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Thinking About Automating Your Enterprise Processes? Ask These 3 Questions

From traditional workflow management to cloud-based user-friendly tools, find the right fit for your enterprise.

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Today’s breakneck pace of work is driven by multiple streams of process that require updates and approvals. This means that all too often, important decisions are regularly delayed in the wait for information from an on-the-go project manager or a quick approval from a busy executive. What should be a fast task becomes a time-wasting experience for everyone when information is lost in the daily flood of communication.

To address this productivity-killing cycle, multiple solutions for the enterprise have emerged – everything from traditional workflow management systems that have been a solution for process automation for years, to emerging work management tools, with features for automated routing, tracking, and notifications, that can easily simplify and accelerate routine processes.

Process automation has a powerful impact on your organization’s work. As you search for the right solution, weigh the pros and cons of the old world and the new.

Traditional Workflow Management Systems

Long-established workflow management systems are large-scale, standalone software, designed to automate major work within an organization. These systems can handle highly complex processes and integrations with other enterprise applications. Keep in mind that the automated improvements typically must be programmed by a system administrator with deep expertise.

Additionally, for many organizations, a traditional workflow management system may be too complex and expensive to deploy and support, and offer more capabilities than are necessary.

The New Face of Everyday Automation

As an alternative, the cloud-based Smartsheet enterprise work management platform is easy to use and utilizes a familiar interface as the starting point for automation.

Smartsheet offers non-technical users a way to easily build automation into their own work processes. These processes can connect with key enterprise systems and send updates on mobile devices, so the right people get the right information at the right time. Any new process an end-user builds is immediately available to other authorized users, internal and external alike. In this way, teams can quickly get on the same page.

“By optimizing our experience for the business user rather than IT experts, we empower more people to automate and optimize their work processes than is the case with traditional solutions,” says Scott Willeke, product manager for Smartsheet.

Three Questions to Ask as You Select Tools to Automate Work

Given the choices that exist, use these three questions to help identify what type of process automation platform will most benefit your organization:

  • What is the scope of the work you need to automate? Are you facing a fairly complicated process that has existed in the same state for years? If so, a more traditional workflow management system may be the right fit. Do you need to remove steps from daily processes? When it comes to automating daily tasks, end users are most in tuned with the needs of the business owners involved, and can successfully build a solution with a tool like Smartsheet faster -- and fine-tune on the fly.
  • How often do your internal processes change? Is your organization more nimble and continuously improving internal processes? If so, a newer work management solution like Smartsheet offers the flexibility to change and update automated rules without a heavy lift. Or do you tend to stick with the status quo? If so, the time investment to build automated processes with traditional tools and IT expertise could be a good fit.
  • What resources are you prepared to dedicate to removing unnecessary steps from processes? Traditional workflow management tools require dedicated specialists to maintain and optimize, whereas work management tools like Smartsheet are built with the end user in mind and empower them to make changes within an intuitive interface without the help of IT. Consider the resources you’re willing to dedicate to automation before selecting a solution.

Both traditional workflow management systems and newer solutions have different strengths when it comes to simplifying the way your organization gets work done. Increasingly, leading organizations are tapping into the potential that lies in handing the keys to the automation kingdom over to end users. What they have to show you may surprise you.

Read more about automating work processes with Smartsheet.

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