The importance of digital workflow automation

thumbnail for blog post on digital workflow automation

Digital workflow automation empowers businesses to do more with less. When the work flows efficiently from start to finish, your team accomplishes tasks with greater speed and precision. 

By seamlessly connecting processes, people, and systems within an organization, enterprise workflow automation streamlines business operations, reducing human errors and boosting employee productivity along the way.

In this blog, we explain why automated digital workflows have become more important than ever for businesses

What is digital workflow automation?

Digital workflow automation is the use of technology to streamline, standardize, and optimize the sequence of tasks and actions in a business process, often replacing manual steps with digital tools and automated decision-making. 

Digitizing paper-based workflows paves the way to digital transformation, helping organizations modernize processes and reduce costs. By gathering signatures electronically, teams eliminate the need for physical paper, and e-signatures contribute to the efficiency and agility of business workflows.

digital workflow automation definition

How does workflow automation work?

Workflow automation is often event-driven. Here’s how it works:

  • Digital workflow automation begins with specific trigger events, such as a form submission, receipt of an email, or a scheduled task. These trigger events initiate the workflow process.
  • The workflow automation tool then applies predefined rules and conditions to determine the next steps, which can involve human actions or not.
  • Based on the rules, the digital automation software assigns tasks to the relevant individuals or teams involved in the workflow. In the case of workflows that don’t involve human actions, examples of steps could include moving documents to a specific folder or updating metadata on a file.

Over the years, digital workflow automation has also evolved beyond simple task automation. It now encompasses sophisticated solutions driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms. These technologies enable organizations to not only automate tasks but also make data-driven decisions, predict outcomes, and continuously optimize processes. In an IBM poll, 92% of executives say their workflows will be digitized and will leverage AI-driven automation by 2025.

Benefits of workflow automation for businesses

By optimizing the way businesses handle their processes, digital workflow automation enables teams to work smarter.

Enhanced efficiency and productivity 

Automation reduces tedious, time-consuming manual work. McKinsey says activities accounting for up to 30% of hours worked in the US could be automated by 2030.

work hours that could be automated

Workflow automation leverages technology to handle routine and repetitive operations, freeing up employees to focus on higher-value tasks that require creativity and strategic thinking. For 78% of organizations surveyed by Automation Anywhere, productivity gains are the desired impact of automation.

Cost reduction

Automated digital workflows lead to significant cost savings by reducing the need for labor-intensive tasks and minimizing operational inefficiencies. In an increasingly competitive business environment, cost control remains a top priority.

Watch our webinar to learn how to reduce costs with secure e-signature workflows.

Reduced human error and increased compliance

In an IDC survey, two-thirds of organizations cited improved accuracy and/or error reduction as the top benefits of deploying automation software. Regulatory requirements are continually evolving, and non-compliance results in severe penalties. Automated workflows help ensure that processes adhere to compliance standards, reducing the risk of legal issues and financial losses.

Agility and scalability

Enterprises need to be agile and scalable in response to market changes. Automation allows for rapid adjustments in workflows and processes, ensuring teams remain responsive to evolving customer demands and industry trends. 

Scalability is especially crucial for businesses experiencing growth. Digital workflow automation systems adapt to increased workloads without a proportional increase in human resources, making it easier for companies to expand their operations.

Improved experiences 

Enterprise workflow automation contributes to faster response times, consistent service, and reduced processing times — key to an enhanced customer experience. By eliminating mundane, repetitive tasks, automated workflows also improve employee experience. In fact, nearly 60% of workers think automation can address burnout and improve job fulfillment.

Competitive advantage

Companies that embrace digital workflow automation gain a competitive advantage by operating more efficiently and responding faster to market changes. No wonder workflow automation is a key enabler of digital transformation initiatives, allowing businesses to stay ahead of the curve.

Use cases of automated digital workflows for enterprises 

Enterprises automate content-centric business processes to make them more collaborative and efficient. Here are common use cases.

  • Automating content generation. Workflows that capture, process, and input data into digital systems enable automatic document generation. By reducing the need for human involvement in data entry tasks, organizations boost accuracy and efficiency.
  • Routing documents for approval or e-signature. Instead of relying on manual distribution and approval, automated digital workflows intelligently route documents such as business contracts or invoices to the appropriate stakeholders.
  • Extracting key data from documents. When processing invoices, for example, an automated workflow system extracts numbers and dates, reducing the need for manual data entry.
  • Providing a comprehensive audit trail. Automated systems timestamp each action, record user interactions, and maintain a complete history of document changes. 

Automate workflows with Box 

Box empowers teams to get work done faster by enabling them to automate collaborative workflows and streamline their business processes. 

With Box Relay, you accelerate repeatable business with pre-configured departmental workflow templates or leverage our no-code builder to create customized workflows with an extensive set of triggers and outcomes. For example, you can trigger an automation workflow from a task, folder, file, metadata, or signature actions — either on a preset schedule or on demand. 

Plus, choose from a wide variety of automated and user actions and define workflow outcomes to suit your business needs. And with the ability to integrate Box Relay and Box Sign, you leverage secure, seamless e-signatures to automate the next steps and power your workflows right where your content lives. No paper is required to gather signatures, and there’s no need to manage approvals through email or chat.

With tight integrations with Box Shield and Box Governance, you also take advantage of any existing security and retention policies and easily apply them to your content workflows. An exportable audit history gives you full visibility into your workflows, guaranteeing compliance throughout your automated business processes. 

Contact us and learn how to work smarter with our digital workflow automation software.

CTA to contact Box for digital workflow automation services

While we maintain our steadfast commitment to offering products and services with best-in-class privacy, security, and compliance, the information provided in this blog post is not intended to constitute legal advice. We strongly encourage prospective and current customers to perform their own due diligence when assessing compliance with applicable laws.

Free 14-day trial.
No risk.

Box free trial includes native e‑signatures, let's you securely manage, share and access your content from anywhere.

Try for free