Enterprise AI
April 23, 2024

Improving Business Operations With Digital Workflow Automation

Want to automate your digital workflow? Learn everything about workflow automation, see real-world examples, and learn how you can improve your business.‍
Improving Business Operations With Digital Workflow Automation

Digital workflow automation is a game-changer in the fast-paced digital world. Such automation helps transform businesses’ operations by streamlining business processes, boosting productivity, and enhancing efficiency.

Advanced AI helps free up valuable time and resources and boost innovation, growth, and revenue. Here’s more on the transformative impact of implementing digital workflows.

Key Takeaways

  • Digital workflows help boost efficiency by streamlining processes, reducing manual intervention, and accelerating task completion.
  • Error is reduced by automating repetitive tasks within standardized workflows.
  • Automated digital workflows can enhance collaboration, productivity, and decision-making processes.
  • Companies that embrace digital workflows gain a competitive advantage.
  • Benefits of digital workflow include cost reduction, optimized operations, faster response times, better innovation, and faster growth.

What Is a Digital Workflow?

A digital workflow refers to all processes that businesses automate with the help of software and tools.

Such a workflow includes tasks from the initiation to completion, and it can involve multiple departments or systems within an organization. The core of digital workflow revolves around automating manual tasks, digitizing documents, integrating tools and software, and more.

The goal of a digital workflow is to streamline processes, improve efficiency, eliminate paper-based documentation, improve accuracy, eliminate human error, and improve the pace of work. Digital workflows range from simple (linear) processes to complex workflows that can adapt and branch out based on predefined inputs.

The most common areas where digital workflow is automated include project management, customer onboarding, order processing, and document approval.

Regardless of where digital workflow is used, implementing it consists of the following components:

  • Task definition
  • Task automation
  • Integration
  • Monitoring and optimization
  • Compliance and security

After defining clear tasks and objectives, digital workflow integration happens within the company’s system to achieve seamless collaboration. After the integration, another step is monitoring the workflow’s performance and making adjustments to optimize it for the best efficiency and accuracy.

Lastly, digital workflow is checked to ensure it adheres to the regulatory requirements and security standards protecting the company’s data.

Digital Workflow Automation vs. Digital Workflow Management

Digital automation and digital management of workflows are two different approaches to business process optimization.

Workflow Automation

Workflow automation focuses on automating individual processes within a workflow.

In workflow automation, digitization helps automate and streamline manual processes without changing them. Its goal is to improve efficiency, reduce human error, and provide faster turnaround times by employing non-manual solutions.

Workflow Management

Workflow management focuses on things beyond task automation within a workflow. Its purpose is to analyze the entire workflow and provide adaptation, coordination, and oversight.

One of its goals can be specific task automation. However, it can do things like:

  • Task assigning
  • Monitoring
  • Reporting

Workflow management and workflow automation usually go hand in hand. Workflow management ensures tasks are completed in the right sequence, by the right people, and within specific deadlines. On the other hand, workflow automation makes these already well-set-up processes even more efficient by combining human effort with technology.

Benefits of Digital Workflows

Benefits of digital workflows

Digital workflows bring various benefits to businesses, but the most significant one is enhancing operational efficiency and outcomes.

The most common benefits of digital workflows include:

  • Reduced manual intervention
  • Minimized errors
  • Increased efficiency
  • Accelerated pace of work
  • Enhanced collaboration

By streamlining manual tasks, there’s less need for human intervention. Advanced digital workflows can speed up routine tasks like data entry while minimizing human error. As a result, much better efficiency helps businesses save more time and free up employees to focus on more important tasks. Employees can also handle tasks that require creative and critical thinking, while digital workflow helps manage routine and repetitive tasks.

With an accelerated pace of work, digital workflow tasks get completed in a fraction of the time. One of the greatest benefits of this is the company’s ability to stay competitive and respond to customer needs and market changes.

Automating digital workflows also helps data move smoother, ensuring everyone relevant gets access to information faster than before.

Digital Workflow: Business Use Cases

Geico - Digital Workflow Use in the Auto Insurance Industry

Geico is leading the way in the auto insurance industry using digital workflows. By leveraging advanced digital workflows, Geico streamlines its operations and provides an exceptional customer experience.

Customers can visit Geico’s website to request an insurance quote online. Geico’s automation system automatically steps in to instantly generate personalized quotes.

These auto-generated quotes based on customer information help the company accelerate the quoting process with a chance of increasing revenue and staying competitive in the industry. On the other hand, customers get quotes and can obtain insurance coverage faster.

