Basic Concepts: Workflow Automation

For most businesses today, well-managed (and easy to set up) processes and workflow automation is the long-term dream. Cutting out all of those simple, yet time consuming, tasks that you wish you could avoid having to do altogether, but need to get done, is something every business needs to be able to do if they want to start making the most out of its hours count.

In order to make this a “possible dream”, though, you need to understand the importance process automation has and, therefore, grasp the overall concept of workflow automation.

When using a workflow system, you can take care of menial and simplistic tasks, as well as putting together combinations of data inputs that will allow you to handle all but the most challenging aspects of your business. The simplest and most trivial tasks, the ones you wish could be done without having to put direct human effort into it, are the ones workflow automation is all about.

What does workflow automation mean?

Workflow automation is, in the simplest way of putting it, a way to help everyone in your business save time. Automating tasks means simply you’ll find a way to avoid wasting time by having a “machine “do trivial tasks for you, such as sending e-mails, distributing tasks or creating alerts.

Workflow automation is a great way to help you handle things such as resources and basic internal scenarios, for its processes normally come with a lot of data to help you follow up on your progress. This makes it easier for businesses to cut back on wastage, improve performance and grow their revenue streams for the long-term.

How does workflow automation work?

To understand how workflow automation works, though, you need to understand how it gets included in a process, so we’ll use a simple to understand example that’ll help you look at your workflows and decide which tasks could be automated.

Let’s say your company sells laptops, having a successful workflow automation process in place would help ensure that it went like this:

  • A customer calls up/goes on your website/go to see a sales rep to make an order for your latest laptop;
  • The sales rep will take their order on the phone, in person or online, automatically creating a new task card (if you’re using Pipefy, the public form option is a great way to go for getting info from your customer directly into your process);
  • Your customer processing team will then take the order, automatically assigned to them in this phase of the process and hand it over to the fulfillment team;
  • The fulfillment team will prepare the order and pack it up, leaving it ready to ship it out;
  • The shipping agent will pick up the laptop and deliver it to the customer.

This is a very simple process, about as simple as a workflow can be, but it’s made very effective through the automation of the steps.

Workflow automation will ensure that all the steps in this process will come together smoothly, as well as making sure each phase is happening as fast and as simple as possible. Coordinating this process can be improved through the use of workflow management tools, making sure the entire process will be handled in a much shorter period of time than it would have been in the past.

Everyone needed in each specific phase of your processes will have access to the workloads of each task and also timelines and dates to work by that have to be met, ensuring that co-operation across the company becomes far more common. It also ensures that senior management can view the progress of any and all events within the business and help out when anything ever finds itself held up along the way.

Using workflow automation through a workflow management tool that allows you to do so, such as Pipefy, minimizes the risk of failure and maximizes efficiency. All of this will ensure your previously set timeline targets can be achieved and also will help people know exactly what job they need to carry out for that specific task.

Automating your workflows makes it much easier for you to start preparing and planning each part of your business in the right manner.

Automate your workflows with Pipefy!

Try Pipefy! We help companies keep organised and more productive by running their processes and day-by-day routines on an easy and intuitive tool, making them leave in the past inefficient manual forms, spreadsheets and email threads.

Pipefy allows you to connect and automate simple tasks through the use of very useful workflow management tools, such as e-mail templates.

Written by Isabelle Salemme, Product content manager at Pipefy. She uses her extensive Pipefy knowledge to write informative pieces teaching users to make the best of Pipefy. Besides being responsible for all product-related content, she's an avid reader, a coffee lover and a professional photographer.