Approval workflow automation. What is it and how does it benefit business? Let's talk a bit about it. Who knows, maybe when you’re finished reading this, you’ll discover a way to make your workflow 80% more efficient?
Approval. For sure, many of us know firsthand how waiting for someone above to say “yes” to a simple correction in the contract with a new client for too long can kill the deal. There are times when you need an answer here and now, but only a supervisor or a colleague from another department can provide it. And for that reason, the term “approval workflow” exists. Basically, it’s a sequence of tasks and actions that allows your team to process data within your workflows with maximum efficiency. Put simply: one needs a thing - one requests it - one gets an answer from a person (people) authorized - one can get on with his task.
How does the approval workflow look in practice?
Let’s turn to an example. You are a transportations specialist in an international spedition company and you want to sign a new subcontractor (transport company). What do you need to know?
- Does anyone in your company already work with him, maybe he’s not new. (Database check by your department)
- Is he safe to work with? (Security check)
- Can we make the changes he requested in our standard contract form? (legal department)
- Can we sign him on the financial terms he requests (Financial department)
- Do we have any of our clients’ interests crossed by working with him (Client service department)
And only when you have answered all these questions, you can trust this transport company with your client’s cargo. So normally, you’d have to contact the financial department, client service department, legal department, and your supervisor, write four different emails and wait until all of them get answered before you can get on to the actual transportation organization. And what if one of the people you emailed has taken time off? Or what if you’ve forgotten to describe some details that they need? That emailing back and forth can go on for days.
Or, if your company uses approval workflow automation software, you can just put all the necessary information together into your approval request, send it once, and wait calmly, completing other tasks meanwhile.
5 reasons why your business will benefit from approval workflow automation.
1. Automation minimizes human errors.
If all your requestor has to do is fill in the request form and click "submit", the space for human errors is significantly smaller:
- Requests automatically go to the person responsible, the requestor doesn't even have to know who that is.
- The request form dictates the information required for processing the request, so no essential information is going to be missing.
2. Approvals processing time can be shortened by up to 80%.
- Approvers get the request the moment it was submitted and gets a notification in your day-to-day communication channel.
- Approvers can be automatically reminded of pending requests that involve them daily, so no request will be lost or ignored.
3. Post-approval actions automation will save your team hours of manual copy-pasting.
If your approval workflow should result in triggering a certain event in the software you use (e.g. creating a Jira ticket), you can make that happen automatically without any human involvement. All data will be transferred to your system of choice with 100% accuracy.
4. Complexity of your approval process will no longer be confusing for your team.
If your approval process is not linear, involves several steps, or has conditional logic, automation will serve you perfectly.
You can make approval workflows as complex as you want; the participants will only be notified when they need to take action.
5. Increase in accountability of your teammates
All approval requests get recorded together with the approval history, so it becomes very easy to find the information on a specific request: who submitted it, who approved/rejected it, and when.
Nobody can say "I never got your request email" anymore: the approval logs are carefully stored all in one place.
Sales, billing, subcontractors management - these are only a few examples of the business processes where automated approval workflow would save (or make) your company thousands. Instead of sending 10 different emails to 5 different people and hoping that they will read them today and respond by tomorrow morning, your teammates only have to push a button and have their answer in a couple of hours.
Automated approval systems allow your business processes to stay transparent and easy to control when needed. More transparency - easier to follow the workflow - easier to find room for improvement! Every approval request your team makes is registered and does not get lost in the endless email chains.
It comes with another problem though: too much software. You use Slack to chat, Confluence to store and share documents within the company, Google docs to share info with your subcontractors, QuickBooks for accounting, Jira for tracking tasks, and now another one for approval automation? But on this front, we have good news.
Approveit can help you set it all up in no time
With Approveit you can build your automated approval workflow within minutes and save hundreds of collective hours AND right in Slack. You create an approval workflow (that takes only a couple of minutes, click here to see for yourself) and that’s it, your team now has access to your approval workflow directly from Slack. They won’t have to remember or figure out who’s responsible for certain things, what information is required, or how to submit it. Everything has been taken care of for them, by you, and in under 5 minutes.
Moreover, Approveit can be integrated with your bookkeeping software, calendar, marketing tools, etc. to automate the process that follows the approved request. For example, add an expense ticket, or set a meeting date. By automating these small things that slow you down, you get more done and save energy for what’s actually important for you and your business.