Workflow automation is taking the modern work world by storm, and for good reason! These powerful tools are revolutionizing the way creators and startups get work done, allowing them to streamline and automate repetitive tasks, and free up time and resources to focus on the creative stuff.
Workflow automation is becoming increasingly important in today's workplaces, as organizations look for ways to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and keep up with the demands of an increasingly competitive and fast-paced business environment. And with so many innovative workflow automation tools on the market, it's never been easier for teams and solopreneurs to find the perfect solution for their unique needs.
At Worklife, we're investing in companies reimagining work in a way that leads to a more flexible, creative, and fulfilling life. This isn't the future of work we're talking about here–the new era is here. We live in a world where you can generate a blog article with OpenAI’s ChatGPT, and outsource your meal planning to a food startup.
Whether you're a solo creative entrepreneur or part of a growing startup, these emerging automation tools are a game-changer. So why wait? It's time to join the automation revolution and supercharge your creative workflow!
New to workflow automation? We got you! Keep reading to learn everything about it – from examples of tools you can use to how it can start saving you and your company time and money!
So, What Is Workflow Automation?
So what is workflow automation software, and why should you care? Workflow automation isn't a new concept. While many workflow automation startups are now focused on office-type task management, workflow management has been a key concept in large manufacturing facilities for decades.
Workflow automation refers to the use of technology to streamline and automate the steps in a business process or workflow to improve efficiency and reduce the need for manual intervention.
There are many tools available that can help automate various tasks in a workflow, allowing teams to focus on more important and meaningful work. These tools can range from simple tools that automate basic tasks to more complex systems that can handle more advanced processes.
Workflow Automation Types
Some common examples of workflow automation tools include:
- Task management tools: A Scrum Master's dream software. These tools help teams track and manage tasks, assign tasks to team members, and set deadlines.
- Collaboration tools: Critical for everyone from content creators to architects. These tools enable teams to communicate and share information in real time, helping to improve collaboration and coordination.
- Project management tools: These tools help teams plan, track, and manage projects from start to finish, including setting goals, assigning tasks, and tracking progress.
- Automation software: These tools can automate many tasks, from simple data entry to complex processes such as invoicing or payroll.
This is just grazing the surface of workflow automation platforms rolled out in recent years.
The Rise of Automation Tech
According to The State of Process Automation Report from 2020, 97% of IT decision-makers see process automation as a critical element of digital transformation. In addition, 36% of organizations have already implemented business solutions technologies to automate their processes, while 29% of companies plan to do so in the near future.
The rise of automation technology has been driven by several factors, including the increasing availability and affordability of automation tools and systems, the growing demand for more efficient and cost-effective processes, and the need to keep up with the demands of a rapidly changing business environment.
There are no signs of the automation revolution slowing down anytime soon. And it's not just big corporations taking advantage of these tools–small businesses and startups are getting in on the action too.
Creative burnout is a common challenge for many creatives, and it can be difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance when navigating work and side projects. Fortunately, automation technology can be a helpful tool for creatives looking to avoid burnout by streamlining and optimizing their workflow. By automating repetitive tasks and freeing up time and resources, creatives can focus on the creative work that truly inspires and energizes them.
Automation is also being used in startups looking to fuel growth and succeed in today's competitive business landscape. As a result, they can streamline and optimize processes, forecast with accuracy, and scale more efficiently.
Benefits of Workflow Automation
There's no denying that automation technology has the potential to disrupt traditional industries and change the way we work. And with so many advancements on the horizon, it's no wonder that the discourse around automation often centers on its potential impact on employment.
While it's true that automation can potentially replace certain tasks and roles, it's essential to keep in mind that it can also create new opportunities and improve overall efficiency. In fact, the World Economic Forum argues that automation can actually help to create jobs and drive economic growth, rather than taking them away.
