Five reasons to automate document-based processes

Johannesburg, 06 Dec 2017
Read time 5min 30sec

Organisations have moved beyond the era of entirely manual document-based processes, thankfully. Think of the workplaces depicted in old movies, where rows of employees stretching as far as the eye can see are crammed in together, tapping away on typewriters on their tiny desks.

Anything that needed to be documented had to be typed up by hand, delivered back and forth between colleagues and clients through the postal system, or delivered by hand.

Although this scenario is long gone, many businesses today are still bridging the gap between manual processes and automation. They have adopted some new technology, like e-signatures, but still have one foot firmly rooted in the past.

Today there are businesses that continue to use legacy document and workflow processes - which include a lot of manual work and risk human error. This is costing them time and money, and causing them to lose ground to more digitally-oriented competitors.

Businesses need to retire the old ways of doing things as it's time to embrace the future of Workflow and Content Automation (WCA).

In this post, we'll define WCA and provide five reasons your organisation should automate document-based processes based on a recent webinar Nintex co-hosted with Aragon Research.

What is workflow and content automation (WCA)?

WCA is a new type of software that consolidates traditional workflow and content generation. With the technology available now, content automation is no longer just about storing and tracking documents, so that documents get to where they need to go and are approved on time.

With WCA, it's now about incorporating documents into sophisticated workflow automation technology so they can be created faster and made smarter, more dynamic and data-driven. For instance, if you need to send a contract to a client, you can quickly create a document that auto-fills with all the relevant information, including client and contract details. It will also ensure that all legal or compliance-related content is included.

WCA also goes further, by allowing users to analyse the data created by these processes. This means you can analyse the data and make sure your best processes are repeated and poorly performing ones are replaced or improved, which can help businesses radically transform how work gets done.

5 reasons to automate document-based processes

There are five main reasons your organisation should automate document-based processes:

1. Buy and integrate fewer products

When you combine workflow and content automation, you reduce the number of products you need to purchase, deploy and support. You don't have to train your teams to use two different systems.

For your IT teams, there is less technical support required, and solutions like Nintex Workflow Cloud involve no coding to deploy.

It also removes information silos that may have previously existed. To maximise efficiency, content and data should flow freely between apps, people and processes.

2. Documents are slowing you down

Manual document-based processes are slowing your business down. Fully automating these will radically speed up how quickly your organization runs.

A few years ago, everyone was excited about e-signatures and how much faster this made document approval. But now, the real excitement lies in the potential of document generation. With easy-to-use platforms like Nintex Workflow Cloud, you can access data that can help you speed up the creation of a document, even fully automating that process.

Businesses should be thinking: how can we create documents more intelligently, with less human input? For instance, does a document need to be sent to a lawyer for review, or can we set up a process smart enough to know that the right clauses have been inserted and it's ready to go?

3. Streamline the customer journey

Automation leads to faster, more satisfactory customer experiences.

While looking at your document-based processes, ask yourself how many different departments interact with your customers on a regular basis. Next, consider how streamlined are those processes? How streamlined is the support journey?

What's important is how you manage the customer throughout this journey, as well as the data generated. When documents are involved, you need to do everything in your power to fully automate and optimize them to be able to deliver the kinds of experiences customers want. Otherwise, you risk losing customers to your competitors' products.

4. Grow revenues faster

If you speed up document-based processes, efficiency will improve throughout your organisation.

* Sales - automation can save one to three hours per deal, increase the number of proposals you make and give you more time for selling.
* Operations - faster partner onboarding, lower error rate, streamlined operations.
* Finance and legal - automated document generation, content analytics, happier customers.
* HR - faster hiring, faster onboarding, happier associates, increased productivity.

What's more, it can have a snowball effect. When tasks are completed quicker, people don't have to wait on others. They can get on with their work, which in turn might speed up the next task in the workflow. When more work is being accomplished, revenues will grow.

5. Redefine markets with innovation

Automation can radically transform your business.

When it comes to automating processes, the key questions all businesses should be asking are: How can I leverage automation and intelligence to improve the way we do things? And similarly, now that we have automated our basic processes how can we optimise this further using the data that is being generated? Start-ups already tend to think this way - which is why we see so many disruptive companies succeeding. But, other businesses need to do so as well.

Nintex has thousands of enterprise customers based around the world with many operating within their respective industries for decades. It sees more and more companies looking to re-invent the way that they do business both internally, in terms of their back office, and also in customer-facing roles. It is seeing them achieve real success through adopting workflow and content automation technologies and using the intelligence generated to push the business forward.

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Nintex Stephan Gous
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