Workflow Automation: Facts vs. Myths

Manual processes can drain resources, lower your employee morale and negatively impact your bottom line. It’s time to implement workflows! However, that’s easier said than done. There are a lot of myths associated with workflows, which makes it hard to finally make the decision to adopt automated processes. 

Once you start using a workflow system, you’ll soon discover all the time- and money-saving features automation provides you and your business. 

Some important things to consider: 

  • 70% of employees surveyed said automation increased their productivity at work.  
  • 94% identified repetitive, time-consuming tasks slowing down their automation-free workflow. 
  • 1 in 5 employees found that automation improved the efficiency & accuracy of their work. 
  • A recent study found that in as many as 60% of jobs at least one-third of tasks could be automated. 

Here are some myths and facts about workflow automation to help clear up some misconceptions and hopefully help you decide whether you’re ready to implement automated software, such as a professional services automation (PSA) solution, enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform or customer relationship management (CRM) system. 

MYTH: ONLY LARGE BUSINESSES NEED TO USE WORKFLOWS TO SEE RESULTS

FACT: ANY BUSINESS, NO MATTER HOW BIG OR SMALL, CAN BENEFIT FROM EFFECTIVE WORKFLOWS 

It may seem like automated software only helps the largest companies, but all businesses can see the positive results of workflows. In fact, smaller companies have a greater need for a seamless system helping with the routine tasks since you have less manpower. 

If your team members feel less constrained by the monotonous day-to-day routine, they’re more likely to focus on the parts of your business that can’t be automated, such making sales calls or improving customer interaction. 

And remember that just because something is automated, doesn’t mean you’re cutting out human involvement. Workflow automation is intended to help your team and make your life easier, regardless of the size of your company. 

MYTH: USING WORKFLOWS INCREASES ERRORS AND MISTAKES

FACT: WORKFLOWS ARE INTENDED TO MAKE LIFE EASIER FOR SMBs, INCLUDING PREVENTING ERRORS 

The most common problem with manual workflows is human error. There are limits to how quickly and accurately someone can input data and effectively output results. 

Workflows are designed to use facts and correctly produce the right outcome. They effectively eliminate accidents and oversights. 

If you cut out the errors and increase your efficiency, you’ll not only have the most accurate reports but you’re also likely to remain competitive with other businesses in your industry. 

MYTH: AUTOMATING DATA ENTRY ELIMINATES THE NEED FOR WORKERS 

FACT: AUTOMATING TASKS GIVES YOUR WORKFORCE MORE FREEDOM TO FOCUS ON ASPECTS OF YOUR BUSINESS THAT CAN’T BE AUTOMATED 

Talk to anyone who’s spent 40 hours a week manually entering information into spreadsheets and you’ll likely get the same response: Manual is not the same as automated. By eliminating the grueling data entry process, you’re freeing an employee and allowing them to focus on other parts of the company that require a higher level of human input. 

Not only will your company benefit from less errors, but you’ll also likely have a higher employee retention by eliminating mundane jobs. 

Keeping the best people in the right seats while getting the most efficient and accurate results with workflows is a recipe for complete success. 

MYTH: USING A WORKFLOW DOESN’T TAKE MUCH EFFORT OR PREPARATION 

FACT: ALWAYS PREPARE AND HAVE A WORKING PLAN 

Ask yourself, what do you want to get out of automation? Do you want to save money? Time? Prevent errors? All of the above? The truth is, you can achieve all those things if you effectively plan your workflows. 

Take the time to evaluate all areas of your business. Give yourself a road map for solving your problems. 

Once you’ve determined what you want to get out of an automated system, build out the process visually using flowcharts or tables. Seeing the process in action will help you identify any missing pieces that could derail the process. 

After you figure out the problems you want to solve, you’ll be able to plan projects, queue up tasks and then make those tasks easier. 

MYTH: ONLY COMPLEX WORKFLOWS YIELD RESULTS 

FACT: SIMPLIFIED WORKFLOWS CAN HAVE JUST AS MUCH IMPACT AS COMPLEX WORKFLOWS 

Less is sometimes a lot more when it comes to automation. When you begin your workflow planning, start by focusing on the aspects of your business that are prone to human error and take up a lot of your employees’ time and resources. 

As you launch your workflows, focus on slowly inserting changes in your processes. Once you feel comfortable building out more workflows, slowly take on the more complex and time-intensive processes. 

Over time, you’ll see big changes in your bottom line, staff efficiency and accuracy in your product.

Getting Started

Start by finding a business automation software that meets your needs. Download our PSA Checklist

Now that we’ve debunked the myths surrounding workflow automation software, take the next step and get your company on the right track. 

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