Workflow automation can save your business time and money as well as improve employee satisfaction. But how can you ensure that your implementation will go smoothly and deliver results for the business? Our Principal Technology Strategist Tim Walwyn shares his top tips for a successful workflow automation project.
- Think business first, technology second. Workflow automation is most effective when it’s shaped by the specific needs of your business. Start with your business requirements, such as increasing productivity and reducing data errors. Don’t be distracted by the possibilities of workflow automation – keep your business requirements clearly in mind while designing your implementation.
- Start with a quick win. Rather than tackling the most difficult automation project first – start with something simple. By implementing a few basic workflows, you’ll free up time so your team has more availability for bigger workflow projects. You’ll also create a track record for success so the business can clearly see the benefits of workflow automation.
- Elevate compliance and risk management in decision making. Consider how workflow automation can help you become more compliant and reduce risk in the business. What are the benefits of having an automated process that is applied across the business, reducing human error? These can be key factors in your workflow design, as well as provide support for your future business case.
- Be forensic about ROI. Demand real returns from your workflow automation project. Start with tangible benefits like reduced IT costs and reduced man-hours for repetitive process and then get to softer benefits such as greater employee satisfaction.
- Build a bulletproof business case. Once you have a clear idea of the business value, risk and compliance impact and ROI of workflow automation, you can build your business case. Identify specific business objectives and benefits, consider the complete cost impact of the project including TCO, payback period and cost/employee.
- Plan with a partner. Take the time to design the right solution. This is where a partner with experience in workflow automation can save you time and money. A partner will be able to see potential pitfalls and share best practices which will work for your organisation. When using workflow automation with SharePoint, choose a partner with Microsoft accreditation.
- Consider the user at every point. The bottom line of workflow automation success is user adoption, so maximise the value your solution brings your users. Engage with users early, identify advocates and get them involved, and continue engagement throughout the implementation.
- Don’t launch and abandon. Your initial workflow automation is just the beginning. Embrace the operational changes needed to make sure the solution thrives. Regularly re-evaluate how the automation is working, and where you can add additional automation to your business.
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