Workflow Automation

Ultimate Guide to Successful Workflow Automation

Tim Rodgers
March 24, 2022
5 min read

As many developers and non-developers (citizen developers) adopt this methodology, it’s fast reaching mainstream use. According to a Gartner Report, enterprises will use no-code or low-code technologies to develop 70% of new in-house applications. This is up from less than 25% in 2020. That is significant and rapid adoption.

Introducing the No-Code Workforce Automation Revolution

Workflow automation often requires subscriptions to expensive, single-duty enterprise apps. This keeps workflow automation out of the reach of most businesses. But that's not all. Even organizations that can afford the solutions deal with two more issues for each one solved.

No-code frameworks help address such issues. These are software design systems that enable even non-technical persons to develop custom software without composing a line of code. As a result, you can build software to manage tasks, workflows, and conversations without incurring significant expenses.

Here is an example of simple workflow automation:

workflow automation example

No-code tools use a simple drag-and-drop feature accompanied by a user-friendly interface to facilitate such functionality. This allows you to describe tasks and processes based on business goals and then test and implement them easily.

What Is Workflow Automation?

Workflow automation optimizes manual tasks by replacing everyday digital processes with one or more workflow automation tools that automate all or part of that process. Successful automation makes seemingly tedious processes straightforward by automating everyday tasks, compressing time, and increasing productivity.

Some of the reasons you may need workflow automation are to:

● Automate repetitive tasks

● Automate complex tasks

● Eliminate human error in tasks to achieve maximum accuracy

● Automate a series of related tasks to increase efficiency significantly

Why Should You Care About Workflow Automation?

Like most businesses, you rely on many devices, channels, and applications for internal and external communication. These include the telephone (both mobile and landlines), spreadsheets, email, post-it notes, SaaS apps, and whiteboards. All these tasks have two key things in common. They're not collaborative, and they rely on human memory. As a result, workflows and decision-making have too much friction to enable agility and scale.

Workflow automation platforms and services offer a solution. All the business processes, flow, and communication information are centered on a custom platform designed specifically to complete your tasks. This is a radically different approach than using a one-size-fits-all SaaS platform that you shoehorn to try and achieve your goals. As a result, there’s much less reliance on operations and developers to automate your workflow.

Ultimately, workflow automation delivers greater information accuracy and increases the turnaround for work.

Examples of Workflow Automation No-Code Tools

A decade ago, all automated workflows depended on skilled designers and developers. And to build the app successfully, the developers had to toil day and night coding every line. That's not the case anymore. A new class of automated workflow tools has emerged, allowing non-developers to create automated workflows. In fact, over the past five years, you have likely used a no-code tool before.

Here are some examples of workflow automation tools:

1. Webflow

The most popular tool in the latest generation of visual web site builders, Webflow allows you to create professional, custom websites in a completely visual canvas with no code. Webflow allows users to design, build, and launch websites using a completely visual drag and drop builder and a rich set of pre-built templates from which to start.

The trick is that the visual design and code are not separated. What you create in the visual editor is automatically rendered in the dominant languages of webpages: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It also allows you to reuse CSS classes.

They offer hosting plans starting at $12 per month, that allow you to connect a custom domain and host your HTML site.

2. Airtable

With Airtable, you can create and share databases of all kinds in minutes. The user interface looks like a spreadsheet, but it's actually way more than that. It's a cloud platform to automate tasks.

It's simple to get started and use with hundreds of pre-built free templates that are friendly for beginners or experienced users alike. You'll be able to do everything from storing employee directories right down to your favorite product listings without ever having had any previous coding experience. If you like to store your workflows in spreadsheets, you need to upgrade to Airtable.

3. Zapier

Zapier is cloud based software that helps you automate workflows by connecting the workflow process for common apps to external databases that enable the flow of information between them.

Its core functionality is to provide prebuilt objects for the application program interfaces (APIs) that power digital workflow. The tool provides a simple list of ‘triggers’ and ‘actions’ to guide users to connect their information among SaaS platforms.

4. Stacker

Stacker turns spreadsheets into automated apps in one click. It integrates with Google Sheets and Airtable to allow businesses to transform their spreadsheets into custom apps. The platform provides custom workflow automation tools to provide users with intuitive access to data. It's ideal for creating customer portals, partner directories, support tracking, or a better interface for your teams.

Think of Stacker as a better interface for your datasheets. They add permissions, a user interface, and a business logic layer. The user interface includes forms, buttons, lists, and fully customizable record pages.

