Workflow automation, also referred to as “task automation,” is the application of computer programs to minimize or eliminate the need for human involvement in completing a task. Generally speaking, workflow automation is about outsourcing mundane, repetitive tasks to increase efficiency and productivity.
Automation is everywhere, whether you realize it or not. We often use it to pay bills or schedule emails, but we must consider extending its potential beyond these basic tasks. In 2021, Workato reported that “one-third of enterprises were using automated processes in five or more departments [in 2021], up from just 15% in the year before the pandemic began.”
Workflow automation is applicable across all industries and functions, and it’s already helping people work smarter. Every day, companies are investing to “outsource” time-consuming tasks, whether it be simple assignments or complex workflows.
As a certified partner of ServiceNow, one of Forrester’s Leaders in Digital Process Automation, Pacxa holds a breadth of knowledge in automation solutions for IT service management, customer service management, and more. These solutions have enabled our clients to significantly boost time and cost savings, and ultimately better serve their customers and employees.
Here, we describe a few workflow automation use cases that save teams valuable time and energy.
Routine requests and issues are often routed to live customer service agents when customers and employees are unable to locate answers. Support agents are then bogged down answering the same questions or completing the same tasks. Service tickets multiply, wait times increase, and customer satisfaction declines.
AI-powered chatbots such as ServiceNow’s Virtual Agent provide an automated conversational experience for near-instant support ticket resolution. With out-of-box templates and natural language understanding capabilities, organizations experience almost immediate value. These chatbots deflect a large portion of support calls and automate tasks such as password resets, ultimately boosting efficiency and enabling the agents to focus on more pressing and complex issues. South America’s largest bank, Itaú Unibanco relied on Virtual Agent to leverage 46,000 predefined yet personalized conversations to answer questions, gather information, and resolve tickets with ease. And for complex issues requiring a live human, handoff was seamless, allowing live agents to fully understand the users’ situations in short order.
IT asset management
Even for the smallest teams, allocating, tracking, and maintaining various IT assets is a complicated, daunting job. And assets aren’t limited to laptops and headsets—the term encompasses all IT hardware, software, and information. Spreadsheets growing to hundreds or thousands of rows may be tracking ghost assets, fixed assets that are no longer in use or missing. If these spreadsheets are managed by one person or one department, they may not reflect purchases and assignments handled by other groups in the company. Workflow automation allows businesses to manage assets from the beginning to end of their lifecycles, providing access and dashboards as to multiple departments and users as needed—all through a single pane of glass.
Community Health Systems, a healthcare provider in Tennessee, used to track software assets manually via spreadsheets across multiple locations. A standard vendor software audit would require five to ten employees several months to compile a company-wide report. This resulted in more than $100,000 of effort to produce an out of date and incorrect list—costly both from a resource perspective and a compliance one. By utilizing workflow automation through ServiceNow, 95% of CHS software assets are automatically discovered and tracked.
Manual reporting takes countless hours and often results in errors. It can also lead to burnout for employees whose time would be better spent on tasks requiring critical thinking or collaborative brainstorming.
With reporting automation, the possibilities are endless. From basic data dumps, to complex dashboards and presets, to completely customized. Every step between extracting data to emailing reports can be automated to save you valuable time and effort in the long run. Those new to workflow automation can find it intimidating to tackle, but reporting is a manageable place to start.
Workflow automation is here to stay
Computer programs can work 24/7 without sacrificing accuracy or quality. Automation has created a huge opportunity to redirect efforts from mundane tasks to those with broader reach and impact—and some are even exploring next-level hyperautomation, which leverages artificial intelligence. Workflow automation is quickly becoming an operational standard across the board. At a certain point, companies who fail to leverage this technology will be at a distinct disadvantage. Now is the time for companies to proactively identify where automation can increase efficiency, productivity, and employee satisfaction.