How to Automate Document Workflow Using Nected?

Learn how to streamline your business's document management processes with Nected's powerful workflow automation platform. Follow our detailed guide to enhance efficiency, reduce errors, and improve document handling in your organization.

How to Automate Document Workflow Using Nected?

Prabhat Gupta

11
 min read
How to Automate Document Workflow Using Nected?
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11
 min read
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Manual handling of documents is not only time-consuming but also prone to errors, leading to delays and potential compliance issues. This is where document workflow automation comes into play, transforming the way businesses process, manage, and store documents.

Nected offers a powerful solution for automating document workflows, enabling organizations to streamline their document management processes. With Nected, businesses can automate the routing, approval, and filing of documents, significantly reducing manual work and improving operational efficiency. This guide will walk you through the steps to automate your document workflow using Nected, from initial setup to going live. Whether you're looking to automate invoice processing, employee onboarding documents, or any other document-centric workflow, Nected provides the tools you need to achieve seamless automation.

What is Document Workflow Automation?

Document workflow automation is a critical component of broader business process optimization efforts, employing sophisticated tools to manage and streamline the flow of documents across various departments and stakeholders within an organization. This process is pivotal for businesses aiming to efficiently manage their documentation by automating the movement and processing of documents through predetermined paths and actions until they are completed or reach their intended outcome.

The implementation of document and workflow management enables organizations to significantly boost efficiency and streamline their operations. Virtually every business activity involves some level of paperwork, making document workflow automation beneficial across all sectors of a company. To illustrate, consider the Accounts Payable Department's procure-to-pay process, a routine operation characterized by extensive paperwork, approvals, and routing.

The Stages of Document Workflow Automation:

  1. Document Receipt: The automation journey begins with the acquisition of critical procurement documents, such as invoices and purchase orders. This initial step might involve scanning physical documents or receiving them electronically from vendors.
  2. Document Extraction: At this stage, automation tools, leveraging technologies like Optical Character Recognition (OCR) or Intelligent Document Recognition (IDR), extract vital information from the documents. This automated data extraction facilitates the accurate capture of essential details, including invoice numbers and vendor information.
  3. Data Validation and Verification: The system validates the extracted information against preset rules and cross-verifies it with related documents (purchase orders, receipts) for accuracy and consistency. This includes conducting two-way and three-way matching processes to identify and address any discrepancies or exceptions.
  4. Workflow Routing: Documents are automatically routed to the relevant parties for approval based on predefined workflow parameters. This ensures that each document reaches the appropriate individual or department, whether the workflow requires sequential or parallel processing.
  5. Approval and Exception Handling: Notifications alert stakeholders to review the documents electronically. They can approve, reject, or request further information as necessary. The system flags exceptions for resolution, ensuring no step is overlooked.
  6. Integration with ERP Systems: The automated workflow seamlessly integrates with the organization's ERP system, enabling the direct transfer of data and updating of financial records. This eliminates manual data entry and ensures consistency across systems.
  7. Payment Processing: Following approvals and validations, the system prepares payment instructions, facilitating the payment process. This might include generating checks or initiating electronic transfers, based on the approved documents.
  8. Audit Trail and Reporting: An automated audit trail documents every action taken, providing a comprehensive record for compliance, internal audits, and reporting purposes.

By adopting document workflow automation, departments like HR can significantly enhance their efficiency by automating labor-intensive tasks such as new hire onboarding. Similarly, customer data management benefits from automation by using standardized templates and APIs to dynamically insert customer information into documents, streamlining customer interactions and personalizing communication. In industries like healthcare and education, document workflow automation improves patient care and administrative efficiency by offering secure, centralized management of records and streamlining processes like grading and attendance tracking.

Through these examples, it's evident that document workflow automation is a powerful tool for businesses looking to improve their operational efficiency, data accuracy, and overall productivity across various departments and functions.

