Where Workflow Automation Comes From, and How It Helps

One of the primary ways that modern companies work to boost efficiency is to ease the workloads that their employees have to contend with through automation. Automating certain processes frees up the time these processes would otherwise take to devote to revenue generation. This approach has worked for decades—and today, businesses have access to more automation-focused technology than ever.

Automation’s Origins

Manufacturing was a major industry in the 1970s, so it makes sense that resource planning software would be developed during this time. German software developer SAP did just that, engineering an application that helped to boost efficiency at all stages of production by standardizing processes. Enterprises quickly embraced this software, but often needed to hire software developers to ensure it was compatible with their equipment. This might have increased costs, but it also made the operational processes these enterprises followed more effective.

It wasn’t long before IBM took their place as the world’s leader in process automation through their development of automated data collection and document sharing—something that would continue for a few years before SAP developed the first enterprise resource planning (ERP) application as the culmination of two decades of work. This application allowed data from all aspects of a business to be processed easily—from accounting, maintenance, human resources, and customer resource management. By distilling these tools into a single application, workflows (particularly those implemented by manufacturers) could be streamlined considerably.

The advent of the Internet and cloud computing elevated process automation even further, with data now available from any device, anywhere. Mobile devices made this even more accessible, allowing all businesses to embrace the benefits.

Internal Process Automation and Software as a Service

For most of the time that process automation has been available, it has required significant and dedicated technology integration. This is a costly prospect while hosting your own hardware, as you need to both keep up on hardware and software trends while also investing in some significant upkeep and management. Today, however, businesses have an alternative for their process automation/workflow automation needs in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Basically, instead of paying for a stagnant version of the software that (while it may work just fine for some time) will eventually need replacement, SaaS gives you access to a fully updated version of the software, for each user that needs it, for a monthly fee. This also takes the responsibility of maintenance off the business, as the provider is responsible for maintaining the host infrastructure.

Team Development

Today’s businesses need to stretch every dollar of their budget as much as possible, due to the rising costs that we’re experiencing now, which is something that process automation can facilitate. Known as “no-code automation,” it is now possible for even an employee with minimal technology skills to create a tool that improves efficiency—kind of amazing when you think about it.

This has other benefits beyond cost reduction, too, such as:

  • Enhanced collaboration: An employee-developed application can be customized to precisely match the needs of your team, making it a more valuable tool for your collaboration.
  • Improved efficiency: With business process automation, your team has a say in how the application is shaped. This means that your business can shape the app to fit their needs precisely and speed up processes as a result.
  • Scalability: The cloud’s scalability—including that of process management software–allows you to obtain the software that your team members need, in the precise amounts that they are needed.

Process automation can greatly benefit your business’ productivity and efficiency. Give us a call at (646) 741-1166 to learn more about it.

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