Work-from-home policies have drastically changed the way we work. In the past, managers and IT personnel would have direct access to resources, but that’s not the case now. These changes have made it more critical than ever to rely on the automation of workflows whenever possible. New solutions, in general, need to be used to maintain control over not just users but other IT resources like devices and networks.
With those things in mind, the following are some of the general benefits of automating workflows, particularly as things stand right now.
What is Workflow Automation?
Workflow automation in simple terms, is a way to automate the processes that underly your business, eliminating human intervention in certain areas.
Manual processes and legacy processes like approvals and claims are especially well-suited to workflow automation.
Automating your cybersecurity workflows and things like identity management and access management are imperative right now.
This is especially true with many employees working remotely.
If you’re trying to combat against cybersecurity attacks manually, it will be nearly impossible because the attacks themselves are automated.
When you automate your cybersecurity, at least as far as detection and response, and identity management, then you’re able to combat potential cyberattacks faster and reduce the damage if one does occur.
Some of the specific ways cybersecurity workflows are automated include data correlation and generate protections at a speed that’s faster than the attack can spread.
With a lot of employees working remotely now and potentially for the foreseeable future, productivity is a big concern.
The big benefit of automating workflows from this perspective is improved productivity.
Your employees are not only going to be able to get more done more quickly, but the accuracy is also going to go up.
Fewer human and administrative errors mean that you don’t have to go back and correct issues.
If an error does occur, with automated workflows, you’re better able to pinpoint the exact location of that error, so you can prevent it from happening again.
If you automate task management workflows, then there’s less miscommunication and confusion. There’s less likelihood that a task will be missed.
Workflow automation related to task management can include creating to-do lists and ending them out, notifying someone who’s assigned to a task and then regularly following up, and you can save time on checking in and getting updates.
If you’re like many businesses right now, you might be having a hard time filling open positions. There’s a serious talent shortage, and then if you do find employees to fill available roles, it’s hard to properly onboard them if everyone is working remotely.
There’s a lot of repetitive, somewhat tedious stuff involved in onboarding, and if you can automate it can help you retain new employees, even when they’re working remotely.
There’s something that can be a benefit of automated workflows that you may be overlooking. When you automate certain processes, you can then use the data that you gather in those processes to make better decisions.
For example, detailed reports from your automation software can help you identify bottlenecks and make smarter, numbers-driven decisions.
You’re taking action on relevant data rather than just trying to guess.
Where Can You Apply Automation?
Any area of your business can benefit from automation. We talked above about one specific area—cybersecurity.
There are many others as well.
For example, accounting is an excellent place for workflow automation because there are so many repetitive and error-prone tasks.
Maybe you automate things like sending out invoices or reminding customers regularly if they have an outstanding invoice.
Software development can be automated, as can marketing. In marketing, you can automate the generation of reports, you can learn more about where and how you’re spending money on digital marketing, making changes necessary, and you can automate recurring tasks like checking your website traffic.
In sales, you can automate follow-up and alerts for your staff to check in on high-value accounts.
Finally, this one was also discussed a bit above, but HR is perfect for automating workflows. You can automate how you hire and onboard new employees, respond to candidates and generate documents.
It’s a good time to audit how you do things currently versus how you’d like to see yourself doing things in the future. It’s a good point for re-evaluation as the pandemic continues, and businesses need to be more agile.