It's easy to switch off and lose focus during tedious, lengthy and repetitive tasks. Roles that require employees to perform tasks like this often report a reduction in workplace satisfaction, but also put your business at risk of suffering losses in productivity, operating expenses and even revenue; even small mistakes can be expensive to correct!
Workflow Automations can help you transform your organization's cumbersome processes into a well-oiled machine. By allowing your Assistant to take over mundane, manual tasks, you can eliminate the risk of human error and enable your employees to perform to the best of their ability.
What is Workflow Automation?
Workflow Automation uses a set of pre-defined business rules and logic to orchestrate a series of tasks. These tasks are performed by Digital Assistant automatically, without any user input. After initially building a Workflow, complicated or repetitive processes can be executed by your Assistant—so you can put your feet up!
How do Workflow Automations work?
Workflow Automations use a trigger and a set of rules that you define in advance. When the Assistant registers that a trigger occurred, it follows the rules and logic you created to perform the appropriate action (like sending an email or triggering a notification), or wait for further input from you (e.g. to approve or decline a request).
Workflow Automation Examples
Here's ten of the most popular examples of Workflow Automation in Digital Assistant. These Automations can help you to optimize your business processes and work smarter, not harder.
Send an email alert to the team when a Marketing campaign is close to reaching it's spend limit
Get a reminder notification or email when a IT Helpdesk ticket assigned to you is about to be overdue
Update a lead's lifecycle stage when the they schedule an appointment or meeting
Be alerted to issues with builds or deployments in a CI/CD workflow
Onboard new employees with a series of helpful emails and informative Cards
Collect employee feedback and perform periodic company-wide surveys
Trigger an approval workflow when a user submits a request for PTO or business travel
Automatically compile reports at the end of every week, month or quarter
Get high-priority notifications from customer communications tools to enable timely, effective responses from sales and support staff
Create new events in multiple calendar apps or room booking systems when a colleague, customer or lead schedules a meeting
How to create Workflow Automations in Digital Assistant
Making Workflow Automations in Digital Assistant is effortless, thanks to the Automation Wizard. Automations can be started by four types of 'triggers': Card Actions, Events, Webhooks or Schedules. Once you've selected a trigger, you can build your Workflow in seconds with the simple drag-and-drop designer.
The Card Actions trigger is activated when a user performs an action on a Card, like clicking a button or submitting a form.
Sample Workflow with a Card Action trigger
Digital Assistant can monitor your connected apps for Events, and start an Automation Workflow when an event is detected. An Event could be a notification from a connected app, like a new ticket being assigned to you, or a data-based trigger, like a large volume of alerts from an error monitoring tool.
Webhooks are web requests that other applications make to your Assistant, and are usually triggered by an event in that app. Your Assistant can listen for Webhooks and use this as a trigger for a Workflow Automation. Webhooks can even contain data from the originating app, which your Assistant can utilize in the Workflow you create.
Sample Workflow with a Webhook trigger
If you want your Automation to trigger on a regular, periodic basis, you can create a Schedule. Your Schedule can be as frequent or complicated as you need - whether it's the first Monday of the month, or at 1:23am on a full moon!
Building an Automation
Building new Automations is straightforward and fast in Digital Assistant. The Automation Wizard guides you through the step-by-step process of setting up your triggers, and features a visual Flow editor to make implementing Automation logic as easy as pie.
To create a new Automation, head to the Automation Flows page in your Assistant.
Creating a new Automation with the Digital Assistant Automation Wizard
From this page, you can select the trigger for your new Automation. In this example, we'll create a Card Action trigger to automate a PTO request workflow.
From here, you can customize the default template to build out your logic. Click "Add activity" to add new rules and activities. Digital Assistant supports complex logic like if/else statements, for and while loops, switches and forks. Available actions include sending emails, making HTTP requests, triggering tasks for other users and more. You can even trigger other Automation Flows!
You can drag and drop activities to rearrange them, and click to add branches to your logic. This allows you to perform actions based on the result of a previous action or a user's input. Double clicking on an action opens an editor window, where you can configure the specifics of the action.
Here's our completed PTO request Flow. When the Automation Flow is invoked by submitting the form on the Zoho People PTO request Card, the user's manager is notified and the workflow is paused until a response is received. Depending on the response, the request is either set to approved in Zoho People, or an email is sent to the requesting user to explain that their request has not been approved.
Completed Automation Flow for a PTO request approval process
Workflow Automation helps employees and businesses thrive
Digital Assistant's Workflow Automation tool can help employees maximize their effectiveness at work, and get back valuable time better spent on high-impact projects. Better yet, Automations can enable your business to scale and grow without vital processes suffering in the process.
Have you tried Workflow Automations yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!