Workflow Process Improvement: Powering Growth in The Digital Age

In a business environment impacted by labor shortages, unstable geopolitics and challenging economic forecasts, workflow process improvement is a strategy that instills resilience in uncertain times.

FlowForma’s recent roundtable event delivered in partnership with Executive Leaders Network and attended by global CIOs, discussed three trending themes in workflow process improvement, AI (artificial intelligence), no code, and data analytics.

With lively debate, the delegates discussed the tools, techniques, and strategies that are driving a competitive edge, fostering innovation, and supporting organizational objectives. In this blog, we outline how these trending topics are shaping the future of workflow automation and provide key insights on making the right strategic moves on your process journey.  

Let’s start with AI.  

AI and Workflow Process Improvement

According to EY, GenAI is the no 1 opportunity for businesses in the year ahead. It’s also the most fashionable buzzword across boardrooms today.

With senior IT leaders feeling the pressure from the CEOs to deploy AI technologies across their organizations. However, the idealist vision of AI autopiloting an organization is far from reality. Critical thinking is needed to align the right people, processes, and technologies to an AI strategy.  

Workflow Process Improvement: Powering Growth in The Digital AgeImage Source: Google Trends, AI Search In Google 2004 - 2024

AI has the potential to be a true game-changer for the digital age. There are parallels to the Industrial Revolution where manual tasks were replaced by technical advances such as mass manufacturing production. But the key difference in today’s digital environment, is that data holds the key to the success or failure of this technological revolution.

Bad data and AI

According to Gartner, bad data is costing organizations an average of $12.9 million every year. This cost highlights the potential business impact of poor data.

This impact is even more acute when it involves AI. At the recent roundtable event, we advised delegates not to deploy new AI technologies without having a robust data and analytics foundation at the organization's core. This topic resonates as IT leaders know both the potential and pitfalls of a data strategy.

Organizations with a foundation for AI-powered workflow automation will be empowered to make informed decisions, and drive productivity, cost savings, and business growth.

But without a robust data core, organizations will fail with AI. Algorithms programmed to auto-scale with inaccurate data can lead to a wide range of issues, and a waste of money and resources on rectifying the data inconsistencies.   

But how do you become a truly data-centric organization? The best approach for creating this data foundation is empowering workers via a citizen development program. In its essence citizen development empowers non-technical workers to automate manual tasks.

Citizen development supports organizations to scale digitalization and strategically apply AI to the parts of the business most likely to deliver outcomes. And no code digital process automation is the technology that powers citizen development programs.   

Process improvement with citizen development 

One of many tangible examples of successful citizen development by FlowForma’s customers was at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM). LSTM saw the transformative potential of citizen development and placed 60 employees in FlowForma’s training program. With a ‘digital first’ mindset, LSTM was empowered to successfully launch 65 workflows in 14 months.

An organization that was once “awash with paper form-based processes” is now transformed and sees huge efficiency gains. Every department is now automating processes leading to significant time savings, cost savings and productivity improvements.  

Workflow Process Improvement: Powering Growth in The Digital AgeRead the LSTM case study    

Find out how to empower citizen developers in a controlled environment:  

No Code Powering Workflow Process Improvement 

The second theme discussed on the roundtable was no code process automation. In our world at FlowForma, no code is the only way to instill digitalization in an organization's DNA.

According to Forrester, CIOs who empower their non-technical staff to automate processes achieve improved employee productivity by reducing repetitive tasks and manual errors and allowing them to focus on high-value work.  

For CIOs, a ‘no code’ approach is the most direct way to accelerate digital transformation. Since process owners and business units are enabled to innovate with minimal (or no) support from IT or outside programming, it’s a powerful tool for pent-up change agents.  

Learn more about no code technology in this short video:

 

No code also enables a higher level of organizational contribution by users than ever before, leading to an increased influence on organizational performance and a higher level of C-Level support. But no code investment is just part of the journey.

One of the key questions we get speaking with CIOs globally is ‘how to demonstrate ROI for your tech investment’. In fact, according to Capgemini Consulting, 78% of executives consider this to be a critical issue. This was also, the third topic discussed on our roundtable.  

Evidence-Based ROI for Technology Investments

Putting data at the heart of your no code strategy will showcase the impact of digital process automation on people, resources, and processes.  This in turn will highlight productivity improvements, cost savings and business improvements.

We would also recommend focusing on a limited number of processes, building for scale, and then automating that sample process across the organization. Using this approach can mean the difference between incremental and exponential ROI.   

What’s involved in scaling automation?

Your organization needs to become data-centric and start standardizing approaches to data collection, analysis, and reporting. If you don’t follow this approach, it becomes impossible to scale automation.

Without the visibility informed by rich data, it t will also become difficult to measure the ROI from your tech investment. Fast and easy access to data is central to scaling automation.

Dashboards can highlight errors, gains, and ROI in real-time helping to make the business case for technology simple.

At FlowForma we recently released a new analytics module where you can seamlessly build dashboards within the product without needing 3rd party tools like Excel or Power BI. If you’d like to learn more, check out the new analytics module here.  

Process success casse study

One example of an organization where data was central to their digitalization success was the A14 Integration team. The A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme was the largest construction project in the UK. It was a £1.5 billion joint venture between Costain, Skanska and Balfour Beatty.

The project goal was to deploy FlowForma Process Automation for complete data audibility and traceability across the project. A central data repository was successfully developed enabling accurate reporting across the project which resulted in the avoidance of a multi-million-pound compliance fine.

Data-led approach empowered the A14 Integration team to demonstrate their compliance and avoid potential fines while demonstrating the ROI for their technology investment.  

Workflow Process Improvement: Powering Growth in The Digital AgeRead the full case study   

Next Steps with Workflow Process Improvement 

Digitalization is a journey. No matter where your organization sits on its journey, we invite you to explore the opportunities no code digital process automation presents.

Take your next steps with the guidance of experts that have developed a model for success. Talk to our team today for obligation-free advice on how to start and scale digitalization in your organization.

Gerard Newman, CTO

Gerard has over 20 years of experience designing and delivering process automation solutions that have allowed businesses to integrate and automate their operations to deliver better customer experiences and improve efficiency. Gerard is focused on ideating new concepts for our product’s roadmap helping businesses to make the complex simple.

Gerard Newman, CTO

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