Workflow automation software is any piece of software that automates tasks for you. The simplest way to think about it is as an automated task manager (like a to-do list). It can also automate tasks within other pieces of software (for example, automatically creating Excel files from information in Google Docs).
This article will focus on how you can use workflow automation software to automate tasks within other pieces of software or tools that are already part of your daily routine. Workflow automation will help you get things done faster, leaving more time for other essential tasks.
1. Sending Follow Up Emails
Workflow automation software can send follow-up emails at set intervals after your initial contact. For example, if you have a meeting with someone in person or on the phone, you could have workflow automation software send them an email every day until they respond to you (or a week has passed).
This can be helpful because it will keep the conversation open and show that you’re still actively trying to reach out to that person, even if they haven’t gotten back to you yet.
If needed, this could also turn into a task list that follows up multiple times until the two of you connect again. In addition, if you want to follow up with various people, workflow automation software can send emails to multiple targets simultaneously.
2. Collecting Information
You can use workflow automation software to collect information based on the criteria you identify. This is very helpful when doing market research or gathering data about competitors. You’ll be able to find the information you need without spending all of your time researching it yourself.
If you’re worried about not finding enough information, this could be a task list that runs every day, sending you an email with any new results that it finds. Once again, this will make sure the task doesn’t fall through the cracks and eliminate any unnecessary steps (like manually checking websites doing Google searches).
3. Saving Information
This is similar to collecting information, but instead of emailing that information back to you, workflow automation software saves it in a place that’s retrievable by you or others. The most common use for this is when you find an interesting article online and want to save it somewhere so you can remember where it is later.
Instead of doing this manually through your browser, workflow automation software can do it for you automatically. The same thing goes with saving photos or other files.
Just enter the criteria that need to be met for the file/link/article/etc. to get saved (criteria could be file size, number of pages, whether or not certain words are used, etc.), then the software will automatically save the file/link/article to the place you designate.
4. Scheduling Meetings
Scheduling meetings can be challenging if you have a hectic schedule or take on many different projects at once. Workflow automation software will email everyone involved in the meeting, asking them when they would like to meet.
Then create a calendar invite for you that has all of the necessary details (like start time, end time, location, etc.). This will help save up your time for other things because it takes care of scheduling meetings without any involvement from you.
5. Creating Business Documents
Workflow automation software allows for easy collaboration. It can automatically share documents with teams and enable multiple teams to work on them simultaneously. Instead of emailing drafts back and forth manually, workflow automation software can send the document out to the right people so they have access to it from within their system.
This is a great time saver because everyone is on the same page, and you don’t have to constantly track down different people for updates.
6. Creating Business Processes
Workflow automation software allows you to set up business processes that will save you a lot of time. It eliminates the need for repeating actions that are involved in a process.
For example, do a task every month. Workflow automation software can create a process where all of those tasks are carried out automatically with one click of the button (instead of having to do them all manually).
This saves you a tonne of time and allows you to spend more time on other things.
7. Managing Business Data And Assets
Your company relies on data and assets. You can’t lose or break those things because it would severely affect your workflow, productivity, and even the success of your business as a whole.
Workflow automation software allows you to manage all of these things more efficiently by organizing them according to their category (this is useful for keeping track of different types of documents).
For example, if you need information about clients, all necessary files will be in one folder. If there’s legal documentation, that will be kept separate from everything else. This helps keep everything organized and saves time when looking for specific documents.
8. Communicating More Effectively
It’s easy to feel that communication is falling by the wayside or that essential messages are getting lost if you’re busy. After sending someone an email, you may not think about this, but workflow automation software can keep track of all of your conversations, so nothing is forgotten.
This ensures that everyone is up to date on what’s going on and saves time because there isn’t any need for back-and-forth communication. You’ll know exactly who is supposed to do what task and when it has been completed (which eliminates having to remind people).
9. Saving Time During Meetings
Meetings take up a lot of time – especially if everyone involved in the meeting needs to gather their thoughts before saying anything. Workflow automation software can take notes during the meeting, so you don’t have to.
Everyone will have access to what was discussed during the meeting, who said what, and the assigned necessary action items. This saves time because everyone has all of their thoughts written down, which allows them to contribute more effectively to the discussion.
10. Answering Frequently Asked Questions
Most companies (and employees) deal with frequently asked questions. Things like “How do I use this application?” or “Where is my file saved?” If these questions aren’t answered quickly and efficiently, people waste time figuring out things on their own instead of getting work done.
Workflow automation software will automatically answer these types of questions (if they are written down) so employees know exactly what to do. No time is wasted looking for answers that aren’t easily accessible.
11. Communicating Company Memos/News
You can send out memos and news through workflow automation software (instead of having an employee spend their valuable time typing them up). Everything will be in one place with easy access so people can quickly look through the memos if necessary instead of searching for them.
You can even use external communication tools like social media or instant messaging systems to communicate essential things. Workflow automation software will take care of archiving these messages, so everyone has access to them at all times.
These are just several ways to use workflow software to increase your productivity. There are many more possibilities out there, so you could discover new ways to use this type of software every day.
Try experimenting with the different functions to see what works best for your company and employees. You might find that workflow automation software should have been implemented a long time ago.