Workflow automation: things that you need to know before starting the automation project


Almost every business deals with manual, repetitive and mundane tasks within various workflows across the functions. Most of these tasks can be automated using different automation tools and technologies. It is important to understand the process, technology, cost and timeline for automation before you kick start the automation journey.

What is hyperautomation?

Every process can be automated either fully or partially and to automate one process, automation experts use various technologies such as RPA, AI, backend scripts, APIs etc. Hyperautomation is an automation practice where automation experts use various tools and technologies to automate and streamline processes. 

The goal of hyper automation is to create a more interconnected and intelligent automation ecosystem that optimizes end-to-end processes, reduces manual intervention, and increases overall productivity. By leveraging these technologies in conjunction with each other, hyper automation can lead to significant improvements in operational efficiency and decision-making within an organization. It allows businesses to adapt quickly to changing market conditions and make data-driven decisions for better outcomes.

Benefits of automation

Automation of business processes can bring huge benefits to the organization starting from increasing productivity to reducing costs. 

Increased Efficiency: Automation reduces manual intervention, streamlines workflows, and eliminates repetitive tasks. As a result, processes can be executed faster and more consistently, leading to improved efficiency. 

Cost Savings: By automating tasks and processes, organizations can save on labor costs and decrease the chances of errors that may result in financial losses.

Accuracy: Automation reduces the likelihood of human errors, leading to more accurate and reliable results, especially in data entry and data processing tasks.

Productivity: Automation allows employees to focus on more strategic and creative tasks, boosting overall productivity and job satisfaction.

Scalability: Automated processes can handle larger volumes of work without requiring a proportional increase in resources, enabling scalability for business growth.

Faster Turnaround Times: Automated workflows can expedite the completion of tasks, leading to quicker turnaround times and faster response to customers’ needs.

Consistency and Standardization: Automation enforces standard procedures, ensuring that processes are executed uniformly and consistently across the organization.

Customer Experience: Faster response times and reduced errors contribute to a better customer experience, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Integration and Collaboration: Automation tools can integrate with various systems, promoting better collaboration between different departments and improving overall communication and removing silos.

Competitive Advantage: Embracing process automation can provide a competitive edge by accelerating operations, reducing costs, and enabling faster innovation.

Automation technologies 

Every workflow has many steps and every step within a workflow needs to be considered during the automation. Some steps can be automated with RPA and some of them may need AI or other technologies. It depends on the steps that you are automating. To streamline and automate a workflow, automation experts need multiple technologies and tools based on the need. 

Robotic process automation (RPA): This is most commonly and widely used technology to automate repetitive tasks. With the RPA tool, experts can make bots that mimic human activities to operate multiple systems. RPA can also integrate multiple systems and exchange data to remove silos and maintain data integrity. There are many companies such as Intelgic, UIpath, Blueprism that provide RPA tools for automation.

Intelligent Document Processing: Every organization deals with documents and there are many documents-intensive processes that still are manual, time consuming and inefficient. AI can extract meaningful information from scanned documents and PDFs accurately and efficiently. Some companies has pre-trained AI models that can be used to extract data from invoices, receipts and other documents via APIs. Intelgic has a ready AI model for invoice and receipts

AI technologies: Today AI has become more advanced than ever before. Starting from big companies such as Google and Microsoft to startups like Midjourney and Open AI are coming up with their latest AI models with phenomenal capabilities. These AI models can be trained with custom data to solve many problems and get stunning results. These AI technologies can be integrated with various processes to make them more efficient, faster and automated. 

Integration tools: Departments work in silos and it has been an issue in almost every mid to large companies. Also people use different software systems for different processes and it is very important to exchange data between these multiple systems across the organization for smooth and efficient execution. There are many tools such as Zappier and RPA which can integrate multiple systems and exchange data flawlessly.

Business Process management tool: Sometimes for bigger organizations, you may need a process management tool to document and manage all the existing processes for complete visibility. This enables business users to detect flaws and automation opportunities that can make the process faster and efficient. 

Automation best practices

There is a step by step process that automation experts follow to streamline and automate processes.

Discovery: In most cases, process flows are known by the end users who actually execute the process. Even the manager may not know how a specific workflow is being executed at the lower level. It is important to talk to the ground level workers, managers and other stakeholders to understand the existing workflows and tasks that are involved in that workflow. Each step within a workflow needs to be documented properly for greater visibility and TO Be process designing. 

TO-BE process design and technology planning: Automation experts sit with the process owners, functional analysts and other stakeholders to streamline and design the TO BE workflow that will be implemented and adopted by the team. Selection of technology depends on the stems that need to be automated within the workflow. Automation experts also decide whether to automate one or multiple steps considering the ROI and technology cost. The outcome of this phase is a blueprint of the new process with mention of technology, logics etc. 

Automation:  Once the blueprint is ready, developers get involved who implement technology and automate the process as per the blueprint. Developers implement technologies such as RPA, AI etc. to automate steps. In some bigger workflows where the number of steps are a lot, automation experts can break the automation into sprints and one by one can be implemented and adopted for better automation. 

Onboarding and training:  Once the automation is well tested in the staging environment, it is time to move it to the production but before that the stakeholders need to be trained properly so that they face minimum challenges in the new environment. 

Monitoring and enhancing: Entire automation team monitors the new process closely to ensure smooth process execution in the new automation environment. During this period, process analysts need to collect feedback from end users and stakeholders of the new process and make adjustments or enhancements.

Automation is an exciting journey and sometimes it takes years to automate all the processes within the organization. This is the reason, most of the companies make multi-year automation plans and execute them strategically without impacting human resources and changes within the organization. 

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