“We are often told that millions of jobs will be lost to automation in the coming years, but the real impact depends on how we manage the transition. It has the potential to create more economic opportunities, promote a regionalized manufacturing model, and provide rewarding career pathways for a more diverse workforce.”
The key is approaching automation with a proactive and forward-thinking mindset, rather than viewing it as a threat. By embracing the potential of automation and finding ways to use it to our advantage, we can create a bright and prosperous future for all. So, it's important to keep an open mind and see the potential benefits that automation can bring, like:
- Increased efficiency: Automating workflow processes can eliminate manual steps and errors, leading to faster turnaround times and increased productivity.
- Improved accuracy: Automated processes can reduce the risk of errors caused by manual input or data entry, leading to higher-quality outputs and fewer mistakes.
- Enhanced collaboration: Workflow automation tools can help teams work more efficiently by enabling them to collaborate and share information in real time.
- Greater transparency: Automated processes can provide a clear record of the steps taken, helping teams track progress and understand how work is completed.
- Reduced Costs: Automating workflow processes can help reduce the need for manual labor and administrative tasks, leading to lower operating costs.
- Increased agility: Automated processes can be easily modified or adapted as needed, allowing organizations to respond quickly to changing business needs.
Workflow Automation Tools for Creatives
Creative entrepreneurs know how to hustle. They channel that creative energy into the products they design, the networks they build, and even their way of approaching their workflow.
By automating repetitive tasks and streamlining their workflow, creative entrepreneurs can free up time and mental energy to focus on their craft. With the help of workflow automation tools, they can easily manage their projects, collaborate with team members, and stay organized while maintaining a high level of creativity and innovation.
Whether it's designing a new product, developing a marketing campaign, or creating a piece of artwork, workflow automation can help creative entrepreneurs bring their vision to fruition more efficiently and effectively. So if you're a creative entrepreneur looking to take your ideas to the next level, consider incorporating the following workflow automation software into your toolkit.
Automation Workflow for eCommerce
Business workflow automation can be particularly useful for e-commerce. If you’re thinking of starting an e-commerce business, workflow automation software can help you with order processing, inventory management, customer service, and marketing.
For example, you can set up automated emails to welcome new customers or notify them of abandoned carts, and use automated inventory tracking to ensure you always have the right products in stock. Automation can also help you stay organized by keeping your eCommerce data in one place and making it easy to access and analyze.
One tool we've seen catapult into popularity is Pietra, a Worklife portfolio company.
Pietra is transforming the way new DTC brands are born. The creator platform empowers creators to design, manufacture, and ship products to customers under their own brand, rather than partnering with someone else. Pietra automates the process of setting up your vendors, building an eCommerce page, fulfilling your orders, and managing your inventory.
Take Sienna Mae Gomez, an 18-year old content creator who launched a new swimwear line on Pietra. With 13 million followers on TikTok, content creators are looking to expand their business and own their audience outside of social media platforms and are in need of tools to make that process easier. Thanks to Pietra, creators can launch their own celebrity brands.
Shopify Flow is another leading eCommerce tool making waves in automation. Businesses can create custom no-code automations for everything from inventory management to fraud protection. On any given month, Shopify Flow automates 1 billion decisions for business owners! Imagine what they're doing with all that extra time and brain power.
Automate Your Creative Workflow
You know creativity is the key to your success as a creative. But sometimes, the creative process can be messy and disorganized. That's where automation comes in.
Automation tools can help creatives with the following:
- Task management: Automated task management tools can help creatives track and manage tasks, assign tasks to team members, and set deadlines, improving efficiency and productivity.
- Collaboration: Automated collaboration tools can help creatives communicate and share information in real time, improving collaboration and coordination.
- File sharing and storage: Automated file sharing and storage tools can help creatives securely share and access files and documents, streamlining workflows and improving collaboration.
- Design and content creation: Automated design and content creation tools can help creatives create and edit designs, graphics, and other content more efficiently, reducing the time and effort required to complete these tasks.
