Workflow automation – using software to automate the flow of tasks, documents, and information used in a business process – is a worthwhile tool for any business, and is invaluable over the long term.
With the pressure of never-ending to-do lists, workflow automation can help reduce the time spent on repetitive processes, making teams more productive and efficient. When everyday work gets done faster, people are freed up 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 costs 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 of 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Instead of forgetting to send that email or attaching an outdated file, you only need to give authorization and the work gets moved forward.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 skilled at doing, 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 will only proceed if certain conditions are met. With business rules in place, human error is minimized.
Long term, fewer errors mean more satisfied employees and customers, which ultimately drives 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 their process-heavy, document-heavy, and regulation-heavy natures, making these verticals 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 team member, every time.
Long term, when risks are mitigated by standard workflows and automations of those workflows, compliance penalties can be largely avoided.
Business risk is a process problem.
3. Time savings
With workflow automation handling repetitive processes, employees save time. One of the best examples of time-saving is in hospitals.
For instance, if you get injured and go to the hospital in certain regions, the doctor may prescribe your medication before moving on to help other patients. The nurse then goes to the computer, enters the prescription for billing, and brings you the dosage to take.
Sometime that day, the nurse must 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 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. Cost reduction
Saving time leads to reduced costs. This 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 can 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 frees employees up to work on tasks they like, and that means higher levels of motivation and greater productivity.
Long term, as business costs continue to escalate, shaving expenses from operations wherever possible ensures market competitiveness and company longevity.
5. Scale easily
At first, workflow automation can seem daunting. But as you learn the software and get more comfortable with it, further possibilities will become evident across the organization.
Many Nintex customers say that once they begin building workflows, they can’t stop, as they become aware of how many processes they can automate in each department. Each team 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 even simpler to automate repetitive work and reap all five of these long-term benefits.
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 was 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 waiting for IT.
Workflow automation: For now and for the long term
Now that workflow automation is part of day-to-day business practices, it’s here to stay.
Both today 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 a 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 Automation Cloud you can build advanced workflows in minutes to progress tasks and talk with enterprise systems, using clicks, not code.
Request a demo of Nintex Automation Cloud and see how workflow automation can help you!