Benefits of Document Workflow Automation

Document workflow automation offers numerous benefits to businesses, enabling them to streamline their operations and enhance productivity. Some of the key advantages include:

  1. Expedited Document Generation: Automating document creation eliminates manual data entry and reduces the time required to generate invoices, contracts, and proposals.
  2. Error Reduction: Automation minimizes the likelihood of human errors in manual data entry, which can lead to significant technical and financial challenges.
  3. Better Collaboration: Document automation provides a centralized platform for stakeholders to work together in real-time, reducing wait times and minimizing the need for lengthy email chains and meetings.
  4. Consistency and Version Clarity: Automation ensures clarity regarding the latest document version and offers version control, maintaining consistency and enabling businesses to establish templates and standards for formatting.
  5. Data Security: Manual document creation poses risks of data breaches and loss. Document automation provides a secure digital platform for document creation and storage, with features such as access controls, encryption, and audit trails, ensuring the protection of sensitive information.
  6. Environmental Benefits: Automating document processes can significantly reduce paper waste, as it eliminates printing errors and poor photocopies.
  7. Enhanced Bottom Line: Document automation yields financial benefits by reducing costs associated with manual processes, including printing, mailing, and physical storage, and by saving time and effort, allowing staff to focus on value-added activities.
  8. Reduction in Staff Requisition Time: St. Louis Public School District reduced staff requisition time from three weeks to three hours by implementing document automation.
  9. Probability of Human Errors in Manual Data Entry: The probability of human errors in manual data entry is between 18% and 40%.
  10. Average Paper Waste per Office Worker: The average office worker generates around two pounds of paper and paperboard products daily, resulting in a significant amount of office waste.

These benefits have contributed to the growth of the global document management system market, which is expected to reach $16.42 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 16.8% during the forecast period.

Preparing for Document Workflow Automation with Nected

To successfully implement document workflow automation with Nected, businesses must undertake strategic preparation. This foundational phase is crucial for ensuring that the automation process aligns with organizational goals and workflows. Here’s how to prepare effectively:

  1. Assess Document Workflows: Start by identifying and mapping out the document workflows currently in place. This includes understanding how documents are created, processed, approved, and stored. Prioritize workflows based on volume, time consumption, and impact on business operations.
  2. Define Automation Objectives: Clearly articulate what you aim to achieve with document workflow automation. Objectives can range from reducing processing times and minimizing errors to improving document accessibility and compliance.
  3. Gather Requirements: Engage with stakeholders from relevant departments to gather requirements and insights. This collaborative approach ensures that the automation solution addresses the specific needs and challenges of different areas of the business.
  4. Select Key Documents for Automation: Not all documents may be suitable or necessary for automation. Select key documents and processes that will benefit most from automation, such as invoices, purchase orders, contracts, and employee onboarding documents.
  5. Outline the Desired Automated Workflow: Visualize the desired automated workflow for each document type, including steps like data capture, review, approval, and archiving. Consider how automation can streamline these steps and what triggers and actions are needed.

By thoroughly preparing for document workflow automation, businesses can ensure a smooth transition to using Nected. This preparatory work lays the groundwork for a successful implementation, enabling organizations to harness the full potential of document workflow automation to enhance efficiency, accuracy, and productivity.

How to Implement Document Workflow Automation in Nected?

Implementing document workflow automation in Nected involves a structured approach that leverages the platform's powerful features to streamline your document management processes. Here's a detailed guide to creating a document workflow in Nected:

