As a business, staying up to date with new tools and technologies is paramount to continued success.
Digital workflows provide a way for businesses to operate more effectively and efficiently. They take manual tasks and activities and optimize and automate them.
Interested in learning more?
This article will cover everything you need to know—including five real-life case study examples.
What Is a Digital Workflow?
A digital workflow is a digitized sum of processes a business needs to perform in order to operate. This is opposed to older manual tasks that typically require more effort and attention.
It can be something as simple as sending an email rather than faxing paper forms or signing a form digitally online instead of physically with a hard copy. Some digital workflows even account for an entire business’s operations—absolutely everything they do. A lot of SaaS products are a good example of this.
Digital workflows allow businesses to run more efficiently through automation and optimization. They provide a way to make a business more productive by increasing operational efficiency.
What Are the Benefits of Digital Workflows?
Digital workflows provide a host of various benefits for businesses. You’ll find some of the most important ones below.
Visibility and Insight Into Your Business Processes
Digital workflows give you a clear visualization of how your business operates. It can help identify where the inefficient bottlenecks are in your business’s processes. Without a digital workflow, these problematic areas are harder to spot.
For most businesses that don’t use digital workflows, approvals take too long and require too much effort. Consider a contract that needs to be viewed by multiple individuals. With a digital workflow solution, this is instantaneous. Manually, the process might take a day or two.
Efficiency and Scalability
Digital workflows help you find new ways to improve your operational efficiency. They identify delays in your processes, provide effective solutions, and ultimately enable automation. When your workflow is optimized and automated, your overall operation will improve.
Power to Audit Processes
Auditing your business processes will be easier with digital workflows. Various software programs provide a documented history—a ledger of all process activities. It’s as simple as logging into the platform and clicking a few buttons.
Eliminated Manual Processes
Digital workflows replace old, outdated manual processes that are inefficient and ineffective. Switching to a digital solution saves time, effort, and money.
Real Examples of Digital Workflows and Automation Solutions
Below, you find five different case studies of businesses adopting digital workflows and automation solutions. These are real examples of businesses that measurably improved operational efficiency.
Digital Supply Chain Workflow: Wareing Buildings – No All-in-One Information Workflow
Despite implementing a number of digital workflow automation solutions, steel fabricator Wareing Buildings remained largely manually operated. Its day-to-day processes, such as processing, tracking, and delivery were still done with a paper-based system.
Wareing Buildings looked to address this operational inefficiency. It needed an easily accessible information management system to simplify processing and management.
The solution? Tekla Powerfab.
Tekla Powerfab is a complete steel management software suite that helps fabricators operate more efficiently. It allows Wareing Buildings to host its processes, data, and information under one centralized digital system.
Since switching to a digital workflow solution, Wareing Buildings has reported improved communication and coordination between its various teams. This has not only saved much time but has also highlighted even more inefficiencies to be improved.
The key takeaway is that going paperless and adopting a digital workflow management system can help you save time, improving operational efficiency.
Digital Document Workflow: Delta Clinics – Manual Document Tracking and Processing Nightmare
Delta Clinic, a leading health benefits company, sought a digital solution to improve operational output and efficiency. Its processes were ineffective and had significant costs. They needed to streamline, automate, and improve.
To address this problem, Delta Clinic turned to Desktop Imaging, a business automation solutions provider. Its software allowed Delta Clinic to streamline its workflow and helped identify other areas that can be automated and improved.
The result is that Delta Clinic has decreased operational costs, improved overall performance, and provided a better customer service experience. More specifically, Delta Clinic has:
- Decreased customer documentation processing times from half a day to one minute
- Increased transparency of day-to-day processes
- Improved customer responsiveness
- Increased document accuracy
Automating your workflow can help your teams become more productive, improving the service they provide to customers.
Digital HR Workflow: Eurofound – No Integration Between HR Workflows
Eurofound is a European Union agency based in Dublin, Ireland that conducts research into work and living conditions. Like most businesses, it sought to find ways to improve its workflow and cut operational expenses.
More specifically, Eurofound wanted to update its HR workflow, in accordance with new regulations. Its current electronic form software was insufficient. A newer, superior alternative was needed.
The solution? FlowForma Process Automation.
FlowForma Process Automation is a digital process automation software that integrates with Microsoft’s sharepoint platform. Naturally, this makes it a perfect fit with Eurofound.
The software allowed the company to rebuild its entire Human Resources Development Plan (HRDP) to meet the new EU requirements. In fact, this was built in only one week. Previously, it had taken an entire month.
