Digitalize and automate workflows
Why companies benefit from the digitalization and automation of business processes
Time is money and as a result, more and more companies are following the trend of workflow digitalization to make operational processes more efficient, link systems and reduce costs. Paper-based processes are now being replaced by powerful software solutions, such as ShakeSpeare or Docuware, which automate and digitalize business processes. Anyone who wants to stay competitive is jumping on the digital transformation bandwagon now, because it’s how companies benefit the most in all areas.
Workflow software has become increasingly popular due to the many advantages it offers. These include working paperless, creating added value for customers, improving service quality, enabling faster delivery and production times, and supporting remote working and home offices. During Covid19, these advantages were particularly evident in the case of medium-sized companies whose internal processes are not yet fitted to a digital way of working.
Automated Workflows – Why Automate Business Processes:
The digitalization and automation of business processes can support several company processes so that they become more efficient and manageable, as well as less of a burden on employees. Automation reduces human error and frees up resources for value-adding activities. Even after the pandemic, the shortage of skilled workers in Germany will remain an issue, meaning that companies will benefit from being able to relieve qualified employees of administrative tasks. By automating workflows, companies can save costs. The time saved can be sustainably invested elsewhere to secure company growth and its future.
How should I go about digitalizing my business processes?
Once the decision has been made to take the step into the digital future, the next step is the implementation.
- Determine the current state:
You determine the current state by collecting all processes that are to be digitalized. You can do this with the help of a process map. To orient yourself, you can either proceed on the basis of your departments or shimmy along your value chain. The only thing you need to keep in mind here is that you should not overlook departments that are not involved in value creation.
- Define the process:
Write and draw the process. The larger the paper or document, the better. There is a standard, called BPMN 2.0 standard (link), which describes how to represent a process. If you follow this standard, you will be able to use the described processes to create software and for audits (e.g. quality audit according to ISO 9001 standard).
- Digitalize the Process:
You digitalize the process by using one or more software solutions and letting the process come to life through your employees who operate the software. Here, a process can be mapped in only one software or several software solutions in succession. For example, when releasing incoming invoices, an accounting system, a payment system and a document management system are usually connected via a workflow software such as ShakeSpeare.
- Automate the process:
The digital process can then be automated.In this case, the smallest subtasks, such as software calculations, are performed by the software. The fewer software solutions are involved in a process, the easier the automation. Within a workflow software the automation is called BPA (Business Process Automation), across several software programs it is called RPA.
Business Process Management (BPM) Software: What is a business process?
In theory, it sounds like this:
A business process is an activity or set of activities designed to achieve a specific business goal. Business processes should therefore be as specific as possible and at the same time goal-oriented in order to achieve consistent results.
In a nutshell:
Defined goals are achieved through structured processes.
Why digitalize processes?
Within a process flow, mountains of documents are sometimes created that pass through different departments and the hands of different employees. This not only costs time, but also money, because ultimately this flood of paper has to be processed, sorted and archived, and this requires a whole range of resources within a company.
Through workflow automation, the benefits are clear, as it brings a lot of new opportunities for your business and increases efficiency and productivity.
- Maximum time saving and efficiency increase in administration through automatic reading of invoice data with the latest OCR and AI software, no paths between departments, no unnecessary e-mail traffic and central storage of data
- Error prevention, since mistakes are made by humans. The use of workflow software eliminates human error by providing optimization and automation of all processes.
- Audit compliance and adherence to company rules is permanently guaranteed and can always be checked and proven in the audit trail.
- Home office is possible through digitalization and thus creates maximum flexibility and location-independent working for employees.
- Sustainability for the environment and the company by reducing printing costs, minimizing paper and saving rental space.
- Work-life balance improves through digitization. It enhances autonomy at work, communication within the team, and thus also the quality of life at work and in private life. New work concepts become possible leading to greater satisfaction among employees.
- Future viability and competitiveness are top priorities when it comes to digitalization. While large companies are already making rapid progress in this area, SMEs are still lagging behind. A study by the ICT industry association shows that just under 40% admit that other companies that have embraced automation earlier than they did now have a head start.
Digital processes with ShakeSpeare®
ShakeSpeare is a modern IT solution or workflow software (cloud enabled) to facilitate the management, execution and understanding of business processes. Using the ShakeSpeare Workflow Configurator enables the digitilization of any given business process.
This workflow software is widely used by legal departments, law firms, banks, clinics, mid-sized companies and public institutions to better organize and manage processes.
The invoice approval process for incoming invoices is the classic among digital processes, as every company knows it and has to carry it out. What company hasn’t missed an invoice payment, paid an invoice twice, or even lost an invoice? None of this can happen with a digital solution. In addition, you save processing time, reduce errors and get the opportunity to actively control cash flow.
b) Ordering processes and purchasing processes
Digital purchase orders and purchasing processes save many steps in ordering and create an overview of open orders for one (or more) companies. For departments and their employees, it is important that it is always clear with whom supply contracts have been concluded so that products or services can be initiated at the click of a mouse. This ensures a consistently high standard of analysis, decisions and data. The process succeeds with shorter lead times and enables significantly lower personnel costs.
c) Order entry or order capture process
The order entry process is one of the most important processes in the company. A company must manage an order well internally through different departments in order to fulfill the delivery or order optimally and in a timely manner. Manual entry quickly leads to errors that delay further processing of the order or purchase order, even resulting in incorrect deliveries or order fulfillment. Long processing and waiting times result in customer dissatisfaction. Order peaks or staff shortages can be optimally managed.
d) Approval processes
Partially automated and fully digital approval processes for invoice approval, matching with purchase order and delivery bill and the like are usually the first company processes to be mapped digitally internally. This can be done with the help of text recognition and interfaces to ERP systems or accounting systems. With a fast process, companies save costs in dealing with suppliers and gain better liquidity through faster payment.
Contract creation can also be digitized and automated – this process can be automated starting with the document entry (e.g. via websites CRM system, e.g. Pipedrive) and from then on digitally controlled until the contract termination or the end of the contract. The contracts and data are always securely stored in a digital archive for potential future use or verification.
While many business areas are obvious when it comes to the keyword digitization, quality and compliance management should not be forgotten. The strategic orientation of quality and compliance management is becoming increasingly crucial because it is understood as a competitive advantage in business. Thanks to automation, individual work steps are optimized, internal processes integrate better and operating procedures are defined and monitored. Last but not least, certification e.g. according to ISO 9001 supports internal and external perception and creates trust.
g) Workflows in human resources
The administrative workload in HR management is on the daily agenda, the management of data is time-consuming and the human component in HR processes is therefore usually neglected. In principle, all administrative tasks in HR management can be digitalized. Even complex processes such as payroll processing can be simplified and the error rate virtually eliminated. Likewise, employee data such as name changes, sick notes or expense reports are quickly updated.
h) Ticketing systems
Ticketing systems are most commonly used in IT and maintenance to report a problem or request, triggering the fastest possible distribution to the person in charge and enabling the tracking of the resolution process. Companies thus gain efficiency and transparency and realize immense time savings in the processing procedure.
ShakeSpeare® in the Cloud is available from 149€ / month and includes 10 GB of storage and licenses for 10 users.