The Benefits of Automated Workflows for Business Processes

No-code development essentially redefines the process organizations use to automate everyday tasks. It eliminates technical expertise bottlenecks and enables people to build solutions driven by business rules. With such capabilities, it’s shaking up company operations across all departments.

Some of the benefits you can expect from no-code solutions include:

1. Cost Savings

Advanced workflows usually involve complex coding, for which you may need a team of developers. Moreover, the time it takes to deploy workflows always takes longer than estimated, making the process costly.

With workflow automation, the experience is different. Often, you can build workflows with one person and one no-code app builder. The entire process may only take a few days at best. This reduces the IT need to have staff who can debug and update a workflow.

2. Increased Productivity

No-code app builders democratize workflow automation, so companies that might not think to automate because of cost concerns can now do so. The more tasks you can automate, the more productive your teams will be. This is another version of cost control, which also helps your company respond to change faster.

3. Faster Scale

Many companies still find themselves held back by manual processes or traditional approaches— all while it can look like newer players enter the market and scale rapidly.

The manual business process slows down a company's ability to scale. Automated workflows allow your teams to exercise their brains and be more creative and strategic while reducing operational friction to scale.

How to Get Started With No Code

Now that you know how no-code can benefit your business, the question is how to get started. Here’s are some tips to assist you:

1. Determine the Business Outcome You Hope to Achieve

With each development phase, ensure that you know the particular task or workflow you wish to automate. Moreover, determine how exactly you hope to achieve this and how it will impact the company.

With this insight in mind, you can build a solution that enhances your capacity to achieve business objectives.

2. Choose a Suitable Technology

The beauty of workflow automation tools is their visual simplicity and the fact that it does not require expertise. However, you still need to ensure that the app you create can seamlessly integrate with your current 'stack'. As such, you must use the appropriate automation tool.

3. Start with a Pilot

To get the best outcomes with no-code apps and minimal disruption, it’s best to start small. Begin by building a pilot that only influences one process.

4. Have a Guiding Framework

You must develop the necessary frameworks and policies as with other key business functions. This means formulating criteria for developing apps and the process that should be used. This is usually done via a workflow diagram. The diagram serves as a roadmap from which to construct your workflow.

5. Work With IT

Your app may still have to pass with the IT department. Key things they consider are integration, security, and user adoption challenges.

Therefore, you may need buy-in from the IT and security team to support your efforts. They can often help provide oversight to outcomes.

6. Consider Outsourcing

While you may have the right framework for building no-code apps, it may not be enough for more complicated workflow templates. Workflow automation experts can implement your custom workflows faster and more efficiently than most beginners.

There are individuals and agencies who are experts in workflow software and processes. Many offer a free assessment. For example, Ace Workflow offers both a free assessment and a free automation design diagram for your rule-based workflows.

Strategies to Get Started with Workflow Automation Software

You can use different strategies to get started with no-code app development. They include:

1. Free Templates

Starting from scratch can be fairly straightforward on most platforms. But you may want to get a headstart by using a pre-built template for your application. These are pre-designed workflows that you can begin using immediately. All you need to do is choose one that matches the business outcome you wish to achieve. Googling {your application} + 'free template' often yields many possible results to get you started.

2. Paid Templates

As you can imagine, free templates offer limited functionality. Paid templates are the next step. They often involve extending the functionality of a free template to resolve more complex workflows. Paid templates are a less costly way to create automated workflows than paying a developer to build it from scratch.

3. Custom Templates

You won’t need to look for another solution with the right paid template. However, templates only cover tasks and processes that are similar across organizations. There might be workflows that are unique to a given company. For such cases, the best solution is a custom template. With your unique needs in mind, no-code agencies can build automated workflows that perfectly suit your needs.

How to Get Employees Engaged

It is essential to have the right apps to optimize your operations, but it’s only part of the solution. A key part of the success of a new workflow hinges on employee buy-in with the process.

1. Involve Employees from the Onset

From planning to diagramming and building, ensure that you involve your team in every stage of the workflows. Since they are the primary beneficiaries, they need to contribute to the functionality and understand the importance of why new workflows are being built. Let them present their pain points and ideal solutions.

In so doing, they’ll feel involved in the process and know that’s it’s designed to support their roles. After launching the pilot, ask for employee feedback and address it before scaling up your workflow automation. While it may seem unnecessary, involving your employees will ensure a smooth transition. More importantly, it will ensure they will actually use what you build.

