Guest Column | January 9, 2023

How Workflow Automation Contributes To Business Intelligence

By William Powell

Workflow automation GettyImages-1360073100

Proper data management is crucial for any IT department, whether you're a managed service provider (MSP) or you handle your IT in-house. But as business systems become increasingly advanced, the sheer volume of data that must be extracted and managed can get overwhelming.

Luckily, there's a simple solution to this problem—workflow automation. Automation can not only simplify your job but also improve an organization's decision-making abilities by providing key insights while making systems more efficient. Here is a look at how workflow automation contributes to business intelligence.

Extract Better Data

It's crucial that companies not only extract data but extract the right data. You may be able to compile a vast set of metrics and statistics on a given topic or industry. Still, if you can't use that information to generate insights that lead to improved operations or revenue increases, you'll just be clogging your databases with useless figures.

Therefore, you must be able to differentiate between the data that will fuel business growth and that which will only clutter your decision making. Workflow automation can help make that process simple and efficient.

For example, you may conduct an analysis that tells you, on average, February is your lowest sales month. But is that useful? Is it actionable? It could be due to the seasonality of your products, the fact that February has the fewest days, or simply because one month out of the twelve has to be the lowest, no matter what you do. More complex tools can extract deeper correlations and extrapolate trends that give you something useful.

Automation tools can not only extract data from multiple systems but also check that data's quality and compile it into an easy-to-read report. The use of automation allows you to increase efficiency, reduce stress on employees, optimize operations and improve business growth. It enables companies to quickly focus on the essential data and ignore anything that is not leading to improved decision making.

Increased Communication

Communication is key to any business's success, whether human to human, human to the device, or device to device. Workflow automation can improve all of the above by streamlining technical procedures and making complex data sets easier to understand and communicate. Many automation tools offer the ability to produce amazing data visualizations, which can be great for helping partners and colleagues understand how data can contribute to better business intelligence, even for the less tech-savvy.

Likewise, automation is great for generating detailed reports on a particular area of interest, making it easier for employees and partners to learn how to utilize complex systems to their advantage. Automation also allows you to analyze information across various systems and channels that may otherwise be difficult to coordinate.

Shared data offers many benefits to an organization—including improved organization and planning, lower marketing costs, and higher service levels. However, roughly 70% of retail chains still keep information siloed and isolated from their other systems, offering a limited view of the average customer profile. As an IT provider, you can offer a significant amount of value by implementing workflow automation systems that give clients a better understanding of their customers.

Improve Client Satisfaction

Workflow automation is also proven to increase client satisfaction. Many B2B businesses struggle with client acquisition, yet, research shows that customer retention rates for B2B eCommerce businesses lie somewhere between 76% and 81%, which means retaining an existing customer base is crucial to success.

A straightforward solution to this problem is CRM automation, which refers to automating necessary yet tedious tasks related to managing client relationships. If you're busy running your core business, it can be easy to overlook small yet essential details that can improve customer relationships. CRM software can help with data entry automation, lead generation, and customer service, allowing your staff to focus on more essential matters.

For instance, you can use CRM automation to automatically log customer interactions so you have them readily available for future communications. Or rather than hiring a dedicated customer service department, you can set up chatbots to assist customers with common issues and connect them to the correct department, only if necessary. Custom-built CRM software can improve efficiency in many ways and help businesses retain customers without overwhelming a team with menial tasks.

Act Faster

While business intelligence is crucial to making more informed decisions, it won't matter much if your team can't take decisive action based on the insights generated from that data.

A survey conducted by Harvard Business Review found that 75% of organizations who responded believed that it's essential to deliver actionable intelligence to team members on a large scale. However, only 25% of the same respondents said their data sources provided an efficient way to act on that intelligence.

Workflow automation tools often offer the ability to generate pop-ups and push notifications that team members can act on immediately when prompted. This makes it easy to click a button and put your business intelligence into action, as opposed to relying on staff to make the decision on their own and possibly get distracted.

For instance, you could set up an automation that generates reports on the attendance of an educational program. If the number of attendees falls below a specific rate, you can include a button that automatically sends out a companywide email blast. That way, the manager of that program can quickly access the critical metrics and then take immediate action based on the results, rather than taking the time to send out individual emails or remind staff in person.

Simplify Complex Systems

Another significant benefit of workflow automation is making complex systems more approachable. Managing high-level business intelligence can be intimidating, even for the most qualified professionals. Workflow automation helps democratize essential data and make it easier to digest and understand. Doing so allows a larger percentage of team members to participate in crucial discussions and benefit from the solutions provided by business intelligence, leading to easier collaboration and increased productivity.

Organizations' internal systems will naturally get larger and more sophisticated as companies scale. As IT professionals, it's your job to manage these systems and make them accessible to the employees of the companies you serve. Workflow automation is a great way to help bridge that gap and make it easier for staff to get the information they need without taking the time to understand sophisticated technology systems that are out of their depth. Workflow automation tools make it easy to generate reports and better grasp the data without unpacking the entire system that organizes and collects that data.

Workflow automation has crucial benefits for every business, especially IT companies. So, if you're an MSP or corporation and are not currently using workflow automation tools, you should consider adopting this powerful technology.

About The Author

William Powell is a writer and educator with a passion for marketing. He enjoys learning about the latest business trends and analyzing how global events impact domestic and international economies.