Data. Customer insight data to generate more sales. Data on production performance to improve efficiency. Data on product design, on employees, on machinery, on stock levels. It’s easy to forget that all this data needs to be input, secured, cleaned and recalled. And all of this takes time.

Automated workflows used to be a good way to ease the pressure on your staff, removing the repetitive and mundane tasks from their every day and boosting morale. However, with the sheer volume of data that modern businesses work with, automated workflows have become critical to running a streamlined and competitive business capable of meeting your customer’s expectations. Or your employee’s expectations for that matter.

What is an automated workflow?

An automated workflow enables you to trigger a series of activities when one event takes place.

For example, booking annual leave could take a lot longer than necessary – but this process can be dramatically reduced with an automated workflow in place.

Without an automated workflow With an automated workflow
  • Employee downloads holiday form.
  • Employee enters holiday request into form.
  • Employee submits holiday form.
  • Employee logs into holiday request form and completes form.
  • Employee emails boss to let boss know holiday form has been submitted and is awaiting approval.
  • Boss receives email and responds to employee to say holiday request has been received.
  • Boss receives an email from the system to say that there is a request waiting and here is the link.
  • Boss logs into holiday permission portal or file and approves or declines holiday.
  • Boss approves or declines holiday request.
  • Boss emails employee to let them know whether or not the holiday has been approved.
  • Automated email is sent to employee to notify them of the outcome.
  • Boss then adds holiday into their diary.
  • Employee adds holiday into their diary.
  • Employee and boss’s calendar are automatically updated with holiday booking.
  • A week before the holiday, employee reminds boss of forthcoming holiday.
  • Boss receives an automated reminder a week before that the employee will be on holiday.

From sending out and chasing up invoices to ordering stationery or submitting expenses forms, all of these administrative tasks take time.

It’s not hard to see how business leaders can quite quickly rack up between 3 and 4 hours a day on manual administrative tasks. That’s 15 hours a week and 60 hours (more than one and a half working weeks) on admin alone.

In fact, according to a survey carried out in 2014, 2/3 of employees believed they wasted time at work. Arguably, in today’s post-pandemic world, this number is likely to be even higher – without tech teams to lend a hand or the right people in the office at the right time.

The benefits of digital workflows

As highlighted above, there are vast time savings to be made from adopting automated workflows, and these time savings have benefits that ripple across the organisation. Increased job satisfaction, improved strategic direction, cost savings … the list goes on. In fact, ServiceNow found that 41% of sole traders are missing out on big benefits by failing to embrace digital workflows.

Whilst 99% of SMEs and charities are now online and embracing the benefits of digital working, very few are truly leveraging the benefits of intelligent digital workflows. Lloyds Bank estimates that around one million SMEs are still missing out on productivity gains, cost savings, and crucially, a better work-life balance.

There are many ways that intelligent digital workflows can be used to bring businesses big benefits – especially when you consider that there are 5.7million workers in the UK in financial services, customer services, IT, legal, HR and facilities management who could benefit from intelligent digital workflows. That is a lot of potential benefit for the economy.

Here are just a few stats to highlight exactly where gains can be made by businesses introducing automated workflows into their operations:

  • Intelligent digital workflow automation could increase productivity by 20%
  • Digitisation could increase the profitability of sole traders by an extra £24,000 per year
  • Digital workflows could deliver the UK economy a ‘productivity dividend’ of £64.6bn

Are digital workflows in your future?

Digital workflows are no longer optional for businesses that want to remain competitive. The way we work, the amount of data that we now deal with every single day has changed dramatically. Communications are faster. Purchases are instant. Deliveries are same day. And all this means expectations are higher. To generate different results, we must embrace different ways of working. Digital workflows are now compulsory for any competitive business.

What’s more, according to Lloyds Bank, by failing to embrace digital workflows, companies are literally giving away one day in every working week. If you don’t need that day for increased productivity, you could always join a project such as a 4-day week campaign and capitalise on happier staff.

To find out how you could save time and energy and benefit from an extra working day in your week with ASL’s automated workflows and Managed Document Services, chat with us online or give us a call on 0345 207 7000 today.

Article Sources:

West Monroe

Lloyds Bank