In the past couple of years, organizations have had to run their business as usual, with not enough resources to help them do it. In such times, the need to streamline workflows and build self-reliant processes has become evident.

The availability of low-code/no-code, integration and workflow automation platforms provides a quick and inexpensive solution to embark on digital transformation initiatives with the technology in use. Proven use cases across industries and business functions testify to the problem-solving and profit-bearing effects of this solution.

While many companies have invested in Workflow Automation and shifted their critical business operations into fourth gear, a significant number of firms are yet to discover the untapped potential of this transformative initiative.

So what does the future hold for workflow automation?

1. Greater Adoption

The pandemic was a key driver in adopting workflow automation across industries due to the shift to remote work and the migration of On-premise software to the Cloud. It led to the speedy implementation of enterprise solutions that helped create a unified platform of integrated applications, with scope to build workflow automations between them. Even though this solution was adopted to solve an immediate and dire need, its recurring benefits are undeniable. Currently, BFSI, Pharma, FMCG, and Retail industries are more inclined to implement this solution due to their distributed network of employees/field force and key customer-facing interactions. However, there is far greater scope for more industry verticals to adopt workflow automation to handle employee-focused and customer-centric processes through a single platform.

2. Wider Implementation

Automation within enterprises is currently restricted to certain departments based on their ability to make technological enhancements and their urgency for efficiency and compliance. In a post-pandemic world, workflow automation can be found within these departments - Customer Support leads the pack, followed by Finance, Sales, Marketing, HR and IT. They have built automated workflows for functional tasks related to Employee Onboarding, Payment Collection, Social Media Moderation, Content Scheduling, Ticket Resolution, Customer Enquiries, Martech Stack, Sales Support with Lead Routing and Productive Prospecting. The efficacy of workflow automation increases when it becomes an enterprise-wide initiative with buy-in from all the business functions. With proven outcomes and benefits across use cases, more departments within the same organization are likely to adopt this resilient and streamlined approach to create more value for the stakeholders.

3. Increased Business Participation

Even though an IT team has a better understanding of applications and systems in use, at the center of a workflow automation is a business process, making it imperative for business teams to participate in the workflow-building process. A low-code/no-code UX with drag-drop capabilities makes enterprise integration platforms less daunting and more desirable for business users. This helps reduce the dependence on IT teams to build and update workflow automations. With remote work, there has been greater involvement of business teams in the automation process, and this participation will increase further with organizations looking to automate at scale. Business teams understand the core process and are a lot more capable of building foolproof automations aligned with user expectations to quickly go live and in production.

4. Improvement in Quality and Productivity

Workflow automation is a much-needed solution to multitasking between applications when trying to accomplish a single task. When done manually, multitasking (especially between tasks and applications) often leads to longer execution time and error-prone outcomes. It may also lead to duplication of work due to the lack of a centralized system or tracker. Automation helps streamline processes and optimize employees’ time. It is especially beneficial for customer/client-facing employees who are expected to respond to requests and queries within a specified time, making it challenging for them to provide the best service. Workflow automation improves the quality of work and brings about a positive impact on the well-being and productivity of the workforce.

5. Superior Utilization of Talent

Often when a workday is crowded with too many deliverables - some intelligent and some required, the workforce ends up prioritizing tasks required to be completed during the day. With workflow automation, to a large extent, the BAU tasks run on autopilot mode, sparing time and effort for employees to focus on skill-based projects. This leads to superior utilization of the hired talent because it allows them to do work worthy of their intelligence. It also enables better job satisfaction and likely lower attrition rates. Recent global phenomena, namely the Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting, are indicators of an unhappy workforce. Enterprises looking at safeguarding employees’ interests and their own future will invest in automation that is within reach and much-needed.

In the future, Workflow Automation will become commonplace.

This article was originally published in ET