Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Automate Your Business Processes

I have a few questions for you; Did any of your colleagues send you a request for approval yesterday? Did you receive an email from him? Have you approved it yet? Do you know on what basis you want to approve or reject his request? Do you know how many requests he has already sent in and what his history is? Is your head spinning right now? Maybe this can help.

Here is how a business process workflow is defined :

“The sequence of industrial, administrative, or other processes through which a piece of work passes from initiation to completion.” (Oxford Dictionary)

Of course, you can get rid of those million different colour coded stickies. Or keep them, if you want. Here’s why automating your business processes are important:

1. Streamline Communication In Your Business Process.

We receive hundreds of emails a day and it is impossible to retain all of the things you need to do in your head. Yes, you might note them down, in Google tasks, stickies or a to-do list of choice. But then you’ll have to remember that you wrote these down. By automating your workflow, you have one streamlined mode of communication, and one common dashboard where all your requests, incoming and outgoing are placed, along with details about which stage in the business process they are at. How difficult is it to click on “Initiate a request” and send in a leave application to your manager? Best part is, you don’t even have to know who the concerning manager is and what her email id is! It’s all done for you. All you have to do is tell her why you won’t be coming in for work, and let the system handle the processing.

2. Enforce Accountability.

By automating your workflow and streamlining communication, it is right there, in front of your eyes, information that tells you who is responsible for what process. Initiations, approvals, rejections, inputs – are all bound to the person who has performed the action. By enabling that level of information transparency in your business process, you enforce accountability on yourself and your colleagues. Excuses like “I missed that mail”, “I lost that memo” and, “oh crap! it landed in my spam” will be things of the past.

3. Minimise Costs Due To Manual Errors and Inefficiency.

To err is human. We may forget payment due dates, or approval deadlines or make payments for services or goods you never received. These might result in direct financial loss in many instances. An automated workflow allows you to minimise these errors. At any point in time, a particular transaction is presented to you in its current state. So if an order is pending and you haven’t received it, you will never make a payment unless it’s state has been updated to “Received”. There will never be a moment again when you will be put to humiliation because of the ‘system’.

4. Develop Insight Into The Evolution and Repercussions of Your Business Process.

Track all your business processes. Imagine you have automated your business process, streamlined your employee base to use this new system and things are flowing smoothly for the last 2 months. Now what would you like to do with all the data that has been accumulating? Wouldn’t you like to know how many requests came in, how many were approved, how many are pending, how to better the business process? Sometimes your business process solves a pain point and encourages your employees to use it. At other times, it simply doesn’t solve the purpose. Since the mode of communication is streamlined and accumulation of data is centralised in an automated workflow tool, you will be provided with insights that will tell you if your current business process is bottling up at some point, if its actually making life easy for your employees or if its making what could otherwise be a simple thing more complicated. This is probably the best input you can have for all your business process management needs.

5. Establish a Clear Approval Hierarchy.

Lets face the truth. The organisation hierarchy is seldom the same as the approval hierarchy for a business process. Without an automated tool you will have mails flying left, right and centre just to figure out the person “in-charge” of approval. Let alone asking him to approve your request! A well implemented business process workflow tool, will not only have these approval hierarchies codified into itself, but will also ensure that each process has its own specific hierarchy as deemed by it. There is no longer a need to track down “Know it all” Dave at the cafeteria to figure out just how in the wide world we can get this approval sorted without having to call in a full company meeting.

Authored by Sharadha, Edited by Kevin Schrader