When compared to major enterprises, small and mid-sized businesses may seem incapable of keeping up with the latest technology trends. But fewer IT personnel and less capital shouldn’t impede SMBs from experiencing the numerous benefits of automated workflows.
Digitally optimizing internal processes has an incredible impact on overall operations, no matter the company’s size. IDC research revealed the benefits of automating workflows include an average of a 35 percent reduction in costs, a 42 percent reduction in paper documents, and a 52 percent reduction in errors. Such an astounding savings of time and resources could significantly affect the future of a burgeoning business.
Scalable Processes Support Steady Growth
As businesses develop, the amount of information exchanged and the number of internal processes both multiply over time. A five-minute manual process may become a complicated task due to multiple approval thresholds. As the number of invoices and receipts increase, keeping records and balancing budgets require more time.
When daily, repetitive tasks become bogged down by increasing data and complex staff involvement, lagging business growth is inevitable. On the flipside, managing workflows through automated processes enables internal procedures to scale with company growth, reducing the need for additional staff to handle the increasing load of data.
Improved Communication Maximizes Efficiency
Paper or standalone digital forms exchanged through email invariably lead to miscommunication and time wasted in document hunts. According to Workfront, it takes an average of 5-25 minutes to find the right document, hindering productivity and slowing response time to internal and external demands. Manual data entry between, emails, forms, and software also leads to costly errors.
When automated workflows are in place, fewer resources are spent to correct errors, and defined procedures empower employees to initiate requests and track progress. Permissions settings ensure every form goes to the right person at the right time. Task reminders and notifications help team members stay up-to-date and increase the rate of approvals. Employees are only granted access to job-relevant processes, reducing distractions from excess information.
High-Tech Strategies Energize Employees
An Adobe study revealed that 81 percent of workers value up-to-date technology over office amenities, supplied snacks/drinks, and office design. Moreover, half of U.S. workers aren’t using a work management platform but would like to, according to a 2018 Workfront report. Employees are looking for technological tools to succeed in the workplace. Providing workflow management systems to staff members propels their motivation while conveying their value.
Selecting a cloud-based system integrable with current company software allows seamless collaboration between departments, building morale. Company culture becomes centered around a single system where employees participate in their own role and capacity. As communication and productivity improve, employees experience less frustration from time-consuming and cumbersome processes.
Spending a Little Saves a Lot
State-of-the-art software doesn’t always come with a hefty price tag. The low barrier of entry that many SaaS products offer for is a popular reason web-based systems are chosen for automation. A system with intuitive drag-and-drop interface eliminates the need to hire extra IT staff for setup and maintenance.
Automating now can also save companies from the need to hire additional staff in data-heavy departments such as Human Resources. When data is tracked on a scalable system, more information is manageable by the same number of staff. Real-time reports and analytics offered by SaaS systems identify areas of inefficiency so processes can be adjusted for improvement.
Processes Ready for Automation
Automating workflows maximizes resources and more effectively prepares companies for growth. Identify highly inefficient internal workflows, such as those using paper forms, requiring massive email exchange, consuming excessive time, or experiencing frequent manual errors. For a smoother transition, begin with a process that is already standardized and has forms set in place. For example:
- Employee onboarding
- Leave management
- Performance appraisals
- Reimbursement claims
- Budget approval
- Purchase Orders
- Invoice Processing
- Expense Management
- Content Management
Gain an Edge, Externally and Internally
Amidst the technological adaptations, one thing remains constant for businesses of all sizes: competition. Utilizing workflow management tools speeds internal processes, leading to increased output, improved customer service, and a larger customer base. Consistent procedures also cut down on loopholes and confusion to create reliable customer experiences, enabling firms to rise above their competitors.
Companies aren’t just competing for business, but also for loyal employees. Recent turnover rates prove employees can find work elsewhere if they are unsatisfied; for employers, continuous rehiring can be disruptive and costly. When workers are most equipped for success with automated workflow tools, they can thrive as a united whole.
Investing in automation isn’t just for financial gain, but also to promote a happier workplace where team members want to stay long-term. Whether SMBs or large corporations, businesses can be holistically prosperous through automated workflow management.