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What is workflow automation?
Workflow automation brings together the people and information needed to get work done completely and correctly the first time, every time. It turns intelligence into action by tapping into data, analyzing the current need, and providing the best response at that moment.
When used as part of a low-code platform for managing work at enterprise scale, workflow automation helps you work more efficiently; make faster, better, more accurate decisions; and deliver meaningful results quickly.
Client case studies
See how businesses get work done with workflow automation.
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Frequently Asked Questions about workflow automation
Different types of workflow automation are designed to address specific needs and challenges, including onboarding relationships, servicing customers, operating efficiently, and managing exceptions.
Some common types of workflow automation include customer support workflow automation, compliance workflow automation, document workflow automation, task and process automation, sales workflow automation, and business process management (BPM).
Workflow automation and process automation are closely related concepts, but they refer to slightly different aspects of streamlining and optimizing business operations.
Workflow automation focuses on the coordination of tasks and the flow of information between people, systems, and data, while process automation focuses on automating a specific set of actions to improve efficiency and reduce errors. While workflow automation is concerned with the coordination of tasks, process automation is concerned with the automation of specific tasks within a larger process.
There are several steps to follow when you want to set up a proper workflow process:
- Process analysis: Understand the existing workflow thoroughly. Identify repetitive tasks, decision points, dependencies, and bottlenecks that can be automated. Determine the goals of automation, such as reducing errors, saving time, improving efficiency, etc.
- Define objectives: Clearly define the objectives and desired outcomes of the automated workflow. Determine what success looks like and how you'll measure it.
- Select automation tools: Choose appropriate tools and technologies for automation. This could include:
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools for automating repetitive tasks on the user interface level.
- Workflow automation platforms that allow you to design and manage complex workflows with integrations.
- Scripting languages or programming languages for custom automation.
- APIs and integration platforms for connecting different systems and services.
- Design workflow: Design the automated workflow. This involves creating a visual representation of the process, including decision points, actions, inputs, outputs, and potential exceptions.
- Implement automation: Depending on the chosen tools, implement automation by:
- Configuring RPA bots to mimic human actions in interacting with software applications.
- Creating workflows using drag-and-drop interfaces provided by workflow automation platforms.
- Writing scripts or code to automate tasks, integrate systems, and handle decision-making logic.
- Data integration: If your process involves data from multiple sources, ensure proper integration. Use APIs, database connections, file imports/exports, etc. to exchange data seamlessly.
- Testing: Thoroughly test the automated workflow. Simulate different scenarios, edge cases, and error conditions to ensure the automation behaves as expected. Fix any issues or bugs that arise.
- Deployment: Roll out the automated workflow to production. Monitor it closely during the initial stages to address any unforeseen issues.
- Scale and expand: Once the initial workflow is successfully automated, consider expanding automation to other related processes.
It’s important to remember that successful workflow automation requires careful planning, collaboration between relevant teams, and a willingness to adapt as needs evolve.
Workflow automation and RPA are both approaches to automating business processes, but they differ in their scope and level of automation. Workflow automation is a broader approach that involves automating entire business processes end-to-end, including human tasks and decision-making. It typically involves a combination of rules-based decision-making, process orchestration, and human workflow management.
RPA, on the other hand, is a more focused approach that involves automating specific tasks or activities within a business process. It uses software bots to automate repetitive, rules-based tasks that would otherwise be performed by humans. While workflow automation can involve RPA, it also includes other types of automation, such as decision automation and case management. RPA is a subset of workflow automation that focuses specifically on automating repetitive tasks.