Geico also has a digital claims processing workflow, which facilitates communication between customers, repair shops, and insurance agents and speeds up claim resolution.

Additionally, Geico uses digital workflows to simplify policy management through a self-service portal. The behind-the-scenes automation helps customers with all policy changes, eliminating the need for phone calls or additional paperwork.

Wells Fargo - Digital Workflow Use in the Banking Industry

A great example of digital banking workflows comes from the United States' largest bank.

Wells Fargo relies on digital workflow automation to streamline loan processing. When a client applies for a bank loan, Wells Fargo’s digital workflow system processes the application from there. Their advanced digital workflow system can gather information like income, credit history, and employment verification before sending the collected information to a specific department for review.

This way, Wells Fargo eliminates the manual work required to gather the information, speeding up the process for clients and employers. As the digital workflow system collects and processes customer information, it notifies the customer every step of the way throughout the process.

Even though no loan is approved before it is manually reviewed, Wells Fargo still reduces the time it takes to gather information and process loan applications, and errors, and improves overall customer experience. As a result, Wells Fargo stays competitive and has a fast way of meeting the financial needs of its clients.

Mayo Clinic - Digital Workflow Use in the Healthcare Sector

Mayo Clinic is one of many healthcare providers that take advantage of digital workflows to improve patient care, and medical research, and streamline standard processes within the healthcare system.

This company leverages digital workflows to automate the scheduling and managing of appointments, sending appointment reminders, and coordinating appointments between other healthcare providers. Mayo Clinic also uses digital workflows to improve the process of coding patient diagnoses, submitting insurance claims, and processing payments.

With the reduction of billing errors, financial performance, and patient satisfaction are improved. On top of that, Mayo Clinic enhances its operational efficiency, reduces costs, and delivers better healthcare options for its patients.

Transitioning to Digital Workflows in 7 Steps

Digital workflow transition

We can split the process of digital workflow automation into 7 steps:

  1. Assessment of current processes
  2. Setting clear objectives
  3. Selection of the right tools
  4. Designing digital workflows
  5. Gradual implementation
  6. Providing training and support
  7. Monitoring and evaluating

1. Assessment of Current Processes

Before starting the transformation process, it’s important to assess current processes. Examining a company’s existing workflow can help find areas of improvement where digitization and automation can help.

The main goal is to find redundant and inefficient processes that potentially cause bottlenecks in the workflow. These create potential opportunities for streamlining processes and operations. At the same time, approaching digital workflows by performing the assessment first, you can also find challenges and pain points that a company must address.

The initial assessment is a foundation for a successful transition to digital workflows, and it enables a strategic approach to ensure that the transformation process is effective and efficient.

2.Setting Clear Objectives

Once you know the pain points and challenges you’d like to overcome, it’s time to set precise goals and outcomes that align with your company’s strategy.

Proper, clear objectives help set a roadmap for digital transformation and give the company an idea of what to expect. Some of the most common objectives include:

  • Boosting operational efficiency
  • Reducing costs
  • Improving customer satisfaction
  • Accelerating innovation

Clear objectives serve as a benchmark for the success of the digital workflow implementation and provide a way to track progress. These objectives also help companies communicate the investment costs and benefits to stakeholders and others.

3. Selection of the Right Tools

Selecting the right tools is crucial for proper digital workflow automation. It involves identifying the tools and technologies that align with the company’s needs, objectives, and – of course – budget.

During this process, you should carefully observe available options to understand the options and factors of each tool. Some of the most common factors to look for are:

  • Functionality
  • Scalability
  • Integration capabilities
  • User-friendliness
  • Cost-effectiveness

Choosing the right tools will ensure that you rely on robust and reliable technology, but it can also help accelerate integration. Selecting flexible and scalable tools will help you achieve the highest level of automation.

4. Designing Digital Workflows

Designing digital workflows is an important step that involves mapping out factors such as:

  • Sequence of tasks
  • Decision points
  • Interactions

The step aims to plan how to automate tasks, which tasks can be fully automated, where communication needs to happen, and how to ensure the workflow runs smoothly.

Proper planning will also clarify how a digital workflow will benefit your company.

5. Gradual Implementation

Gradually implementing digital workflows minimizes existing workflow disruptions and ensures a smooth transition. Starting small and automating less critical processes before scaling up to more complex workflows is recommended.

Such a phased approach helps companies identify and address challenges gradually, making it easier for employers to adapt to new digital workflows. A systematic rollout can also help provide feedback and corrections to refine digital workflows according to the company’s real-world use and experience.

