When the going gets tough, the tough get going, right?
That’s a bit hard to do when you’re faced with an unstable economy, layoffs, and tightening budgets.
When you’re forced to do more with less people, time, and money, the stress and burnout can pile up. You begin thinking there’s no way you can achieve the goals and KPIs set in front of you. If you’re feeling the pressure and wondering how to adjust, we have an answer for you: workflow automation.
You may not have the money to hire more people or expand your tech budget, but you may have the ability to invest in automation. Here’s how workflow automation can help your team make the most of the resources you do have.
What is workflow automation?
Workflow automation is the process of using technology to automate tedious, repetitive, manual tasks that bog down everyday work. It lets organizations remove some of the “busywork”—like paperwork and emails—that keeps employees from tackling more high-impact projects.
In fact, our 2022 State of Digital Maturity report found that 51% of workers report spending at least two hours per day on repetitive tasks.
That’s 10 hours of time wasted, every single week! These repetitive tasks include things like copying and pasting data, preparing paperwork, storing and/or searching for files, sending emails, and entering data into online systems.
Workflow automation removes the manual work that takes up precious time every week. From digitizing paper processes to streamlining communication, there are hundreds of ways workflow automation can help you do more with less.
Related: How Workflow Automation Impacts Digital Maturity
The Benefits of Automation
One great aspect of workflow automation is the ability to quickly create a process once that can then run on its own in the background. Each step in a process is automatically triggered, saving you ample time. No more setting reminders, manually sending emails, or following paper trails.
But the “set it and forget it” power of workflow automation is just one benefit of many. Here are a few more to consider:
Free up employees to focus on more important tasks. Hitting goals and reaching KPIs requires heavy lifting on important projects, which requires lots of focus time. Don’t let this time slip away because of tedious paperwork and data entry. Streamlining processes across teams with workflow automation can ensure workers have more time to focus on projects that make the most impact.
Improve data accuracy and security. Every time data is manually transferred from one tool or system to another, there’s risk that it will degrade. If you factor in transferring data from paper to digital, that risk jumps significantly. Avoid common data cleanliness issues and security risks by automating data collection, sharing, and storage. Minimizing how many times data is transferred, manipulated, and copied improves overall data integrity and quality.
Listen Now: Basing a process in paper limits its data accuracy, efficiency, and scalability. But how do you put an end to paper for good, especially in larger organizations? Denise Davis of Emory Healthcare explains how she helped an organization of 28,000 employees and 250 locations go paperless.
Create a better employee experience. Our Digital Maturity report found that 77% of organizations say it’s challenging to retain talented employees. Yet 33% of organizations who have digitized completely and rely on workflow automation say it’s not challenging at all to retain employees. Our research shows that inefficient workflows and processes negatively impact employees’ workdays, which leads to higher workplace dissatisfaction and turnover.
Become less reliant on your IT team. Is it difficult to get into the IT team’s queue to produce the automations your teams need? By investing in the right workflow automation systems, you don’t need to rely on IT to set up processes or workflows. With no-code tools, you don’t need any technical experience or coding knowledge to build, adjust, or manage workflows.
Workflow Automation Cost Savings
One of the benefits we didn’t cover above is workflow automation cost savings. That’s because it deserves its own section! Investing in workflow automation can save your org money in multiple ways—here are three of them.
1. Eliminating paper can save you up to 3% on operating costs.
Gartner estimates that total print costs comprise 1% to 3% of a company’s overall revenue. That 3% doesn’t seem like a lot, but it adds up quickly: For every $100,000 in revenue, you could be spending up to $3,000 on paper and printing. That’s a whopping $30,000 for a company that brings in $1 million in revenue.
You can easily find a workflow automation tool to replace all your paper processes without spending $30,000. Plus, while paper costs increase the more you use it, many workflow tools allow a single workflow to be used over and over again without incurring extra charges.
Did you know? Eliminating paper not only saves your organization money, but improves the customer and employee experience. We found that 86% of employees prefer digital forms over paper.
2. Manual, repetitive tasks cost an average of $14,560 a year per employee.
As shared earlier, our Digital Maturity report found that many employees spend an average of two hours per day on manual tasks and inefficient processes. Just think about that—if the average annual wage in the U.S. is $58,129, one employee wasting two hours per day on inefficient tasks costs your organization about $14,560 a year. For an organization of 100 employees, that adds up to more than $1.4 million.
Yet many of these repetitive tasks—like sharing data, looking for files, and moving workflows forward—can be automated with technology. Imagine the money you could save, plus the extra work that could be tackled, if your employees got back 10 hours each week.
Pro Tip: Adding a tool like Formstack Documents to your tech stack could save your team 24 hours per week.
3. Software engineering salaries average $156,000 in the U.S.
If you’re relying on software engineers to create your organization’s workflows, it is costing a pretty penny. Software engineering salaries rose by 0.8% to average $156,000 in the U.S. in 2021. Who knows how high that number will go this year with inflation on the rise.
Hiring technical workers is becoming more challenging due to cost and scarcity. But the good news is that you don’t have to depend on software engineers to create the workflows you need. Selecting a no-code workflow automation solution enables anyone in your organization to become a citizen developer.
This means members of teams like HR, marketing, and sales can create the workflows and processes they need, quickly and easily, without any technical knowledge or help from IT. With a no-code tool in place, all teams can be more productive, agile, and fast.
Automation Cost Savings: See Formstack in Action
It’s clear that workflow automation has lots of benefits and can save your organization money. But don’t just take our word for it. Below are the stories of three Formstack customers who have used Formstack to automate workflows and save quite a bit of time and money.
Did you know? Organizations who use our Forms product save an average of 18 hours per week!
Jonathan Improves Healthcare Workflows and Saves $100,000
InHouse Physicians provides healthcare services to employers who must collect a lot of patient data. As CEO, Jonathan focuses on building better systems that provide excellent patient experiences. He uses the Formstack Platform because of its ease of use, security, and ability to transform many of their workflows. In the last year, it has saved their operations team $100,000!
Chelsea Brings Efficiency to the Insurance Sales Process
At Great Plains Brokerage, leads were piling up and falling through the cracks because of manual data entry. This left huge amounts of money on the table. As the Salesforce Administrator, Chelsea needed a product that could streamline sales and automate lead flows. Thanks to Formstack for Salesforce, Chelsea’s team can focus more on the customer instead of manual tasks and never-ending paperwork.
Kyle Replaces Hundreds of Spreadsheets with One Solution
When more than 5,000 requests for tickets were getting compiled through paper processes and email, the VP of Entertainment and Technology for the Texas Legends knew he had to build a better process. Using Formstack Forms and Documents, Kyle has digitized multiple paper-based and manual processes, eliminating hundreds of spreadsheets and saving employees many hours of data processing per week.
Automate Your Workflows Today
If your organization is ready to say goodbye to paper processes and messy workflows, Formstack can help. Our workflow automation platform includes secure online forms, automated document generation, and electronic signatures that are easy to combine into powerful workflows. Our drag-and-drop, no-code solution makes it easy for anyone within your organization to create the digital workflows customers desire in just minutes.
Ready to start automating your higher ed workflows? Get real-life examples and step-by-step guidance with our Workflow Inspiration Guide for Business Process Automation.