In looking at the workflow automation platform landscape, a few really stand out.
Zapier is a longstanding, widely popular web-based automation tool in the game. It allows users to connect and automate their online accounts and services in one dashboard. With Zapier, you can create "zaps," which are automated tasks that run in the background and perform specific actions based on triggers you set. For example, you could create a zap that automatically adds a new task to your project management tool whenever a new client inquiry comes in.
As a creative, it's essential to have a system in place to manage your projects and stay organized. That's where Airtable comes in. Airtable is a cloud-based database and organization platform allowing users to create, collaborate, and manage various projects and tasks. It combines a spreadsheet's features with a database's flexibility, making it a powerful tool for organizing and tracking data.
Imagine you're a freelance photographer working on a project for a magazine. With Airtable, you can create a custom database to track all the project details, including the shots you need to take, the locations you'll be visiting, and any special equipment you need. You can even use Airtable's integrations with tools like Google Maps and Google Calendar to plan out your schedule and routes.
Need a website to help attract new clients? You can spin one up with no coding knowledge with the help of one of our favorite tools, Webflow (Worklife portfolio company). Webflow is a popular website design and development platform that offers a range of automation features to help users streamline their workflow and save time. Webflow reported that they helped generate over 3 million websites in 2022 alone! Automated features allow users to automate tasks, such as updating content, generating reports, and triggering actions based on certain conditions.
The most significant opportunity for workflow automation technology in 2023 will come from AI-powered automation. In addition to tools like ChatGPT for coding and content generation, AI art generators like Stable Diffusion are the talk of the town.
AI art generators are a powerful tool that can help creators streamline their workflow and save time. These algorithms use machine learning to generate unique, high-quality artwork based on input parameters, allowing creators to quickly produce a wide range of designs and styles. So instead of spending hours or even days creating designs from scratch, creators can use AI art generators to promptly generate a range of options to choose from.
In today's fast-paced and competitive creative industry, lean teams and companies with low operation costs will be better positioned to win in this market. When using automation tools, you can empower yourself to focus on your passion, build faster, and let the technology handle the rest.
Workflow Automation Software for Developers
Workflow automation softwares are a game-changer for developers. Whether working on a small side project or a large-scale enterprise application, workflow automation software can help you get more done and stay organized. From automating builds and deployments to automating your code reviews, workflow automation software has a range of features and tools to help you streamline your process and build better products.
Automate Your Projects
Developers were some of the original workers embracing the hybrid workplace, meaning they had to find or build tools to help them stay connected and work together efficiently. Version control systems like Git allow developers to collaborate on code and track changes to their projects. Continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) tools like Jenkins automate the process of building, testing, and deploying code.
But the two startups we're keeping our eyes on in 2023 are:
Internal is focused on reducing developer time spent on internal tools. With Internal, developers can create a multi-step workflow incorporating database queries, API calls, and custom logic to save time on things like weekly jobs or customer on-boarding. Streamlining your development process for internal tools keeps the focus and coding power on the front end.
For API developers, Optic offers the tech to enable your team to adopt OpenAPI, conduct API design reviews, prevent breaking changes and follow your team's API standards. By automating the implementation of key standards in your API program, you can streamline the process and free up time to focus on the most critical aspects of API design, such as addressing consumer and product needs.
The more you can automate, the more you can concentrate on the critical elements of development and ensure that your product meets the needs of your users!
Workflow Automation for Growth
Creatives and developers aren't the only ones that get to transform their workflow with automation tools. In reality, any business can benefit from the power of artificial intelligence and workflow automation!
By automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, businesses can free up resources and focus on more value-added activities, allowing them to scale faster and more efficiently. And with the ability to reduce the risk of human error, businesses can enjoy improved accuracy and quality.
These tools can also help businesses manage and analyze large amounts of data, providing valuable insights for decision-making and strategy development. In short, workflow automation is the ultimate growth hack for companies looking to stay ahead of the curve.
