Having a workflow—or in other words, a process of how you get stuff done—can make work so much easier, whether it’s on your own or with a team. Effective employee workflows can be immensely beneficial when it comes to productivity, efficiency, and communication.
However, no two employee workflows are the same. What works well for one team may fail for another, but each and every workflow should keep everyone on the same page and prevent miscommunication, streamline things all participants do regularly and help the team make the best use of their time by eliminating bottlenecks. In fact, 68% of employees spend time waiting for information from team members, wasting an average of 3.5 hours a week.
Fortunately, advancements in technology are transforming employee workflows across the globe. New and emerging technologies are having a major impact on how today’s teams and individuals approach their job responsibilities, allowing them to simultaneously streamline their daily processes.
Here are the top three technologies fueling this change.
The cloud has been one of the most impactful technologies when it comes to improving employee workflows. One Forbes survey revealed that 64% of its respondents found cloud-based collaboration tools assisted their teams to execute tasks better and faster. Because cloud tools run on the internet, instead of locally on a computer, most cloud services can be accessed through a web browser like Firefox or Google Chrome, and some companies even offer dedicated mobile apps. This has especially made it simpler for remote and global workforces to communicate and collaborate, as the cloud can be accessed from any geographical location.
Many of the most popular business applications and resources used on a day-to-day basis utilize the cloud. This includes instant messengers like Slack, document sharing platforms like Google Drive, and even recruiting tools like LinkedIn. Business applications built to run on the cloud offer a complete, connected, and integrated method to streamline lines of business including finance, supply chain, and human resources, which makes collaboration simple and efficient. However, when it comes to collaboration tools, be sure to find an application that’s built to run on the cloud, rather than offerings like Infor CloudSuite, which is run on a third-party cloud platform. This can often make collaboration processes more complex and may take away from the benefits the cloud can offer.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has quickly become a popular application for many businesses because of its ability to automate and streamline repetitive processes. As AI has become simpler and more cost-effective to implement, it has also become more accessible to both small and enterprise-level organizations. Gartner reports AI adoption has tripled in the last year alone, with an estimated 37% of organizations now implementing AI in some form. AI is also the driving capability behind other popular workplace technologies, like chatbots and workflow automation.
Today, chatbots are widely recognized for their use in customer service-based scenarios, where they replace a human representative. They can answer queries on e-commerce sites and even social media platforms, providing details on anything from product information to shipping status. A report from Sprout Social indicates almost 89% of customer inquiries that require a response are completely ignored by brands. With an influx of customer inquiries constantly being directed at today’s brands, chatbots help customer service professionals ensure that each message is responded to in a timely matter, without spending the lengthy amounts of time that otherwise would be required.
Automation is defined as the technology-enabled mechanization of activities or services that accomplish a specific function or workflow. More specifically, workflow automation refers to the design, execution, and automation of processes based on workflow rules where human tasks, data, or files are routed between people or systems based on pre-defined business rules. For example, in HR, automation can be used to enter new hires’ information, like addresses, social security numbers, and other employee information, into payroll, expense, and insurance systems.
Over the next four years, Gartner predicts that 25% of employees will use voice to interact with applications in the workplace, a clear indication that voice technology is poised to dramatically change the digital workplace. Voice technology is already used a great deal today to complete personal tasks, whether it be playing music, asking about the weather, or compiling a shopping list. With that said, there are a number of up-and-coming uses for voice technology in a professional setting too.
For one example, it can be used for seemingly trivial tasks in the workplace, like organizing files or setting reminders, which can often distract employees from their core activities. Implementing voice into these types of tasks can help professionals to better multitask, while also improving focus on their main responsibilities. In another instance, voice technology can also be a useful tool for the segment of today’s workforce that doesn’t work from behind a desktop, like medical professionals or manufacturers. The use of a hands-free technology can help them complete certain tasks, while also on the go or in the field.
Emerging technologies, like those described in this post, are poised to make a major impact in today’s workplaces and employee workflows. With digital workplaces on the rise, be sure to educate yourself on these technologies and how they can impact your own organization.