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How to get more done with workflow automation

From customer support staff to CEOs, almost all business professionals spend too much of their workdays—up to half of it—on unproductive, redundant, manual processes that could be automated. Routine, time-consuming tasks make employees at every level less efficient, but smart businesses use workflow automation to help everybody work more effectively.

Workflow automation is the heart of modern business management, and it’s driven by continuously improving technology and rapid innovation. As more companies start to infuse automation into their business processes and realize its benefits, the market for workflow automation is only going to grow. As the technology becomes more prevalent and sophisticated, more businesses will use workflow automation to build streamlined, efficient ways of working, disrupting multiple industries and creating competitive advantages in their markets.

What is workflow automation?

By using the workflow automation software that’s right for your business, you can replace manual processes such as data entry, social media updates, and email replies with streamlined, automated workflows that save time, reduce errors so that you spend less time correcting mistakes, and help employees focus on more strategic, impactful work.

With workflow automation, you’ll even digitize and optimize paper-based business processes like ordering inventory or responding to requests for approvals. Anywhere your business encounters repetitive manual tasks, you can use workflow automation to help make those processes more successful.

Effective workflow automation in five easy steps

With the right software, automating manual processes can be simple and hugely beneficial. To effectively eliminate inefficient, manual tasks and transform how your business works, you need to know which processes are holding you back, understand your automation options, manage adoption, provide training, and measure your success.

Use these five easy steps to automate your workflows:

  1. Pick your processes. Identify the procedures that are inefficient, overly complicated, or too costly, and then rank them and choose your top candidates for automation.
  2. Do your research. How have other organizations automated similar processes? Consider your choices for building and implementing automated workflows—will you call in IT professionals, or can citizen developers in your company use a low-code workplace automation tool to build their own powerful automated workflows?
  3. Manage change and drive adoption. After launching your new workflows, it’s important to make sure they’re adopted across the company—the more people who use automated workflows, the more effective they’ll be.
  4. Communicate with and train your employees. Make sure everyone knows that new tools are in place to help make their working lives easier. Provide the documentation and training they need to make adoption easy.
  5. Evaluate and refine. Immediately start to measure the success of your new processes. By keeping track of predetermined key performance indicators, the effectiveness of automated workflows will become clear, and you’ll be able to make appropriate adjustments.

Empower brilliance with workflow automation software

Now that you know what workflow automation is, consider how you can achieve it and the value it will help you generate. The easiest way to bring workflow automation to your business is through workflow automation software or a cloud-based workflow automation service.

Power to the right people

These technologies put the power to develop innovative workflows into the hands of the people who know your business best: Your employees, who experience firsthand the processes that can be accelerated and improved with automation. It doesn’t have to be difficult. In most businesses, almost every employee can be a citizen developer using low-code or no-code automation technology to create powerful workflows.

It’s important to look for a workflow automation solution that’s intuitive, easy to use, and flexible. Ideally, you want a technology with prebuilt connectors that allows you to incorporate a range of applications into your workflows.

Another way to optimize business processes is by using a low-code app development technology to help engineers, ordinary business users, or company leaders build the mobile apps they need to stay connected, work productively, and meet opportunities—without having to rely on professional developers.

Workflows in the cloud

Keep in mind that cloud-based automation tools offer benefits over their on-premises counterparts, including improved scalability and a high degree of security. Also, workflow automation software should work in conjunction with the existing business analytics tools in your company, making it easy to monitor the performance of the automated workflows.

Finally, workflow automation software with mobile capabilities will allow employees to securely automate workflows from anywhere, at any time.

How it works

With workflow automation, users set a trigger for a series of actions. For example, when a new employee is hired, an automated workflow can be created to immediately send that employee a welcome email and guide them through the process of filling out the correct new-hire paperwork.

Users define the series of tasks that are necessary to complete common business processes. After definition, the automated workflow will carry out the assigned actions whenever the specified trigger occurs.

Discover better ways to work

Empower everyone to created automated solutions so they can make the most of their workday with Microsoft Power Automate. Employ flows—what Power Automate calls workflow automation—to start helping every employee free themselves from repetitive, time-consuming tasks and create a more strategic, dynamic workplace.