Since implementing the automation solution, Eurofound has dramatically increased operational efficiency. It has gotten so good that it has freed up staff to work on other aspects of the business. It has also helped the company keep in accordance with EU regulators and auditors.
An automation software can make HR processes effortless, avoiding endless paper and email nightmares.
Digital Customer Service Workflow: Outwood Grange Academy – Service Desk Solution for 21 Academies
Outwood Grange Academy is a collective of 21 primary and secondary schools in England, run by a trust. Collectively, the Outwood Grange Academies Trust looked to update its service desk.
The academy decided upon using Freshservice—a cloud-based service desk software. This was preferred over ZenDesk because of its easy-to-use interface. With it, Outwood Grange was able to successfully identify and track various issues, ensuring they’d be dealt with.
As a result of using Freshservice, Outwood Grange was able to process 350+ tickets every week. Of that weekly amount, 87% were responded to—a 14% increase over the previous provider. Aside from that, the following was also reported:
- 26% increase in first call resolution
- 17% decrease in redundancy issues
- 12% increase in service-level agreements (SLAs)
A service desk software can dramatically improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your customer service.
Digital Feedback Workflow: Influence & Co – When Your Team is Too Big for Weekly Feedbacks
Influence & Co, a content marketing agency, was having trouble hosting weekly in-person meetings because it had grown too large. A solution was needed.
That solution was 15Five.
15Five is a continuous performance management software that fuels employee growth and development. It has a host of features such as check-ins, feedback, goals, and reports.
Influence & Co uses it as a lightweight internal communication solution. It’s a way for the agency to scale up its communications, while also optimizing them.
Thanks to 15Five, Influence & Co has estimated it has saved around $200,000 annually, due to less in-person meetings. When each employee is paid $50 per hour, and there are more than 80 employees, every minute counts.
All the time saved by eliminating in-person meetings means more productive hours—more time spent working with clients.
Many organizations don’t think about how much in-person meetings might be costing them. Using a software solution like 15Five upscale up your communications and save you money at the same time.
What Are the Easiest Workflows to Digitize?
Many businesses still use manual processes for simple, mundane business workflow tasks. These are things that should absolutely be digitized. Below, we’ll list some examples.
Requests and Approvals
Request and approval tasks such as document approvals, company travel, and expenses are very easy to digitize. These are simple “one-off” processes with simple workflows.
With a digital workflow solution, all you’d have to do is log in to the software and complete a form Doing this manually would require you to contact HR and complete a form.
Forms, Contracts, and Document Management
Any activity that involves the completion, tracking, and management of forms, contracts, and documents is easily digitized. If these tasks were to be done manually, they would involve lots of printing, faxing, and calling.
There are a variety of SaaS products that make these simple workflows easy. You can use them to create consistent documents and send them to all of the necessary people quickly.
All tasks related to onboarding a new employee, customer, or client can be addressed with a digital workflow solution. Without digitizing onboarding processes, you have to cover things manually. There’s a greater chance for human error such as forgetting to review an important issue.
With a digital onboarding workflow, you will have a consistent process that covers everything, every time.
The submission, reporting, and tracking of complaints, injuries, and damages should be digitized. These are simple administrative tasks that involve the recording of information. There’s absolutely no reason why this shouldn’t be handled as a digital workflow.
There are a host of available software systems to help you track incident reports. These tools use a central system that records, categorizes, and stores the incident. This ensures that details don’t get lost and incidents are prioritized and dealt with.
Any and all forms of documentation can and should use digital workflows. These are relatively basic, mundane tasks that involve recording, storing, and tracking information. Using a paper-based system is inefficient and simply not necessary.
There are digital workflow solutions that make documenting processes more effective and efficient. Your team will save money and time, which can be spent elsewhere to improve the organization.
Best Digital Workflow Software Tools for Any Business
Below, you’ll find five of the best digital workflow software tools for any business.
Signaturely for Forms, Contracts, and Document Management
Signaturely is an e-signature software that allows you to easily create legally binding contracts, forms, and documents online. Remote signing allows signing to happen anywhere—from a desktop to a smartphone. Team collaboration features are included to ensure documents are signed with appropriate permissions.
Businesses can digitize workflows and cut down on unnecessary wasted time signing hard copies and faxing. This makes Signaturely ideal for essentially every business.
Smartsheet for Requests and Approvals
Smartsheet is a work management and collaboration platform that helps teams assign, track, and manage various workflows.
