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Understanding The Impact of Rapid Expansion of Workflow Automation

Workflow automation for the everyday employee has taken off. Today, workflow automation solutions are rapidly expanding and transforming the way work gets done. 

The technology’s growth has been fueled, in part, by the switch to remote work over the past year. But the momentum isn’t likely to stop anytime soon.

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Automation technology will only become more ingrained as organizations make the transition to hybrid workplaces. According to Gartner forecasts, process automation is slated to grow 20% as an industry in 2021 and 90% of large organizations are predicted to adopt automation in some form by 2022.

Here, I will explain why workflow automation technology has taken off.

Where is the Workflow Automation space heading?

The workflow automation space has seen a lot of consolidation, partnerships and overall attention recently. COVID-19 has accelerated the need for organizations to better connect workers, suppliers, and other remote stakeholders through digital automation, but this trend was accelerating even before the pandemic took hold. 

Software automation companies are racing to develop feature-rich and easy-to-use low-code solutions to capture as much market share as they can, and quickly. In order to stay ahead, process automation vendors have acquired additional features and functionality through acquisitions or partnerships. Strong current demand in this marketplace, along with an outlook for t even higher growth rates in the future, have provided strong catalysts for investment in the workflow automation space. 

What are some of the factors driving Workflow Automation growth?

Workflow automation is critical to orchestrating many specific forms of automation like creating digital forms, automating the collection and distribution of data critical to the accurate operation of company systems, producing digital documents and even collecting online digital signatures to complete transactions.

Even repetitive analytical tasks can now be automated with desk-top bots that record what analysts do to create reports, process orders, update accounts and then do that work automatically through robotic process automation. 

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Organizations face pressure to operate efficiently and realize that there are many types of automation they could leverage, but to create truly compelling automation solutions, they need a complete workflow platform that easily connects to their critical systems and offers a variety of automation tools that work well together out-of-the-box. 

Once a company makes a workflow platform investment, the connections it makes and the streamlining of work it drives significant operating value. No two organizations are alike — they use different core management systems, have unique operating policies and procedures, and need a process automation platform powerful enough to help them keep their processes well documented, organized and operating well together.

With connected automation, they can easily keep up-to-date. Strong workflow automation is the lynchpin that orchestrates automation across processes and connections to all critical enterprise-wide and departmental software platforms. 

Is this a new era for automation?

Do you know: What are some of the technical innovations in the workflow automation industry? 

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This is just the beginning of a new era for automation.

Historically, organizations have focused on individual software to tackle specific needs. Most typically have an ERP, CRM, Document Management System, Instant Messaging, Video Conference, HRIS, Legacy Systems and more.

Process automation and management platforms are designed to help easily connect and work between these systems, so stakeholders don’t have to be constrained by the user interface and APIs of their core systems which often don’t easily connect across systems.

Workflow automation software helps average business users deploy and leverage great interaction experiences with the empowerment to continually improve how work gets done.

Google’s Influence on Workflow Automation Industry and Competition

Competition is healthy across the entire workflow automation space. Every process automation company is striving to add additional functionality to meet customers’ needs and outpace their competitors. 

In years past, customers focused on an isolated form of automation to solve fairly disconnected challenges. They didn’t think about holistic solutions and just lived with painful inefficiencies between systems. 

As the landscape has matured, they are now placing a lot of pressure on workflow automation companies to provide more complete solution platforms with out-of-the-box connectors and low-to-no-code design interfaces. Organizational processes must work across systems and workflow automation platforms must do the same.

The Role of low-code automation in hybrid workplaces

Low-code automation is the key for wider usage and is helping fuel future growth and adoption in the workflow automation space.

Especially in a hybrid workplace, operating analysts and business users need platforms that quickly help them build solutions without requiring much coding from more formal IT-oriented application developers already overburdened in maintaining current systems. 

Staff in operating roles who aren’t full-stack coders can use low-code platforms to quickly build powerful automation leveraged within their groups. You now see finance staff, operations analysts, sales and marketing operators—even accountants, lawyers, and HR professionals—building their own online forms and workflows that connect key systems.

Biggest Challenges 

One of the primary challenges with an environment that contains low-code or even no-code automation is overall process automation governance across the enterprise. Organizations need to be very clear about how they set expectations of a given tool, rules of engagement, and security and ownership of these processes.

Users who configure solutions can find themselves building business-critical solutions that, if not maintained by knowledgeable staff and endorsed by IT, can have unintended consequences. 

In addition to governance, documentation of processes is also critical.

We see a lot of organizations eager to build automation, who don’t initially understand the importance of documenting the current-state and future-state processes before they choose the best tools for automation. Strong process management and documentation are critical pieces to deploying automation sustainably.

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