  1. Log into Nected Dashboard: Start by accessing your Nected account. The dashboard is your command center for creating and managing workflows.
  2. Navigate to Workflow Option: Find the ‘Workflow’ option on the left panel of the dashboard. Clicking here will direct you to the section dedicated to workflow management.
  3. Create a New Workflow:
    • Select the ‘Create Workflow’ button to initiate a new workflow setup. A new window will appear for you to input the specifics of your document workflow.
    • Name your workflow appropriately (e.g., “Invoice Approval Process”) and choose its stage—staging for testing or production for live deployment. Staging is recommended for refining the workflow without impacting actual data.
  4. Set Up an API Trigger:
    • An API trigger is what initiates your workflow. To set this up, click on the ‘Add’ button or the plus icon and select ‘API Trigger’ as the type.
    • Specify the input parameters the trigger will accept, such as document type, source ID, or document date. These parameters help define the conditions under which the workflow starts.
  5. Add Actions and Rules:
    • With the trigger in place, it’s time to define what actions your workflow should execute. This could involve document processing steps like data extraction, validation, and routing for approval.
    • Click on the plus icon to add actions, which might include executing custom scripts for data extraction, database updates, or triggering further rules set in Nected.
    • It’s essential to ensure all actions and rules are fully defined and ready, as the workflow can only be published once all components are set and published.
  6. Test Each Node:
    • Before going live, thoroughly test each step of the workflow to confirm it operates as expected. This testing phase is critical for identifying and fixing any errors or issues in the workflow logic or execution.
    • Ensure the API trigger activates the workflow correctly and that each action within the workflow performs its intended function accurately.
  7. Publish Your Workflow:
    • After testing and confirming that the workflow is functioning correctly, proceed to publish it. Remember, a workflow is ready for publication only when all its elements, including actions and integrated rules, are finalized and set to go live.
    • Click the ‘Publish’ button to activate your workflow. Should any issues arise, the system will notify you to make the necessary adjustments before publication.

By following these steps, businesses can effectively implement document workflow automation using Nected, enhancing the efficiency and accuracy of their document management processes. Whether it's automating invoice approvals, employee onboarding documents, or any other document-centric operation, Nected provides the tools and flexibility needed to customize workflows to your specific business requirements.

Conclusion

Implementing document workflow automation using Nected transforms how businesses manage, process, and utilize their critical documents. By following the structured steps outlined—from logging into the Nected dashboard and creating a new workflow to setting up triggers, adding actions, testing, and finally publishing—the path to automation becomes clear and actionable. Nected’s platform offers a powerful, user-friendly interface that simplifies the automation of complex document workflows, making it accessible even to those with minimal technical expertise.

The benefits of deploying document workflow automation are significant. Organizations can expect enhanced efficiency, reduced manual errors, improved compliance, and better resource allocation. With the capability to customize workflows to the specific needs of your business, Nected stands out as a versatile tool that can adapt to any document management challenge.

As businesses continue to seek ways to optimize operations and gain a competitive edge, the adoption of technologies like Nected for document workflow automation becomes not just an option but a necessity. By embracing automation, companies can streamline their document processes, freeing up valuable time and resources to focus on strategic growth initiatives. In the journey towards digital transformation, Nected provides a reliable and efficient pathway for businesses ready to innovate and improve their document workflows.

FAQs:

Q1. What are the benefits of implementing document workflow automation in Nected?

Implementing document workflow automation in Nected offers numerous benefits, including increased efficiency, reduced errors, improved compliance, enhanced collaboration, and streamlined document management processes.

Q2. Can I customize workflows in Nected to suit my specific business needs?

Yes, Nected provides the flexibility to customize workflows according to your specific business requirements. You can create workflows tailored to tasks such as invoice approvals, employee onboarding documents, or any other document-centric operation.

Q3. How can I ensure the security of sensitive documents within automated workflows in Nected?

Nected prioritizes data security and offers features like access controls, encryption, audit trails, and compliance certifications to ensure the security and confidentiality of sensitive documents within automated workflows.

Q4. Is it possible to integrate external systems or applications with document workflows in Nected?

Yes, Nected supports API triggers that allow you to integrate external systems or applications with your document workflows. This enables seamless data exchange and automation across different platforms.

Q5. What tasks can be automated through document workflow automation?

Document workflow automation can automate tasks such as routing, tracking, processing documents, data extraction, approvals, and notifications. It streamlines document-related processes by automating intermediate steps and actual document-related tasks, enhancing efficiency and accuracy in managing documents.

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