Gradual implementation reduces risks and helps maximize the success of the adoption.

6. Providing Training and Support

Training and support

Ongoing support and comprehensive employee training are crucial for a smooth transition to automated digital workflows. Training programs specific to different roles and positions within the company are especially helpful.

We noticed that investment in training and support can help maximize the benefits of implemented digital workflows. That’s why we like to provide continuous support after the implementation and access to resources.

7. Monitoring and Evaluating

Monitoring and evaluating digital workflows helps ensure their effectiveness. It’s also a great way to identify areas that need improvement. Performance metrics give great insights into the impact of digital workflows on the company’s operations.

Therefore, regular monitoring helps detect issues or bottlenecks and provides opportunities to fine-tune workflows based on feedback from employers and stakeholders. With continuous monitoring, companies can maximize their benefits over time and ensure that the implementation aligns with the company’s goals.

Digital Workflow Tools

The most popular digital workflow tools include:

  • IBM Watson Assistant
  • Microsoft Bot Framework
  • Wit.ai
  • Rasa
  • Twilio Autopilot
  • Multimodal Automation Solutions

IBM Watson Assistant

IBM Watson Assistant is a powerful virtual assistant platform where developers can create conversational interfaces for applications that fit workflows.

Microsoft Bot Framework

Microsoft Bot Framework is a similar platform for building comprehensive bots across multiple channels, allowing it to integrate with digital workflows.

Wit.ai

Meta recently acquired Wit.ai and it’s also a platform that helps build conversational interfaces for custom workflows and applications. Its main purpose is to help with recognition, entity extraction, and dialogue management.

Rasa

Rasa is an open-source platform where developers can build AI systems for dialogue management and virtual assistants, thanks to natural language understanding and its ability to integrate with various systems.

Twilio Autopilot

Twilio Autopilot is a platform that builds AI chatbots and virtual assistants for messaging, voice, and IoT devices. Dialogue management, natural language understanding, and integration through APIs make it a good fit for custom workflows.

Multimodal Automation Solutions

Lastly, there are our AI solutions, which include:

  • Document AI
  • Decision AI
  • Database AI
  • Conversational AI

We do things a bit differently from our competitors. Instead of offering generic or industry-specific tools, we focus on providing company-specific tools. We do so by training AI on internal company data and adapting it to existing workflows.

Our AI agents can work independently of one another, or be stacked together for compounding gains. Here are some use cases they excel in:

  • Extracting key data from documents
  • Analyzing extracted data to make informed decisions
  • Responding to queries from staff and clients by relying on data from databases
  • Handling inquiries from staff and clients by analyzing unstructured data
  • Improving workflow efficiency
  • Reducing errors in data handling
  • Maintaining data confidentiality
  • Improving customer and employee experience

Based on client experiences, our AI agents can reduce costs by 80% and help employees work 20x faster.

Some examples of tasks our AI Agents can handle within a digital workflow include:

  • Quickly extracting information like transaction and compliance details from financial documents
  • Boosting efficiency by analyzing hundreds of financial data points
  • Making informed loan decisions and risk assessments
  • Automating compliance processes
  • Improving decision-making process

As a result, our AI Agents integrate into existing workflows and help accelerate them, reduce expenses, and increase revenue.

Challenges With Switching to a Digital Workflow

Digital workflow challenges

Automating business processes offers numerous benefits, but companies face plenty of challenges. One of the most common challenges is transitioning from manual processes to digital workflows that require employees to learn and adapt.

The complexity of digital workflows and their implementation are two bigger challenges. It can be complex and time-consuming, from designing and mapping out processes to selecting the right tools and integrating systems. There’s also a risk of technical challenges like system compatibility issues, data migration, and security risks.

After implementing digital workflow, maintaining it and the company’s objectives can be challenging, too. If the objectives and goals aren’t clear, tracking the workflow’s performance and benefits can be difficult. Regulatory requirements and data privacy laws add to the challenges that occur during the transition to digital workflows.

Even though there are quite a few challenges that can occur, if a company carefully navigates these challenges, the significant advantages of digital workflows will outweigh the challenges. That’s why an effective management strategy and clear business goals and objectives are requirements that will lead to a much better implementation success.

Automate Your Workflow With Us

If you want to automate your digital workflow just like the companies we mentioned in this article, to save time, reduce costs, and increase revenue - please schedule a 30-minute call with our experts. We can discuss your needs, show you how our AI Agents work live, and find the best use case for your company.

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