Imagine for a moment that you’ve just invested in new software for your business. It doesn’t do everything you need it to, so you approach the vendor for suggestions.
Their advice? Hire a full-time developer. You consider the costs, and quickly decide that another full-time salary with benefits just isn’t in the cards right now. Which means, of course, that you’re back to square one.
Or are you?
Not long ago, outdoor lifestyle manufacturer Yeti faced this exact situation. The company needed a better way to manage its flow of data with customers and dealers. But rather than spend $80,000 to create a new developer position, the team decided to try out a different solution first.
The solution Yeti ultimately adopted turned out to be a huge success. Suddenly, the company was able to collect important information from the company’s website and have it routed to the right employees. The team's problem was solved. Set up was quick and easy, and it cost them a fraction of what they would have paid in developer fees.
So, what was this new solution?
If you haven’t discovered workflow process automation yet, it’s a game changer.
What Are Automated Workflows—and Why Do You Need Them?
Quick recap: Automated workflows use technology to replace repetitive manual and paper-based tasks. You can use them to streamline routine business processes that involve multiple people across various departments. Employee reviews, project approvals, reimbursement requests, and budget approvals are all examples of areas where companies can experience game-changing benefits of workflow automation.
Yet a surprising number of businesses have yet to discover the power of workflow process automation. According to Formstack’s State of Workflow Automation report, managers are still spending the equivalent of one full work day each week on manual tasks. Teams everywhere are being drained of valuable time that could be devoted to more strategic initiatives.
The implication is clear: Even though we live in a world with thousands of cloud-based apps, many organizations still struggle with the most basic of business needs—communication.
Thankfully, the answer is simple. It doesn’t matter what industry you work in or how many customers you serve. Automated workflows can help any team reach goals faster, simply by replacing time-consuming manual tasks with a streamlined flow of data.
With the right workflow technology, you can get mission-critical information to the right person at the right time—whether you need to forward a form for signatures, check with other departments for approvals, or complete any number of mission-critical tasks.
So, how might workflow process automation work within your organization? Let’s take a look at some common scenarios.
Automated Workflow Examples to Transform Your Work Week
“Workflow automation” may sound complex, but at the end of the day it all comes down to putting time-consuming processes on autopilot. With Formstack, for example, companies leverage the Workflows feature to let multiple people review, edit, complete, and approve information on a single form.
For example, here’s what your automated workflow might look like for:
The employee review. The traditional employee review is typically conducted with a rather complex chain of emails and memos that can take days or weeks to complete. With an automated workflow, you can streamline these processes:
- First, your employee submits a self-evaluation using an online form
- The evaluation is sent instantly to the employee’s manager for review
- After reviewing and adding to the evaluation, the manager makes suggestions on compensation adjustments before checking a box to have it automatically routed to human resources
- Once in the hands of human resources, a few small errors are discovered. HR quickly and easily sends the form back to the manager for corrections
- Updates are made, the evaluation is sent back to HR for approval, and the form is then routed to the payroll manager to make the pay raise official
- The employee receives an automated confirmation letter and a note of congratulations
Each step is completed in seconds, and the entire process is done by day’s end. Similar processes can be used to onboard new employees, juggle and approve paid time off, file expenses, and more.
A customer service issue. Whether you provide services or products, every company has its share of customer complaints. The faster you can address issues, the happier your customers will be. With automated workflows, you can remove some of the most common bottlenecks to addressing customer complaints and warranty claims:
- A customer is experiencing an issue with a product, and visits the company website to fill out a warranty claim form
- As soon as the customer hits the “submit” button, the form is routed to a member of the warranty team for review
- The warranty team member reviews the customer complaint and decides to approve the claim
- The approved warranty claim is then routed to the customer service team to take action and resolve the customer’s issue
- The customer service team arranges for a replacement part to be sent, and the customer receives an automated confirmation email
For the company that receives thousands of customer communications each month, this type of automated workflow can shave precious minutes off of each submission. Customer complaints, inquiries, and feedback can all be handled with similar workflows.
What Can Automated Workflows Do for You?
The above workflow automation examples are a great start, but they still just scratch the surface of the hundreds of different processes you can put on autopilot. Just think of the most annoying, repetitive process you face at work—then imagine what you could achieve by automating and forgetting about it. Now multiply this by the dozens of other tasks you face daily, and you can see how workflow process automation can truly change your work life.
Ready to start using workflow automation at your company? Click below to learn just how easy it is to get started. Who knows—you may just save your company $80,000.