As automation superfans, we witness first-hand how it is transforming businesses, but it’s great when this experience is shared by others. We were really excited to read the recent Workato report which is a comprehensive review of their users and how they use automation in their businesses.
Workato is a platform which businesses use to connect their apps using ‘recipes’ or pre-built automations, much like Zapier. Their annual report collects anonymised customer data from over 900 organisations. The results are fascinating and support many of our own experiences, including the fact that you don’t need to be an IT geek to build automated workflows.
They do a deep dive into the types of processes being automated, the job role of the person creating the automation and which department they work for. They include inspiring insights into just how much automation is growing among their client base, and some of the results are astonishing.
Here are some of our favourite takeaways from the report!
How has automation grown since 2020?
Workato describes automation as ‘exploding’ and report that the volume of automated workflows is doubling year-on-year. What’s great is that business users are creating their own automations, rather than IT departments. In fact, over 70% of automations in marketing, sales and customer success teams are being created by the business users themselves.
Overall, the top industries which use automations are hospitality and telecommunications, followed by healthcare and pharma then aerospace and defence. Growth in automations for the top sectors is incredible, with an increase of 857% experienced by healthcare and pharma, and growth of 1518% by hospitality as the industry recovers from lockdowns and travel restrictions.
Which business departments have grown most in their use of automation?
Although automation has grown massively across the board, it’s the Data Ops department which has grown the most, by over 300%. In this department, 39% of automations are built by the business, with the rest built by IT staff.
Other departments which have grown their automations by over 200% in the past year are IT, Sales & Marketing, Finance & Accounting, Human Resources and Customer Support & Operations.
More departments than ever within organisations are building automated processes too. Nearly 30% of businesses have seven departments involved in automations and those with six departments stand at 25%. This is a significant increase in the past year and three times higher than in 2019.
Which are the most popular processes which are being automated?
The top processes being automated are those in the finance departments, under the ‘order to cash’ umbrella. This includes invoicing goods or services, fulfilling orders and delivering goods. It’s not surprising that these workflows are great candidates for automation as they are usually extremely manual and prone to user error.
Data Ops processes such as data warehousing, operations data storage and master data configuration are the most popular for automating, according to Workato.
48% of automated workflows within IT are for IT service management, whose tasks are perfect for automating. Things like managing customer tickets, routing them to the right teams, performing incident management and providing analytics are just a few examples.
Within the sales and marketing departments, the trending tasks for automation include campaign management and lead routing/management. Generating and managing sales contracts and managing the opportunity lifecycle are also big winners in terms of attracting and winning new clients.
Within HR, employee onboarding is the top process for automation, closely followed by recruiting, analytics and payroll. Apps such as Slack are perfect for onboarding remote workers, and DocuSign can be used for tasks such as sending out offer letters for digital signatures.
Within customer service, the types of processes which are most popular for automating include customer support, customer operations and returns/refunds. Customer experience is key, so automatically seeking feedback is a great workflow which can be performed using automation. Another trend is towards automations performed by virtual customer support agents, or chatbots.
What are the top applications used for automations?
When looking across all departments, the top three apps used for automation (globally) by the Workato customers are Salesforce, Slack and Microsoft SQL Server. This just goes to show what an automation powerhouse Salesforce is, for businesses of all sizes.
Other trending apps include Netsuite, Snowflake and Jira.
What does the future look like for business process automation?
We predict that business process automation will continue to skyrocket, and organisations which don’t jump on board simply won’t be able to compete. Scaling your business is so much easier when your teams are automating their manual tasks, and you will be so much more efficient and agile as a result.
It’s vital to be reactive when market conditions change, and with the cost of living squeeze, it’s never been more important to streamline where you can.
We would recommend reading the report in full, and a PDF version is available to download for future reference.
How do I get started with automation?
We have a wealth of information on our website to help you get started with automation. We also have a YouTube channel and free resources such as a 40-page e-book which is a great introduction to business process automation.
As well as our free resources, our chief problem solver, Kelly Goss, has written a book called ‘Automate It with Zapier’, which is available on Amazon. It takes you through everything step-by-step and includes some ready-made templates for various examples so you can get started really quickly.
Check out our automation training programme
And finally, if you’re really keen to transform your business using automation, then visit the Solvaa Automation Academy. Our signature training programme, ‘Simple Automation Blueprint: Zero to Hero’ is aimed at anyone who wants to learn the fundamentals of business process automation from the experts – a sure-fire way to recession-proof your business.
It’s an 8-week blended learning course with on-demand videos, templates, resources and weekly group coaching sessions. And it’s more than just a Zapier course (although we do show you how to use Zapier like a pro) as you’ll learn about Process Mapping, Business Process Improvement and Business Process Management too – principles that can be applied to other areas of business too!
Whether you are a complete novice or have been using Zapier for a while, our programme is for you. It’s perfect for individuals and teams in micro, small and medium-sized businesses, including solopreneurs, consultants and freelancers. You’ll have access to our experts and can participate in live calls where you can ask all your burning questions, as well as hands-on workshops to keep you on track with implementing your new skills. We run regular cohorts so there will be an opportunity for everyone to participate.
Our head trainer, Kelly Goss, is a specialist in business systems, process improvement and automation, and one of less than 100 Zapier Certified Experts in the world. Kelly has many years’ experience in optimising systems and processes, and implementing automations for clients and is now passing on her knowledge to students through our trademarked ‘4-Step Solvaa Automation Methodology®‘.
Find out more via our dedicated Solvaa Automation Academy website.
Solvaa is a process and automation consultancy specialising in improving sales, operations and financial administration workflows. We help you to simplify and streamline existing processes, integrate your business tools to make data transfer more efficient and automate manual tasks to increase productivity. We are Zapier Certified Experts, Pipedrive Certified Experts and Xero Certified Advisors.
Contact us today to discuss how Solvaa can help you simplify, improve and automate all aspects of your business with Zapier to save you time, reduce costs and keep you agile as you grow.