What are the critical processes in your business? More to the point, what are the processes that help your business run smoothly but that are time-consuming, expensive, repetitive, and at risk of errors happening?
What elements of your specific workflows within each process fit the characteristics described above? Embracing workflow automation is your pathway to smoother business processes and more effective outcomes.
What is workflow automation?
Workflow automation is a vital pillar of digital transformation.
When you embrace workflow automation, you take your manual business processes and use software and apps to do it for you. Workflow automation can be as simple as choosing your software – which, in many cases, you will already be using – integrating them using built-in integrations or Zapier, and setting rules and triggers to automate your workflow.
The wonderful thing about workflow automation is that it does not just benefit your business processes and make you more efficient. It can help your customers, contractors, and anyone else that you deal with!
Before you embrace workflow automation, you need to check your workflows!
It is probably pretty clear already that taking manual processes and getting software to perform them can massively enhance your efficiency.
However, this point should act as a warning to ensure you check your processes before you automate them. Or, at the very least, ensure you analyze how your processes happen post-automation.
For all that automation can make your workflows more efficient, it can also exacerbate your processes' inefficiencies. If a process is inefficient, automation will probably make it more so, not turn it around for you!
What is workflow automation software for contracts?
You might be reading this thinking you already use automation for some processes. Many businesses, for example, will utilize some form of automation in their CRM or marketing. Automation is also widely used for financial functions like accounting and payroll.
However, you might also be able to enjoy significant benefits by automating processes and workflows in areas where you did not previously believe this to be possible.
One such process is that of contract creation.
As with so much automation, the key to workflow automation for contracts is how well your contract automation tool integrates with your other apps. If you choose contract automation software that does not integrate, this is not true automation! You will still need to manually input a colossal volume of data to create a useful draft of your contract.
In contrast, a tool that allows for integrations will mean data from your CRM platform and other apps will populate your contracts automatically. This will enable you to get contracts to leads quicker and start working together. Automating your contracts is not just beneficial from a client perspective, either! You could use automated contracts for internal business use or various needs outside of sales and subscriber agreements.
What are the benefits of workflow automation?
Automating your workflows will deliver a wealth of benefits to your business. Here are four of the most significant that will make a noticeable difference, whatever industry you are in.
1. Automated workflow means automated and better communication
If a business yet to embrace automation and digital transformation sat down to list the most significant challenges it faces, internal communication would be pretty close to the top of the list. This is despite every team member sitting with Slack, Skype, WhatsApp web, and their email open all day!
What does this have to do with automation?
Well, a manual process means manually communicating with someone that a job is done. What happens if that fails to happen? The process falls down.
When processes are automated, you remove communication inefficiencies and ensure that a notification goes to the relevant person when a workflow is complete or at a point where human involvement is necessary. No-one forgets, no-one misinterprets, and no-one misses an email or message.
Which leads us nicely into the next benefit!
2. You improve accountability
In some senses, embracing automation almost feels like you are removing accountability because you are entrusting your processes to systems.
This is a valid point, but the truth is you are improving accountability by ensuring it lies solely with the person who receives the notification to trigger the next step of the process. The benefit of using automation here is that you can still have different teams and individuals involved in processes. However, you retain a view of how efficiently both automation and human interventions are working.
3. You save money, time, and improve efficiency across your business
These are often seen as the most significant collective benefits. Still, I believe you get more from automation when you look at the people-centric benefits before the bottom line.
However, you cannot talk about the benefits of automation without recognizing these truths.
Workflow automation will:
- Save you time by using software and not people to conduct repetitive and time-consuming tasks.
- Save you money by allowing you to use your team's hours to focus on higher-value tasks where they make a more immediate difference to your business.
- Remove human error from processes. How much time do you waste needing to check things because someone missed something when they were tired or unwell?
- Improve efficiency across your entire business. Particularly in larger firms, there is often a sense that different departments are not as interconnected as they should be. However, a more efficient marketing operation leads to a more efficient sales process, leading to more efficient client service delivery. All this can be achieved via workflow automation and integrating your tech stack!
4. You can give employees the freedom to manage their own time
One of the most vital elements of our culture here at Contractbook is the flexibility our team members have to work when or wherever they like.
Because of the improved accountability that automation brings to your workflows and business, you do not need to have people on-site or even online at specific times to make things happen. The automations will do all the heavy lifting. Furthermore, people in leadership roles in your business can spend their time on making the business better rather than following up on task completion or managing your team's workload.
Get started automating workflows in your business
What workflows do you currently automate in your business?
Even if you are already on the path to digital transformation, there is likely some untapped potential and benefits you can enjoy by embracing automation to an even fuller extent!