This app can help businesses that are looking to increase operational efficiency through automation and optimization. It’s also ideal for those looking to seriously scale up efforts.
Better outcomes have been reported by businesses that use this tool.
BambooHR for Onboarding
Bamboo HR is an HR SaaS tool that provides affordable solutions to small and medium-sized businesses. This platform allows you to track important employee data and store it in a human resources information system.
This tool is great for businesses that have grown out of spreadsheets and paper files.
A1tracker for Incident Reports
A1tracker is an incident management software that makes the documentation of incidents easy. It provides a centralized platform in which users can submit, report, and update various complaints, injuries, and damages.
This software makes it easy to create and track all incidents within a business.
Process.st for Knowledge Bases and Documentation
Process.st is a business process management tool that allows businesses to create, track, and manage workflows. Users can create procedure documents, run processes as collaborative workflows, and capture structured data with forms.
This is a great app for businesses that want an easy way to create and control workflows. It uses checklists and preset templates that make the process simple and effortless.
Digital Workflow Process: How Do I Start Digitizing My Workflows?
So, you want to start digitizing your workflows? Knowing where to start can be confusing. Below, we’ll outline four simple steps you can take to get the ball rolling.
Step 1 – Audit Your Current Workflows
The first step you will need to take is to audit your current manual workflows. This will allow you to discover which of your business processes are inefficient and can be improved upon through digitization.
To help identify these problematic workflows, look for these qualities:
- Requires multiple signatures/approval
- Frequently causes problems/lots of errors/delays
- Hard to track, replicate, and report
Step 2 – Add Digital Workflow Software One at a Time
Once you’ve identified your workflows that require improvement, select a single one to start with. This should be a process that is of utmost priority and will stand to improve your operational efficiency the greatest.
When you’ve identified that sole workflow, begin looking for a digital software solution. Conduct extensive research. Look at product reviews and comparison articles. A SaaS review website like G2.com is invaluable.
Whatever tool you end up choosing should have a trial or money-back guarantee. This will allow you to test the product without too much risk.
Step 3 – Communicate and Educate the Team
Ensuring everyone on your team knows and is educated about the new software is crucial. A lack of cohesion can decrease the efficiency of your new digital solution, giving you a false impression of its value.
Luckily, these types of workflow tools tend to come with robust onboarding/educational features. Your entire team should be able to easily grasp—and ultimately master—the platform. Often there will be built-in communication tools as well.
If, for some reason, there aren’t any communication features, you can look for a separate tool. Here are some good options:
Step 4 – Optimize, Automate, and Expand
As you and your team become more proficient in using your new software, you can begin to optimize and automate.
The true value of a digital workflow is your ability to continually improve it, and ultimately run it on autopilot. This will free up employees to work on other things, increasing operational efficiency. Your software of choice should include features that will allow you to optimize and automate.
After implementing the appropriate optimization and automation measures, you can begin redefining your team’s goals, tasks, and objectives. Make sure to always monitor the automated workflow. Technology can and does fail at times.
Digital Signature Workflow: Here’s How to Master It Using Signaturely
Many businesses have moved on from paper-based documents and have embraced electronic alternatives. These digital documents require digital signatures. An e-signature software like Signaturely can help.
Signaturely can help immensely with your digital signature workflow, saving tremendous time and improving your organization’s operational efficiency. The software has a number of features that will make the process easy.
Signaturely can help you send documents that can be signed online, making the process fast and easy. This is far superior to doing it in person, through email, or via a file sharing service. These alternatives take more time and effort and cost more.
Bulk Signature Request
If you have to send out a document that requires multiple signatures from different people, Signaturely has you covered. Simply use the bulk send feature and add the email addresses of the people you want to sign the document. This will save you significant time, automating your signing process.
Create a Digital Signature
With Signaturely, creating digital signatures takes mere seconds. You can choose to either draw your signature or type it. There are different fonts and colors to choose from. Once your signature is complete, the process of downloading it is free and easy.
Other options for creating digital signatures are expensive, include less customization, and require more technical knowledge.
Create a Contract Online
Signaturely allows you to create awesome contracts online that you can reuse over and over. There is a complete library of templates to choose from, covering seemingly every topic or issue.
To do this manually, you would need lots of paper and ink, which wastes time and money.
Sign up for Signaturely for free today,
This article covered everything you need to know about digital workflows and how they can improve your business.
Digital workflows use the power of computers and the internet to improve tasks and activities that are usually done manually. They optimize and automate to improve operational efficiency.
Got any questions or comments? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.