Every business is run by a system of tasks and communications that comprise the operational functions of the day-to-day workload. While changes in the organization may cause a rift in the system, most of these daily processes are routine, and serve to keep the lights on. These activity patterns are known as workflows.

When businesses go beyond performing their repetitive actions and apply strategy and technology to their operations, they are proven to achieve a higher level of efficiency and accuracy in business processes, while saving valuable resources. One of the best ways to implement an improved system of operations is with workflow automation.

Read on to learn what workflow automation is, and how it can improve business processes across the enterprise.

What is Workflow Automation?

Workflow automation is the technological method of digitizing and automating business processes to reduce manual labor and workplace inefficiencies. When an organization has many steps in one business process, it can be difficult to eliminate bottlenecks, miscommunications and even mishandling of information. Workflow automation aids in removing human error, speeding up review and approval and providing insight into ways to improve business processes across the organization.

What Types of Workflows Can Be Automated?

There are a few things to consider before deciding which workflows you should automate, especially if it’s your first time. Any workflow that requires multiple, manual steps may be a strong candidate for automation.

A few examples of processes that can benefit from automation include:

  • Filing, renaming or making changes to a document
  • Reviewing and approving document changes
  • Notifying others when a change to a document has occurred
  • Onboarding new employees
  • Accounts payable processing
  • Managing records retention and storage
  • Managing and making changes to vendor contracts

Each of these workflows can be automated to eliminate bottlenecks, improve process visibility via process management reports and improve communication channels among users, clients and business partners alike.

What Does the Best Workflow Automation Software Do?

A high-quality workflow automation software solution should be able to promote continuous productivity and increase process accuracy and transparency within an organization.

When considering workflow automation, look for a solution that can:

  • Trigger document routing when new content is created
    • The solution should include automated, recurring email notifications regarding document changes, as well as automated document filing and naming in a digital repository.
  • Extend automation across departments and integrate with existing applications
    • The solution should be robust enough to automate complex processes like vendor and contract management, invoice processing, travel and expense management and records management, as well as integrating with current systems in place.
  • Enable real-time editing and monitoring access to documents, workflows and reports via laptop, desktop or mobile devices
  • Monitor, report and analyze business processes
    • Reporting dashboards should enable process managers to view each step of a workflow to eliminate bottlenecks and edit processes over time.
    • Managers should be able to present users with a full history of all business process steps related to a document in the workflow.
  • Provide a customized workflow designer for building a business process automation solution for every need
    • The solution should enable information extraction from external sources, such as PDFs or digital forms, for automated decision-making and process updates.


Workflow automation is an important step in an organization’s digital transformation. By optimizing processes across departments, businesses can save valuable resources while improving operational speed, accuracy and transparency both within the enterprise and in client services as well.

Ready to learn more about workflow automation? Download this free report on how modern business are using process automation to improve workplace efficiency.