How to Automate Processes

Organizations of all sizes need a strategic plan to implement work process automation that takes on manual repetitive tasks and frees up time for information workers to focus on high-value, creative work. The tasks workers would most like to see automated? Data collection and data entry, sign-offs and approvals, and status updates, according to the Automation in the Workplace report. 

But how to get started with even the seemingly simplest of process automation? We’ve detailed a few steps to help you and your team begin — without waiting for your IT department — so you can immediately reap the benefits of this increasingly important technology.

Look for a No-Code Solution

The best way to quickly get started automating processes is to look for a no-code solution that enables business users to create automation rules and automate their work processes on their own, without writing a single line of code or complex formula — or requiring help from IT.

In contrast to low-code solutions, which often require significant technical knowledge to be of any use to the business user, no-code solutions are business-ready applications that let information workers quickly and easily create their own work process automations.

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Identify Manual, Repeatable Tasks to Automate

Once you’ve selected a no-code work execution platform that makes it easy for business users to create their own automation rules, work with your team to identify quick wins. Take a look at the manual, repeatable tasks your team performs every day that take up a lot of their time, and consider which work processes would have the biggest impact on your team’s productivity if they were automated.

Ask your team which tasks and processes they would most like to have automated. Since they are closer to the day-to-day work of those processes, they may come up with potential automations that did not occur to you.  

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Create Automation Rules

Once your team has determined which tasks they would like to automate, they are ready to start automating tasks and processes. If you are working with a no-code solution, your team can easily create automation rules through a step-by-step walkthrough that automates their manual tasks and work processes in just a few clicks.

For example, Smartsheet enables workers to set up automated approval processes, automated update requests, and automated reminders based on the criteria information workers select in a simple walk-through. 

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Document Your Process

A key part of establishing any work process is documentation — making sure everyone knows what the process is, or at least where they can learn more about how the process works.

Process documentation can help facilitate conversations about current processes, prompt continual process changes, help preserve knowledge if someone closely involved in a process leaves the company, and give everyone a clear understanding of how a process currently works.

As your team members automate manual, repetitive tasks and other repeatable workflows, consider having them document their processes, or update existing documentation, to give everyone visibility into newly created automated processes.

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