Ferrum Technology Services Blog
How Workflow Automation has Changed Business
When companies look to make their business more efficient many of them look to do so by taking pressure off their staff. By automating certain points of your business’ process, your team can do more to focus on revenue-generating tasks. This strategy has been working for businesses for decades, but today there is more technology available designed specifically to automate more of your business’ variables.
The Beginnings of Process Automation
In the 1970s, manufacturing was king, and German software developer SAP created the first Resource Planning software, an application that standardized a lot of a manufacturer’s processes to provide better-end-to-end efficiency. Enterprises that used this software were constantly hiring early software developers to help make the SAP resource planning software compatible with the machines they use, which enhanced costs considerably, but also worked to build more effective operational processes.
Soon after IBM became the world leader in process automation by creating systems that automated data collection and document sharing. This went on for several years before SAP created the first ERP (enterprise resource planning) application. They took the concepts they had been working on for two decades and created software that allowed the processing of data in accounting, human resources, maintenance, and most importantly, customer resource management. By integrating all of these tools into one application, workflow was more automated and manufacturers were able to streamline their manufacturing process.
With the introduction of the Internet and cloud computing platforms it brought process automation to a whole new set of businesses. Workflow data is now always available regardless of location or device usage. This was improved even further with the introduction of mobile devices that could function as hubs to manage workflow, making automation available for most types, and sizes, of businesses.
SaaS and Internal Process Automation
For a majority of the time process automation was available, it had required a steadfast strategy of new technology integration. As you may well know if you currently host your own hardware, this process is costly. Not only do you need to stay up to date on hardware and software trends, you also need to pay for near-constant IT management and maintenance. Today, these types of applications, known today as process automation or workflow automation software, can be utilized through a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. This means that instead of paying a team of IT professionals, companies can pay a monthly fee per user for access to the software, while the provider manages and maintains the underlying infrastructure.
Since rising costs have created an environment where nearly every business has to get more out of every dollar they spend, today’s process automation platforms create an environment in which this is possible. In what is called “no-code automation” employees can build processes inside today’s process automation software that improve the efficiency of a business’ workflows without having to know any code whatsoever. Today, any employee with minimal technology knowledge can create an app that can be used by their respective department or company to improve the efficiency of their workflow. What a time to be alive.
This has several benefits, beyond cost reduction, including:
- Improving collaborative processes - With employee-developed apps, it is possible for software to be customized to your team’s specific needs, enhancing the collaborative value of the software.
- Promotes efficiency - Since employees have input over the development of the process automation application, businesses can see business move faster and get caught up less often.
- Scalability - If your business has a growth spurt, cloud-based process management software can make it extremely simple to get the software your employees need.
Process automation can work wonders to make your business more efficient and productive. If you would like to learn more, give our knowledgeable consultants a call today at 847-697-3282.