Manage Your Finances
Workflow automation tools are changing the game for businesses looking to streamline their financial and accounting processes. With the ability to automate tasks such as invoicing, payment processing, and expense management, companies can save time and resources and reduce the risk of errors. Plus, these tools can help businesses stay organized and up-to-date by providing real-time visibility into financial data and metrics.
And with integration options with popular accounting software such as QuickBooks and Xero, businesses can easily sync their financial data and enjoy seamless, end-to-end automation. If you're juggling multiple streams of income, this is the space to embrace.
If 2023 is the year you want to streamline your finance and accounting workflows, we've got a few suggestions on tools you can use:
- Archie: Finance teams can automate accounts payable workflows, including payment, reconciliation, and reporting–freeing up your number crunchers to focus on growth.
- Settle: eCommerce companies can use Settle to save time and scale their business thanks to workflow automation features like automated payment approvals, invoice management, and tracking payments.
- Vantage: A tool for developers to analyze, report on, and reduce cloud costs–this platform helps teams generate cost reports, automate cost anomaly alerts, and more.
- Stir: Creators can spend more time creating when they automate their revenue splitting with Stir. This platform helps creators send and receive payments, split compensation, and collaborate on projects.
Automation Software For Planning
When it comes to envisioning what's next for your business, automation workflow tools can help. By providing real-time visibility into projects, resources, and cash flow trends, companies can make more informed decisions about their growth strategy. With the arrival of the recession in 2023, businesses will want to tap into the insights these data workflow automation tools can provide.
Want to improve your customer experience in 2023? Artifact is a customer experience forecasting tool that can help. eCommerce and SaaS companies can automatically synthesize data from your customer touch points to provide actionable insights about what your customers want from their experience.
Hex empowers businesses to collaborate on analyzing their data and analytics on a centralized platform. Major brands like AllTrails and SeatGeek use Hex to automatically generate dashboards, build data apps, customize visualizations, and share insights that inform critical decisions about business resources.
When managing your greatest resource–people– ChartHop can help you make better decisions about your organization. With ChartHop, you can centralize all of your people data in one location, creating a real-time, comprehensive view that can be accessed by everyone in your organization. Want to plan for a 4-day work week? You can use your people data to measure feasibility! The options are endless.
Workflow Automation in Big Complex Sectors
The most significant potential for workflow process automation impact is in massive, complex industries like trade, healthcare, and legal. From doctor appointment scheduling to automating supply chain management, companies must streamline every process they can to weather the impending economic storm.
We see how workflow automation can help streamline and optimize processes such as document management, case management, and contract review in the legal sector. For example, automated document management systems like Clio can help lawyers and paralegals organize and access documents more efficiently, while automated contract review tools can help identify and flag potential issues or discrepancies in legal documents.
Healthcare organizations can workflow automation can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of processes such as patient care, billing, and record keeping. For example, automated patient care systems like Simple Practice can help doctors and nurses track and manage patient information and treatment plans more efficiently. Likewise, automated billing systems can streamline the process of submitting and tracking claims.
In trade work industries, workflow automation can help streamline and optimize supply chain management, logistics, and trade finance processes. For example, automated supply chain management systems can help businesses track and manage the movement of goods and materials more efficiently. Companies like Shippo, Motive, and Flexport are disrupting outdated complex systems and streamlining e-commerce shipping, fleet management, and global logistics respectively.
The Bottom Line
If your head is swimming with all of these workflow automation possibilities–there's probably some sort of Zapier fix for that.
At Worklife, we've seen firsthand the impact that workflow automation tools can have on businesses of all sizes. These tools are a game-changer for business owners and creatives looking to take their operations to the next level. In today's fast-paced and highly competitive business environment, ignoring the power of workflow automation is simply not an option.
Investing in workflow automation is an innovative, strategic move that will pay off in the long run.
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