Think of the average office job – how often do most of us perform the same sequence of tasks every week or every month? Even in the most varied of jobs, there is an element of dull, repetition and in admin heavy roles for example for people working in legal departments, there is a high amount of repetition. Now imagine the same jobs with those repeated process done in seconds – that’s the aim of office automation. To take the repetitive processes and turn them into automated workflows that can be quickly and easily run. Not only can work be more productive with office automation, but there are fewer mistakes, the your job becomes more interesting with the dull parts removed. And makes employees more valuable because it means having more time to spend on processes that made a real contribution to the company.
“The biggest waste is to hire smart people then have them repetitively doing dumb things”
– Ian Gosling
How does office automation work?
You might be familiar with document automation – the ability to use a template to easily produce a standard document – it’s the process that creates the endless credit-card offer letters from your bank. Now imagine document automation as one action, and email automation as another and maybe a form or a calculation as another. If you linked them in sequence like Lego blocks you’d be able to automate a whole process. And like Lego, by linking different blocks you’d be able to automate a whole range of processes, some short and simple like making and emailing a common document, some more advanced like onboarding a new client. These automated chains of actions are called workflows.
With a modern platform once a workflow has been built, it’s published and can be used in a browser. This separation of creation and running means that the users of the workflow (co-workers, customers etc) don’t see the automation process just the points where interaction is needed for example a form or a page with a download. For example the workflow is designed for the freelancer themselves to use to create the documents and gather the data that the company requires, this frees staff from having to do the repetitive tasks linked to hiring a freelancer.
Office automation in practice
For a practical example, we’re going to look at Autto, an easy-to-use office automation platform. It’s one of the new generation of secure, online platforms that work inside your browser and since Autto is designed for non-technical employees to use it’s probably the easiest platform to use. Fortunately, there is also a free plan which allows you to get started with automation and try the platform for yourself. In Autto the Lego-blocks of the process are called actions and they are linked together into a sequence that looks like a flow-chart to make the workflows. There is a Start Page action which displays information about the workflow and to which other actions are linked. You can see in the example above and despite being a relatively complex process it is surprisingly easy to follow. The workflow asks questions and then if there are no issues after the date calculation it creates and emails the documents needed to hire the freelancer.
Turning repetitive tasks into automated workflows isn’t as daunting as it sounds. Platforms like Autto are designed to be learned quickly and to have office staff automating actual processes within 30 – 60 minutes of starting to use the platform.
If you would like a demo of Autto please use this link https://www.autto.io/demo/ or if you would prefer to try Autto for yourself you can sign up for the free plan by registering at https://register.autto.io/register (there is no time limit and no credit card is required)
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