Senior Writer: Hiba Ali
Workflow automation is the process of creating, designing, deploying, and automating business operations with preset rules that trigger and route tasks between people, technology, and data in an automated manner.
Organizations are increasingly automating workflow across business processes and within their IT operations. Most manual processes are now being replaced by intelligent software to execute all or part of a process to enhance operational efficiency.
Automation workflow software combines drag-and-drop capabilities with low-code, adoption-friendly UIs. Artificial intelligence (AI) is also included in many tools, though it isn’t necessary to automate workflow software successfully.
Rules-based logic programs are equally effective in addressing workflow inefficiencies and facilitating collaboration. According to WEF, More than 80% of business leaders report automating work processes and using remote work more frequently.
How Does Workflow Automation Work?
Automating the flow of documents, tasks, and information across work-related activities according to defined business rules is the goal of workflow automation. To improve everyday productivity, this type of automation should be a straightforward process executed regularly.
Automation workflow softwares moves those activities from humans to a software program. It then creates the rules and logic that should govern how you should perform those tasks and finally programs the software according to these business rules and logic.
For example, let me walk you through the process of converting a lead magnet sign-up into a deal prospect in most workflow automation tools:
- Website visitors click on a lead magnet on the page and enter their email addresses.
- An invitation to the drip campaign is sent automatically to the visitor.
- Once the lead clicks on the link in the second campaign email, they will receive a confirmation email with details about the free webinar.
- To complete the process, the sales representative contacts the leads directly who attended the webinar.
Workflow automation tools aren’t just for large companies with multiple business processes; small businesses can also benefit from them. By implementing workflow automation tools, small businesses stand a better chance of competing with larger companies.
6 Different Types of Workflow Automation
Check the 6 different types of workflow automation:
1. Marketing Workflow Automation
The most repetitive marketing tasks, like sending emails and posting social media updates, can be automated using automation workflow tools. For example, you can plan your entire social media calendar with marketing automation software and create email campaigns to nurture specific types of prospects.
The following are examples of automated marketing workflows:
- Adding a user to a drip campaign after downloading a resource
- Greeting a user after they purchase a product from your company
- A reminder for the user to check out after adding items to a cart
2. Sales Workflow Automation
By automating sales workflow, reps can focus more on selling than entering data. In addition to automatically taking leads through the pipeline based on their actions, an automated sales workflow can enroll prospects in drip campaigns and update deal stages as the deal progresses. Automated sales tasks include
- Placing Leads at different stages of the pipeline based on their actions
- Following an appointment or meeting, updating the deal stage
- Constructing tasks for sales reps once a lead has scheduled a meeting
- Removing leads from the channel if they don’t respond
3. Customer Service Workflow Automation
The use of workflow automation in customer service goes far beyond launching surveys. Aside from handling tickets, cases, and common questions, workflow automation also automates tasks such as sending emails and creating tasks. Examples include:
- Creating a new ticket when someone reaches out through email or social media
- An onboarding email series that provides helpful information to new customers
- Assigning a priority label to tickets based on customer response to emails.
- Resolving and archiving tickets once they have been resolved.
4. Operations Workflow Automation
Automating operations reduces the time spent on manual data entry. Examples of automated tasks in operations include:
- Detecting duplicates and deleting them or merging two properties if they’re the same
- Prioritizing different business processes
- Compiling reports at quarter’s end
- Creating duties in third-party tools such as Slack, or Zoom
5. Human Resources Workflow Automation
Using HR automation software, you don’t have to manually enter the employee information into payroll, expense, and insurance systems — such as their address, social security number, and other details. Automated tasks in human resources include:
- Removing candidates from the database
- Sending out emails to candidates who did not make the final cut
- Filtering prospects with specific keywords in their job history
- Employee feedback after a while at the company
6. Finance Workflow Automation
According to WorkMarket, 85% of business leaders believe that automating some workloads will free up time to focus on company goals. Finance automation software streamlines travel requests, reimbursements, and budget approvals by allowing you to build forms, design workflows, and track processes.
- Taking an expense approval process from beginning to end
- Approval of contracts and vendors
- Predetermining parameters for approving budgets
- Location and activity-based travel expense management
Workflow Automation Examples
Increasing efficiency and accuracy, improved productivity, and job satisfaction can all be achieved by automating workflows at your agency.
However, many people are uncertain how automation relates to their day-to-day operations. Therefore, we have put together some workflow automation examples to help you understand the practical applications:
- Adding a user to your drip campaign after they download a resource.
- When someone emails or uses social media, create a new ticket in the system.
- Taking out inactive candidates from the database.
- The process of approving an expense from beginning to end.
- Sending order confirmations and shipping notifications after receiving an order.
6 Best Workflow Automation Software
Let’s explore the most efficient workflow automation software:
1. HubSpot: Best All-in-One Workflow Automation Software
The HubSpot platform is a single platform for marketing, sales, service, and operations, making it an excellent choice for workflow automation. In addition, everything is linked together, so you can align your team’s processes and reduce friction between tasks.
HubSpot is best for growing businesses that have yet to experiment with workflow automation and enterprise businesses with established processes. Especially recommended for marketing, sales, service, and operations departments, you can start with a Starter subscription, then upgrade as you need more features.
