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What Is Workflow Automation and Why Do Businesses Need It?

Workflow automation replaces manually executed tasks performed by humans with software on machines that automatically executes all or some part of a process.

More specifically, workflow automation entails streamlining a sequence of tasks, either within specific departments or the entire company, so that the tasks would flow automatically. Workflow automation uses rule-based logic (if X task/process happens, then trigger Y task/process), and the rules are usually pre-defined as part of your business logic.

Do you really need Workflow Automation?

The need for workflow automation is proportional to the complexity of your flows. For low-complexity workflows that use file transfers you may simply need transfer automation. Professionals who use technology to transfer large files across global locations sometimes confuse workflow and transfer automation. However, a few things differentiate them:

A workflow represents the steps required to complete a task. The primary purpose of workflow automation is to enable unattended execution of tasks and speed up the end-to-end workflows by leveraging machines instead of humans. In addition, the objectives are to streamline processes, improve the accuracy or quality of performed actions, and reduce cost.

Workflows are usually repeatable, cross-departmental, cross-systems (although they don’t have to be), and therefore – can and should be intelligently automated.

In comparison, transfer automation is the automation of the single task of transferring data as files. Transfers start automatically after a file is presented to the so-called ‘watch folder’. A watch folder is a folder that triggers a transfer to a pre-defined destination when a user drops files in it.

Additionally, some professionals may choose to automate the transfer by scripting code that ties the automation the way it suits the company. While scripting is a good solution if a company needs to automate one or two specific steps in the transfer process, it will not hold well as a holistic workflow automation solution. It may quickly become cumbersome or too complicated to change when a new admin or new technology comes along.

So, although workflow automation and transfer automation are interconnected, they are not the same. Transfer automation with or without scripted pre and post processing tasks serve low-complexity workflows well whereas high-complexity flows will always benefit from full automation of the flows.

Many companies start automating their workflows in preparation for scaling their business. Workflows are beneficial for companies as they give employees a clear direction to follow and ensure that each step in the flow is consistently executed.

Automate file workflows with IBM Aspera Orchestrator

Even though workflow automation may seem too complicated, it doesn’t have to be. The beauty of automation is that even a simple one can help reduce costs, increase efficiency, or speed time to market. Additionally, any workflow can be modified once the business is ready to do so.

IBM Aspera Orchestrator is IBM Aspera’s platform that allows organisations to build automated and predictable file processing workflows.

Orchestrator provides a common place for employees to collect, manage, and distribute large files across different systems. The platform uses easy to define rules to streamline complex workflows while providing the status of every step of every transfer or task within the system. Workflows can also include manual operations that need to be performed by humans.

Reap the benefits with IBM Aspera Orchestrator:

Enjoy repeatable and consistent transfer workflows

  • Devise and test workflows with Orchestrator’s graphical no-code designer
  • Leverage an extensive library of almost 200 free plug-ins to integrate with your third-party systems
  • Import and export workflow templates across Orchestrator instances
  • Reuse workflow sub-sequences in new workflows
  • Automate file operations, as well as the end-to-end transfer workflows
  • Tie remaining manual tasks into an automated workflow

Stay in control

  • Leverage Orchestrator’s execution dashboard and notifications for real-time workflow oversight
  • Stop the workflow when required, inquire for a user’s input, and then resume after a human has resolved their task
  • Queue and prioritise your resources as per the business need

Modernise file transfers

  • Process thousands of files per hour automatically
  • Execute many workflows in parallel, optimising your workflows
  • Rely on Aspera’s fast and secure FASP protocol as well as other file transfer protocols such as SFTP

Connect with your Aspera experts at Dot Group to start your workflow automation journey and improve your bottom line. Contact us today

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