The numerous benefits of automation can significantly enhance the efficiency of all of your company's workflow processes. In order to effectively integrate automation into your workflow processes, you need to understand how to do it in the first place. That being said, here is how to use automated workflows:
Find out where the holes in your current workflow processes are
The purpose of using automation is to improve efficiency. This starts with finding where the holes in your current workflow processes are. For example, if an employee is required to make a vacation request through their direct supervisor, there could be a problem: what is the employee supposed to do when the supervisor is not available?
You must search for issues like this that can be fixed with automation (with an automated workflow, an eForm will forward the vacation request to the manager's delegate, so that the chain of command is not broken).
Use automated workflows to fill the holes in your current workflow processes
Now that you know where the problems with your current workflows are, it is time to use your automation solutions to fix it. Here are the five things that you need to do:
1. Focus on enhancing one workflow process at a time
In order to fully optimize your workflows with automation, you will have to approach each one independently. Trying to blindly update all of your workflows with a universal approach that worked for one workflow will cause confusion and reduce the effectiveness of your automation overhaul.
2. Create a visual map for the best path for your automated workflows
A visual map will make the purpose and direction of each workflow you automate much clearer. When creating your maps use clearly defined symbols that are universally used across all workflow maps to enhance clarity. For example, you could use green ovals to signify the starting and ending points of a workflow process.
3. Make sure that any workflows you automate can be clearly understood
Remember that you will not be the only one using the new workflows. Make sure that your explanation of the new workflows are very clear. If it is not clear, then the implementation will be a rocky process.
4. Be concise
In addition to being clear, you also want to be able to communicate how your newly automated workflows work quickly. This allows for faster implementation of your new workflows.
5. Double check to ensure that your process makes sense
You do not want to waste your time trying to use a workflow automation that is not logical. If you have to go back to the drawing board, then you should do so before you try to integrate it into your daily routines. Here are the questions that you need to ask yourself before approving a new workflow automation for implementation:
Has my new workflow process created any holes that were not there before?
Does my new workflow process fill the holes that were already there?
Does my workflow map make sense?
Do I have the automation solutions that I need to implement this new workflow?
If you are not sure after asking yourself these questions, then you should get a second pair of eyes to take a look at everything.
Taking the steps discussed in this article will make switching from manual to automated workflows easy.
Do not dilute the effectiveness of your workflow automation with poor execution. Take heed of the steps discussed in this article. To learn more about how to get the most out of workflows, stay tuned for our upcoming webinar.