No matter what industry you operate in, your teams will all follow a specific process or set of rules to carry out and complete their tasks. This is their workflow; it’s the pattern they follow for getting from A to B. And having a solid workflow is essential. It’s how businesses can produce repeatable, predictable results, every time. The problem is that these workflows are getting increasingly complex.
Workflow complexity is growing
As businesses begin to scale, grow, and implement new digital technologies, workflows are becoming increasingly complicated. For example, if new software is introduced, employees may find themselves facing an additional step in their process, having to input data into the system. As workflows become more complex, the need for human input rises. This can create two issues:
- Employees are bogged down by admin, leaving them with little time to do their jobs
- Employees feel overwhelmed with growing workloads, resulting in high staff turnover rates
The good news is that many managers today are taking action when they see that workflows are overly complicated. The bad news is that they’re not always taking the right type of action.
The natural go-to approach is to try and reduce the number of tasks needed to get from A to B. The problem with this is that complex workflows are built for a reason. They’re how businesses are going to produce the best possible results, and maintain a competitive advantage in a fierce landscape.
Instead, managers should be looking to retain their complex workflows, but simplify how those workflows are followed. And that’s where artificial intelligence and machine learning can help.
AI and business workflows
Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies use machine learning to ‘understand’ business workflows from start to finish. By utilising data held within business systems, analysing patterns, and identifying triggers, these technologies are capable of automatically carrying out repeatable tasks within the workflow without the need for human input. When implemented correctly, AI can help to…
- Eliminate the risk of human error
- Prevent bottlenecks in the workflow
- Ensure tasks are completed as needed
- Improve efficiency and accuracy
- Streamline the pathway from A to B
- Free up employees for more profitable activities
Consider invoice generation, for example. Traditionally, the accounts team would be responsible for pulling out information from a customer order, using that data to produce an invoice containing all the necessary information, and sending that invoice to the right client. It can be a time-consuming process that isn’t always the most valuable use of an employee’s time.
Workflow automation software can achieve the same outcome in a fraction of the time, with zero chance of human error. AI systems are taught what data sets to look for; they extract these pieces of information automatically, and produce invoices instantly in response to an order being made. Even better, these technologies are continually ‘learning’ and improving with each document processed.
Make work simple, not basic
Complex workflows allow businesses to achieve more, and grab new opportunities as they arise. In today’s competitive landscape, basic workflows aren’t enough to keep organisations at the top. However, many businesses can’t continue on the road they’re on; they can’t keep making workflows more complicated, without introducing new, simpler ways to manage them. That’s what AI is for. Artificial intelligence is key to managing modern workflows with greater simplicity and confidence.