In the past, we’ve looked at how automation improves employee engagement and surveyed information workers for our 2017 Automation Report. The report showed that there are three key processes — data collection, approvals, and updates — that, when automated, give people more time to focus on high-value work.
But automation doesn’t just free up time for workers. It can also improve visibility and create accountability across an organization. By giving teams access to the same information across the board — a single source of truth to work from — they can more quickly move forward on projects.
While communication tools such as email, instant messaging applications, and team collaboration software have their uses, information often gets lost in the shuffle. Sifting through messages and status updates across multiple platforms is not only a tedious process, but it creates knowledge gaps.
Teams can’t quickly and effectively communicate changes to projects or processes when information is siloed. There’s no single source of truth, making it difficult to move work forward. Using a work management platform that automates time-consuming, manual tasks makes a noticeable difference.
For example, instead of wasting time racing around the office gathering metric reports from stakeholders or sending status update emails, workers can set up automated update requests to gather the information they need to get projects done. Then, that information is consolidated in one place for anyone on the project to reference.
Likewise, rather than approval confirmations being stuck in a project manager’s inbox, automated approvals are saved directly to a row in a project sheet, so workers with access can see if materials were approved by a customer, say, or if a budget was approved by the VP.
Automation can help create and keep up-to-date a single source of truth for teams to reference on any given workstream, project, or process, giving them visibility into the information they need to complete work on time — or even faster.
Improve Visibility With Automated Data Collection
Manual data collection can kill productivity. When set up correctly, automated data collection saves time and is more reliable than human data entry. In addition, individuals can seamlessly circulate the data they collect from surveys and analytics reporting.
Imagine a senior product manager is tasked with soliciting customer feedback on new features they want to see developed. Using Smartsheet Forms, she can gather survey responses, combine with other data points and research, and fold it into product planning. The survey data is automatically captured and stored in a structured format within a sheet.
She can then set up daily updates to report survey results to her entire team. In addition, in-app notifications give contributors real-time visibility into assignments and data points that would benefit from their swift input.
Get the Information You Need
As companies strive to do more with fewer resources and iterate faster to impact their respective markets, they’ll rely more and more on automation to get work done.
Innovative teams who take advantage of automation to eliminate the inefficient, manual processes for data collection, approvals, and status updates will certainly save time. They’ll also improve their communication around and visibility into the work being done, whether that’s adjusting a project’s scope, completing tasks, reporting real-time data, or confirming approvals for a project phase.
When employees have visibility into the real-time information they need to get work done, they can respond to each other faster, make decisions more quickly, and ultimately focus on delivering superior products or experiences to their customers.
Watch this video to find out how Colliers International | Wisconsin uses Smartsheet Automated Actions to speed up key business processes for clients: