What Is Workflow Automation Software?

Workflow automation software helps businesses to automate certain complex tasks and sequences of tasks. It’s often used to perform repetitive, detailed, complicated work that would otherwise be overly time-consuming for employees, freeing them for more creative tasks.

Workflow automation software is often included within professional services automation (PSA) software, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, and other business software suites.

Relief from Repetitive, Data-Intensive Tasks

Workflow automation software shines when your business uses repetitive, data-dependent tasks as part of everyday operations. For example, if employees have to routinely copy information from one system to another-or from paper documents into a computer-software can automate the task

Such software increases efficiency when processes involve many separate computer applications and points of data. It can replace the need for employees to compile data from many sources and departments into one report, to send routine reminders, and to transfer data from one application to another.

Finally, it eliminates the need for the stressful double- and triple-checking that this type of work requires for it to be completed without costly errors.

A User-Friendly Interface

Workflow automation software often includes an intuitive interface to allow almost anyone to input workflows. It might display tasks in several different visual layouts so that employees can easily see the whole workflow. You may also be able to use the interface to move tasks inside of the workflow, add other tasks, modify tasks, and more.

The interface can be simple enough to be used by workers who have very little technical knowledge or computer expertise. Finally, it might also provide suggestions on how to make the whole workflow even more efficient.

Three Examples of Automated Tasks

So, what are some real-world tasks that businesses are turning over to workflow automation software? Here are just three examples out of the many that exist.

Document Creation

Generating consistent, great-looking documents is vital for some businesses, which may send out a high volume of near-identical documents. Unfortunately, a single typographical or spacing error can make a document look sloppy and reflect negatively on a business. A factual error can be even worse.

Human employees can get bored and demoralized at this repetitive work, but workflow automation software can perform it endlessly and flawlessly, pulling data from many sources. Document types may include quotes, service agreements, proposals, contracts, and many others.

Tracking Business Goals and Metrics

Workflow automation software can regularly update employees about the performance of their company, increasing their motivation. It can send notifications when certain business goals have been met in intuitive, graphical forms.

Notifications can show managers which the tasks that teams are achieving, the next steps that are needed, and when they are scheduled for. Software can also inform you when a certain profit margin is achieved with a customer, a sales revenue goal is reached, or danger signs are detected.

Customer Journals

Tracking your relationship with each customer can allow employees to serve them better and increase profits. Workflow automation software can automatically create a journal of every interaction with each customer.

Employees can then see what each customer requested in previous service tickets, the results of past services, previous price quotes, common reasons customers call, and more. Rather than employees manually entering all these details, software can capture important data points accurately and automatically.

Dividing Labor Between Employees and Software

Employees are ideal for certain kinds of tasks, such as creative strategizing, customer service, and knowledge work. Computers are amazing at repetitive, data-heavy tasks, which they can perform flawlessly many times per day.

You can now use workflow automation software to unleash the productivity of your employees by freeing them to practice their best skills-and leaning on computers for the rest.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.