Marketing Hub: Free – $50/month (Starter); $890/month (Professional); $3,200/month (Enterprise)
Sales Hub: Free – $50/month (Starter); $500/month (Professional); $1,200/month (Enterprise)
Service Hub: Free – $50/month (Starter); $400/month (Professional); $1,200/month (Enterprise)
Operations Hub – Free; $50/month (Starter); $800/month (Professional)
2. Nintex: Best Enterprise Workflow Automation Software
The Nintex is a low code workflow automation platform that automates critical processes, allowing businesses to gain insights to improve and save time.
With workflow automation tools such as process mapping, advanced workflows, and process intelligence, your business can easily map out each process, execute it, and monitor its performance, with no coding knowledge required.
Especially recommended for IT, law, HR, and finance departments, Nintex is robust software with an easy-to-use workflow design tool and powerful integrations that connect all your apps, making it perfect for enterprise businesses with established processes.
3. Kissflow: Best Beginner-Friendly Workflow Automation Software
Kissflow workflow automation software lets users create custom workflows and manage projects from a single integrated platform. With its drag-and-drop interface and user-friendly workflow visualization, Kissflow provides insight into workflow processes, giving you exactly what you need.
KissFlow is highly recommended for small companies starting with workflow automation because the tool is straightforward and user-friendly, making it easier for procurement, human resources, and finance professionals to begin automating processes.
Fully Loaded: $1,900/month
4. Integrify: Best Everyday Administration Workflow Automation Software
Integrify is a workflow and business process management software streamlining repetitive tasks so employees can focus on value-added work. In addition to improving the accuracy of business operations, it keeps companies compliant with internal and external regulations.
To help users with their digital transformation, Integrify offers experienced consulting/implementation services and software for automating tasks.
We highly recommend Integrify for small-to-medium businesses looking to automate everyday tasks, especially in administration.
Available on request
5. Zapier: Best Workflow Automation Software for Connecting Apps
The Zapier automation platform helps 3,000+ apps work together. It connects two or more apps to automate tasks you would otherwise do manually. It is intuitive to use, and there are endless possibilities!
By adding multiple steps and workflow logic, Zapier allows you to create automated workflow software solutions based on your team’s needs using thousands of pre-crafted templates.
We especially recommend Zapier for small to medium businesses’ freelancers and marketing and service departments.
6. Flokzu: Best Project Management Workflow Automation Software
Organizations can automate repetitive workflows using Flokzu’s cloud-based business process management software. Flokzu allows you to create tasks, deadlines, business rules, and notifications through its low-code interface, allowing you to configure and track all your business processes.
It simplifies the work management of pending tasks, defines alerts, and integrates with other systems, eliminating the need for spreadsheets.
Individual teams that want to simplify their task workflow and manage their time should consider Flokzu.
PoC Plan: $50 -per month, billed yearly
Standard: $14 per month, billed yearly
Premium: $20 per month, billed yearly
Enterprise: Available on request
How Workflow Automation Will Help You Grow Better?
Almost all organizations could benefit from automating repetitive tasks, permissions, and other essential tasks, according to a study by automation software maker Zapier in 2021, which found that 94% of small and medium-sized business (SMB) workers do repetitive, time-consuming work.
Additionally, 90% of knowledge workers reported an improvement in their jobs due to automation, and 66% reported an increase in productivity.
When you automate workflow software, you can effectively grow your business without experiencing any growing pains. Automation allows you to scale and grow without letting anything slip through the cracks.
Every department of an enterprise can use a workflow automation system — from finance to human resources (HR), from marketing to operations to sales. Organizations generally seek to automate workflows for the following reasons:
- Increase efficiency
- Reduce errors
- Boost productivity
- Speed up processes
Workers can automate manual processes such as manual data entry, etc., and create automated workflow software as part of their work responsibilities using low-code, drag-and-drop workflow automation software packages available on the market.
In addition, several workflow automation tools are equipped with artificial intelligence capabilities, which can automate tasks that require a certain level of decision-making.
The importance of workflow automation is more significant than ever. It allows for automation of repetitive tasks, reduced human error, and increased operational efficiency – all of which have a positive impact on your bottom line.
There are many tasks that businesses and individuals perform on a daily or regular basis, some are basic, while others are complex, but the bottom line is that if we can automate it, we should.
A variety of workflow automation tools are used today in many industries to update social media feeds, coordinate marketing campaigns, and more. With workflow automation, you can carry out these tasks in a repeatable, efficient, and consistent manner.
Frequently Asked Questions
The purpose of automated workflow is to automate the flow of tasks, documents, and information across related activities following the business rules that have been established.
The following is a checklist of 8 steps to automate your workflow:
- Identify the process owner
- Remember the 'Why'
- Get the history
- Create a workflow diagram
- Analyze unautomated processes
- Discuss the workflow with everyone involved
- Test the automation
- Go live
Top features of a highly effective workflow automation tool:
- Intuitive Builder
- Access Commands
- Participant Alerts
- Relevant Integrations
- Workflow Tracking
- Data Security
Automated workflows increase productivity, reliability, availability, and performance and reduce operating costs, and moving to lights-out operations can result in a good ROI. In addition, mechanical systems can be a powerful tool for increasing customer satisfaction.
RPA can automate workflows from beginning to end, whereas workflow automation automates specific tasks within a business process.
The three essential components of a workflow diagram are input, transformation, and output.