Workflow Integration and Automation – The modern solution to “work smarter, not harder”

Lukasa Insights

Listen to article

The modern solution to “work smarter, not harder” 

The famous phrase “work smarter, not harder” was first attributed to industrial engineer Allen F. Morgenstern way back in the 1930s, when he created a program to simplify and streamline work, increasing productivity with less effort.

Almost a century later, efficiency and productivity are still chief concerns for business leaders — because, as Benjamin Franklin said, time is money. 

With that in mind, consider these statistics:
A 2018 study by Pegasystems, which examined 5 million hours of live desktop time, found that employees jump between an average of 35 individual, job-critical applications more than 1000 times per day, and perform 134 copy-paste actions to manually move data among those applications. Further, employees make an average of 845 keyboard errors per day.

In 2017, Cloud Security Alliance reported that the average enterprise was deploying 46 different custom applications — businesses with fewer than 1000 employees used 22, and companies with upwards of 50,000 employees were using 788. 

These were the numbers before the Covid-19 pandemic permanently altered the landscape of work, necessitating a lightning-speed adoption of new tools to power remote, hybrid, and increasingly digitally-driven modes of working, managing data, and getting products to market. Processes and platforms are evolving at a breakneck pace and there are more workflow models and tools than ever.

Here’s the problem…

For a company to be truly efficient, both back-office and customer-facing applications need to be able to communicate freely and seamlessly, sharing data from a single true source.

Disparate systems and applications result in siloed data, delays and wasted time, human error, increased risk, poor communication, a profusion of dull and repetitive tasks, employee frustration and low morale, higher costs and lower productivity.

In other words, all the data- and workflow-management tools that were created to make business simpler and more effective can actually create unnecessary friction when the various systems don’t work together and communicate easily, especially if they’re outdated and cumbersome.

That’s where workflow integration comes in.

What is a workflow? It’s simply the sequence of steps — all tasks or actions performed by people, machines, and applications — involved in moving a piece of work from initiation to completion. 

Workflow integration is the process of interconnecting all of a company’s diverse applications so that data can flow freely and seamlessly among them. 

A further step — and the ultimate goal, sometimes called workflow automation — is the complete unification of systems and data, enterprise-wide, providing all stakeholders with access to synced, real-time information.

There are three main types of workflow integration:

API Application Programming Interface — Enables interaction between separate applications and devices, allowing them to share data seamlessly and automatically.

Native — Applications with built-in API that provides straight-out-of-the-box direct integration with certain other applications.

Third party — Using the API of an external, third party to integrate applications with different APIs, bringing them into one workflow.  

The importance of workflow integration for modern businesses cannot be overstated—it’s key to operational efficiency and productivity. The many benefits of workflow integration include: 

  • Increases productivity
  • Reduces bottlenecks and operational clutter
  • Eliminates numerous dull, redundant, time-consuming manual tasks, such as inputting the same data into separate applications
  • Improves work culture:
    • Enables staff to focus on meaningful, thoughtful work
    • Boosts employee satisfaction and engagement
  • Reduces human error 
  • Eliminates data siloes, allowing information to flow smoothly among all systems  
  • Gives all stakeholders access to real-time data  
  • Enhances customer experience and satisfaction
  • Allows for reporting across all systems
  • Improves forecasting and enables better decision making
  • Decreases risk
  • Bolsters security
  • Reduces technical debt

So where should you begin? 

Even when business leaders and employees alike recognize that there are inefficiencies and logjams in the workflow, it can be challenging to clearly identify and solve them from the inside. The various teams and staff members are accustomed to the different applications and systems they use for their own tasks, and even to the tedious work that results from a lack of integration. 

The team at Lukasa are experts at identifying pain points in a company’s operations. Our veteran business and technology consultants take a partnership approach to every project, working alongside your team to gain a 360º understanding of your business’s needs based on your goals. We analyze every step and tool in your existing systems, then design, develop, and deliver custom integration solutions to optimize your workflow and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your technology and maximizing your team’s performance.

About Lukasa -
Lukasa empowers small-to-medium-sized businesses by designing and implementing custom business and technology solutions that drive efficiency, productivity, and innovation, enabling them to stay ahead in today’s rapidly-changing competitive landscape.