2. Support Adoption of No-Code Apps

Getting your team to buy into the process is essential. However, it does not guarantee that you’ll get the desired results. In addition, you should note that the development process is not complete when the app is complete.

If you leave users to figure out how to use It as they go, they'll struggle, and their morale will be affected. So, as you launch new solutions, ensure that training materials accompany them to support use and adoption.

If training your entire workforce at once is not possible, consider using a staggered schedule. Then, the first batch of trainees will also champion the solution and train your colleagues. Alternatively, consider developing training materials during the development process.

In this regard, the best options include:

• Training documents

• Video tutorials via recording software such as Loom

3. Create a No-Code Community

One of the best strategies you can use to enhance adoption and employee engagement is developing an internal no-code community. The purpose of this community is to define the requirements, test app features, troubleshoot problems, and test app features for workflow automation.

By laying the groundwork and sensitizing other staff mention. The team should consist of developers, a department supervisor, a consultant from the IT team, and early adopters.

The team of early adopters is integral as they give you an impression of the response you’ll get once you roll out the app. Moreover, they’ll advocate for the app during launch shaping the employee’s perception. So, ensure that you take the suggestions and concerns that the early adopters present.

Case Studies

As time passes, workflow automation platforms and services become more visible across all organizations. The ability to prototype, build, test, and refine quickly and affordably appeals to companies. As this disruptive technology gains momentum, some sectors benefit the most.

Such industries include:

  • Retail
  • Health care
  • Banking, Fintech, and Payments
  • Manufacturing
  • Insurance

If you’re still on the fence about using no-code, here are some prime examples of companies using no-code you can use as motivation.

1. Collier International Group

Collier International Group offers real estate and investment management services across the globe. To deliver services efficiently, the company has a team of 14,000 people. However, with 300 personnel in its IT department, developing mobile apps was a challenge.

After retiring their legacy systems, the company needed robust solutions. Moreover, it was vital to gain a competitive edge over organizations that spend more on it. According to Mihai Strusievici, Collier’s vice president of global IT, this is when the company turned to no-code programming.

As a result, the company is now able to build more apps. But, more importantly, their apps are now more specialized and interactive, proving to be a great asset for their brokers.

2. Optum

In the health sector, one of the primary beneficiaries of no-code technology is Optum. The company is tasked with providing information and technology-enabled health solutions for UnitedHealth Group, its parent company.

One of UnitedHealth Group's primary challenges was aligning business objectives with technology. As a result, Optum can now bring stakeholders and no-code developers when building applications by turning to no-code development. This ensures that the solutions offer greater functionality and are aligned with the business.

3. bswift (CVS Health)

bswift is a branch of CVS Health. The company provides HR and payroll administration solutions for employers and public and private exchanges. Given that this sector is highly competitive and requires great efficiency and agility. Otherwise, it can easily become irrelevant.

In light of such needs, the company's vice president and head of transformation says no-code is the new driving philosophy behind automating operations. By leveraging this technology, bswift can innovate continuously and stay ahead of the pack.


No-code technology is a welcome disruption for organizations where software development has ruled for over 60 years. Moreover, it has come at the best time for organizations. With companies adopting hybrid work models and cloud apps, employees will be working from home, requiring operations to be better coordinated and streamlined.

For such arrangements to be productive, teams must have sufficient collaborative tools. As such, workflow automation will be vital for this. Moreover, no-code apps empower employees, enable the company to adapt to change better, and reduce costs.

So, as you work towards increasing competitiveness, be sure to leverage the capabilities of no-code platforms.

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Heading 6

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Heading 6

Sample text is being used as a placeholder for real text that is normally present. Sample text helps you understand how real text may look on your website. Sample text is being used as a placeholder for real text.

  • Type: Unordered – Style: No Bullets
  • Type: Unordered – Style: No Bullets
  • Type: Unordered – Style: No Bullets
  • Type: Unordered – Style: Bullets
  • Type: Unordered – Style: Bullets
  • Type: Unordered – Style: Bullets
  1. Type: Ordered – Style: Bullets
  2. Type: Ordered – Style: Bullets
  3. Type: Ordered – Style: Bullets

This is bold text

This is italic text

This is a link

The details are not the details.
They make the design.

– Charles Eames, The Elements of User Experience

Image – Position: Normal

This is an image caption
Tim Rodgers
March 24, 2022
5 min read

Sign up for our newsletter

By subscribing, you agree with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you! Your email address has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.