-term. And the value a company gains with workflow automation is immediate and only improves over time.
Your company is in it for the long haul, and workflow automation is, too.
Nintex Automation Cloud is Nintex’s workflow automation solution, delivering easy-to-use, powerful software to automate and orchestrate all your business processes for lower costs, faster operations, and happier customers and employees. With Nintex Automation Cloud you can build advanced workflows in minutes that progress tasks and talk with enterprise systems–with clicks, not code.
Request a demo of Nintex Automation Cloud and see how workflow automation can help you!