The Top 10 Workflows to Automate for 2021
The Top 10 Workflows to Automate for 2021

The Top 10 Workflows to Automate for 2021

Aneesa Needel |

Whether this year went too fast (or way too slow), we are somehow almost into 2021 already. There has been a lot of change within corporations and organizations, but one thing remains constant – how can your team do more with less?

Based on what we’ve heard from our clients and what we’re noticing in the market, there are ten processes that stand out as needing to go from manual to automated in the coming year. Whether all of these apply to your department or just one? They’ll help you achieve faster time-to-value and reach your business objectives more easily.

Automating your high-volume processes leads to greater agility for your team and an improvement in the production of higher-value work.  How?  By reducing the time and resources spent on highly repetitive manual requests and follow-ups.

Here are 10 workflows that are crying out for business process automation in 2021:

Legal Services Request Portal

It will be a while before someone can physically pop into an office and ask a quick question. With a barrage of emails, conferencing tools, and different ways to communicate? It’s important that employees have a go-to place to reach out with their legal questions or requests and Legal has the space to triage the most critical while still getting the right answers out in time for everyone.  An automated Legal Services Request Portal provides exactly that.

Bonus: Departments across the organization, not just Legal, are constantly being asked questions or their resources being requested; a Services Request Portal can be customized to help any team.

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Vendor Onboarding

How many departments in your organization are onboarding vendors? All of them. How many are ensuring they’re new vendors have passed all of the guidelines your legal and security teams have set in place? Not as many as you should.

Companies are often working off of word processors or spreadsheet checklists to ensure that any new vendors, partners, and outside firms have the internal sign-offs to start the formal onboarding process. By employing full-cycle automation, Procurement and Legal can work hand-in-hand to ensure that the correct vendor information is input, syncs with your current systems across the enterprise, and can ensure that onboarding protocols that teams have are complete and have a verified audit trail.

Diversity and Inclusion

The topic of diversity and inclusion has been increasingly a priority among many executives and legal departments. There is no one way to take on new requirements from states, associations, and changing company policies. Most companies are looking at Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from two perspectives:

Internally: What are teams doing to make sure that employees feel heard and understood by the company? How is recruitment currently done and are their ways to open up and become more inclusive?

Externally: Who are the vendors and firms we’re choosing to do business with and are they diverse? How do we ensure we’re picking vendors that are right for us based on specialties and knowledge experts?

Being able to ask the questions you need to address your changing business values in an efficient and effective way is why many companies are turning to automated processes. It also helps that an automated process can provide 100% anonymous functionality so people feel good about responding.

Contract Management

From initiation of a request through approvals and e-Signatures to storing completed contracts, there’s an importance on secure, virtual, contract management that’s become more prevalent as employees are dispersed.

Traditional processes, even before the pandemic, could be riddled with potential errors and time costs in follow-ups, reminders, and pinging questions.  Automated contract management that’s customizable to your organization’s processes has the capacity to eliminate or identify human error and thereby reduce ensuing costs. If the wrong contract is uploaded, a delegate declines to sign, or language needs to be modified, the right stakeholders are notified and can take appropriate action immediately. No more lost emails or duplicate requests for information.

Deal Desk

Sales and services teams stop for no one. When a deal is ready, it’s hard to not go straight into contracts.  However, most companies require a final step where cross-functional teams must come together to discuss the deal, question and make decisions, and ultimately approve (or reject) it. This can slow down a sales cycle, and that’s a cardinal no!

Ensure your deals close faster by automating a process built to collect the right information for each stakeholder to review, comment, and add questions, and auto-notify and escalate in a timely manner.  It might have once taken days to simply gather the requirements; now it can now be streamlined into a far faster end-to-end experience.

Self-Service NDAs and Agreements

No matter your business, you can’t escape agreement creation, approval, and execution. Templates are normally the way to go, but what happens when both companies want to use their own NDA? Weeks, sometimes months of redlines might fly back and forth. There are other agreements and contracts that need more focused attention and automation allows this process to go much more quickly.

KP Labs, a Mitratech partner, found that by streamlining an NDA process not only were 44% of non-negotiated NDAs completed under one hour, 80% of these NDAs were executed within one day.

We don’t live in a perfect world where NDAs don’t receive redlines and requested modifications; KP Labs also found that 53% of negotiated NDAs, when automated, were completed within 5 days, and 71% were executed in under 10 days. The time savings of your paralegals, lawyers, and general counsel alone make automation a necessity.

Anonymous Reporting

There are a lot of reasons to build workflows where employees and others can make anonymous reports. From internal company concerns to IP infringement to whistleblowing on other matters, there’s a fair chance that you’re not receiving mission-critical feedback on what might prove to be costly issues.  So allow people the comfort of filing reports and alerts in the first place by automating the process.

RFP Selection

RFPs are some of the most important workflows and forms used by your procurement team and other departments.  These are vital, and can be complex and time-intensive processes, mostly tracked on intricately designed spreadsheets to capture all information. What do you do when vendors don’t fill out the cells as intended or come back again and again to request more guidance about the process?

Designing an all-inclusive, templatized online smart form that accommodates company need and regulatory-defined mandates makes your vendor and contractor selection processes streamlined and easier. Automating this will help immensely when you send to multiple potential vendors.

Employee Onboarding

This process, and who is included in it, looks different at every company. Visibility can be lost as this proceeds rom recruitment to HR to a multitude of other departments who are enlisted in the employee onboarding process. It’s also a process that sees a lot of time spent on following up with colleagues and the employee.

Ensure that you’re responding quickly and maintaining your onboarding SLAs with an automated workflow that incorporates all the details your organization needs to be handled, resulting in a smoother first day for the new hire.  That, in turn, gives them a positive initial impression of your enterprise, helping with retention.

Back-to-Office Continuity

The advent of COVID-19 and the fact of how everyone needed to pivot to work-from-home situations has changed the way businesses look at their resiliency plans.  Knowing what processes and actions to set up in response to current conditions, or in consideration of future developments, will ease any potential disruptions to business as usual.  Workflow automation has been pivotal in setting up an agile environment that’s able to manage changes that can happen almost instantly.

In the case of the pandemic? Businesses have to deal with the issue of who’s requesting to stay remote versus who is willing to return to the office.  But they’ll also have to securely request and route the information that will help HR and executives make the decisions on in-office employees and staff versus who gets to keep working in their bunny slippers.  Automating these processes will make it far easier for all concerned.

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