6 Things to Consider when Implementing Workflow Automation

Trends can come and go in technology, what was popular one year could be practically antiquated the next. Often the “next big thing” becomes the “same old thing” relatively quickly, and organizations need to keep up with internal and external needs. Beyond just staying on top of what’s driving your industry, external factors such as regulation changes and an increasing need for secure systems can usher in new and necessary technology sometimes quicker than anticipated.

Across all industries in organizations of all sizes, updating old systems that are no longer working isn’t just a luxury, it’s a necessity. By employing a smart workflow automation process, your organization can improve efficiency, save money, and stay on top of compliance and security needs.

Making the decision to implement a workflow automation solution is an easy one, but deciding what’s important in order for your system to be successful can be more difficult.

When deciding that it’s time to take advantage of new software and processes, you should consider the following:

  1. Flexibility
  2. Business process overhaul
  3. Connectivity with Other Systems
  4. Collaboration
  5. Cost
  6. Security

Flexibility

Even just 10-15 years ago, many businesses just relied on a single desktop computer and a (not-so-smart) phone to get the job done. Now, employees work off of laptops, tablets, smartphones, even watches to complete their daily tasks, and their solutions must seamlessly work with whatever tech they’re using. Consider what devices your employees utilize on a daily basis, any solution you look into should be compatible with them.

Business Process Overhaul

Gone are the days of a simple linear workflow. Your organization doesn’t operate in a straight line, why should your ECM? Organizations rarely work in linear step by step processes without coming across roadblocks that can drive key business decisions. A smart optimized process goes beyond basic steps and allows for exceptions and process changes based on your organizational needs. Smarter workflows mean more efficiency in your processes and more time and money saved for your organization.

Connectivity with Other Systems

If an automation solution doesn’t work with your existing HRIS, ERP, or other line-of-business software, then it won’t work with your organization. “One-trick-pony” solutions are no longer, and finding consultants who can link your existing software to an all-in-one business process management solution is absolutely critical.

Collaboration

Collaboration is necessary within organizations, departments, with stakeholders, vendors, and other third parties, and that communication can’t happen without an intuitive system designed for collaboration. Strategic solutions look at all points of contact between an organization’s documents and its key contacts.

Cost

As with any major investment into your organization, cost is going to be a deciding factor. According to Nucleus Research, for every $1 spent on an effective automation solution a company can expect a return of $7.50.  When looking at the initial “sticker” price of a solution, consider what the return may be, and look into cloud-based options vs. on-site hosting, bundled licensing fees and payment plans, tax credits, and other opportunities to reduce the initial hard cost of acquisition.

Security

Did you know that employees are often cited as the primary cause of data breaches? While file sharing technologies like Google Drive and Dropbox are making it easier to share content, they also lead to gaps in security. Investing in a security-centered solution can reduce your risk of compromising important documents and data. Seek out a solution that allows for group, document, and user-based access rights, redactions, and other features designed to protect your data.

Finding a solution that fits your needs, budget, and existing tech can be difficult. Often out of the box solutions don’t fit all of your needs, but the prospect of acquiring a custom solution may seem daunting. Working with business process automation consultants like Mosaic can help you fully understand your needs and determine the exact solution that’s right for your business.

Give us as call at 1-800-387-7859 to learn more about how you can implement a holistic ECM solution.

Automation in the Procure to Pay process

When looking for opportunities to improve business functions and save money, many organizations look to their existing accounting processes. Accounts Payable processes specifically are typically antiquated, slow, and costly, and there are plenty of opportunities for improvement. A good place to start your accounting department’s digital transformation is within the Procure to Pay (P2P) process.

In PayStream Advisors’ 2018 Procurement Insight Report, they identified some of the biggest pain points within the P2P process. Some of the top pain points reported were that their process differs across departments, the technology they use is inadequate, there’s too much paper in the process, and that they are using several disjointed systems.

In digging deeper, they identified that almost half of all organizations don’t have centralized procurement, which alone can cause a completely inefficient process cross-departmentally. By not having a simplified, standardized procurement process, you risk late-payments and hiccups within your process. In fact, 25% of organizations don’t even have a formal process for managing and monitoring budgets, which if left unaddressed, can be detrimental to an organization.

What does a typical P2P process look like?

  1. Create requisitions
  2. Approve requisitions
  3. Create a purchase order
  4. Approve purchase order
  5. Accept or reject the receipt
  6. Evaluate supplier
  7. Approve invoice
  8. Pay vendor

Typically each of these steps are done manually. You have someone create the requisitions, someone else to approve them, someone who creates the PO, someone who approves it, and each step is passing paper back and forth between employees and departments until you reach the final step. The biggest issue is that there is a large margin for error within each of these steps. Maintaining consistent communication throughout the process can be difficult, and may lead to problems.

How can you automate each of these steps? It may be assumed that you would need to implement a separate solution for each part of the process, but a holistic, smartly integrated automation suite can solve your workflow woes all in one place.

Invoice Matching

Easily match vendor invoice, purchase order, and product receipt information. A state-of-the-art ECM (such as DocStar) makes matching and routing invoices to their correct recipients is incredibly simple. Many top organizations get started by using an ECM then progress to a system that combines workflow enabled logic with Artificial Intelligence to make their process even smarter (and faster). Quickly identify discrepancies with little manual work by utilizing Smart Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

Create & approve requisitions and purchase orders

Create custom forms for requisitions and purchase orders. These can easily be completed by employees and immediately sent to managers for approval.

ERP Integration

Utilizing an intuitive system that integrates with your ERP is crucial. The key to a successful fully automated P2P process is working with an ECM and solution provider that has pre-built integrations, and the experience to do it successfully. The best ECM providers can work to create integration in areas where you an API or prebuilt integration does not exist by leveraging Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to scrape the UI, extract the data, then push it to your line of business application. With integration, key tasks can be automated with close to no manual efforts and it’s much simpler to monitor procurements and budgets.

How Mosaic can help

Automating your entire P2P process can seem overwhelming, but we’ve had plenty of experience in helping customers simplify complex processes. We can create a fully customized automation plan for your Procure to Payment process. We’ll help you save time, money, and resources while moving towards complete automation.

Schedule a demo with us! Call 1-800-387-7859