Organizations that are evaluating no-code workflow automation platforms to empower business analysts in lines of business to design processes, automate workflows and streamline operations must first build a business case for investment. This often includes establishing performance benchmarks, setting expectations and analyzing the current and desired future state during the initial planning process. It is important for these lines of business to demonstrate a positive return on investment that validates that the benefits of workflow automation are significantly greater than the cost of implementation and deployment.
Benefits of Workflow Automation
Organizations that have implemented workflow automation have achieved significant benefits over the last 15 years, including increased worker productivity, reduced error handling and improved efficiency. Instead of searching through e-mails, documents and spreadsheets to determine what to work on next, team members are assigned tasks based on defined business processes through the workflow automation platform. According to HighGear customer research, workflow automation provides productivity savings of 30-50% for back office functions and 20-25% for knowledge worker functions on average.
Calculating Return on Investment
Return on investment (ROI) is used to calculate the efficiency of business investments based on a simple standard formula:
ROI % = (gain from investment – cost of investment) / cost of investment * 100.
Because workflow automation focuses on both process improvement and technology changes to increase revenue and decrease costs, ROI calculations help stakeholders build the business case for investment.
Building a Business Case
For example, the organization’s workflow automation goal is to increase revenues by 10 percent, from $4M to $4.4M, while reducing estimated costs for core business processes by 8 percent or $256,000, from $3.2M to $2.9M. The organization also anticipates another $40,000 in direct costs and expects to eliminate two FTE’s, with a fully burdened cost of $120,000. The organization has budgeted $60,000 for a consulting firm to assist with the implementation, $150,000 in software costs and $25,000 in hardware costs, for an expected 247 percent Return on Investment.
Benefits of Workflow Automation
- Design custom business processes to dramatically improve efficiency
- Automate simple or complex workflows to increase productivity
- Assign tasks, track status and report progress from one central location
- Ensure compliance with industry regulations and requirements
- Streamline business operations to achieve digital transformation
“Workflow automation provides productivity gains of 30-50% for back office functions, with outliers exceeding 120%, along with 20-25% for knowledge worker functions.”
HighGear Customer Data
No-code tools “allow more rapid development to meet large-scale automation requirements, but they also expand the population of potential development resources by lowering complexity and technical requirements.”
The Forrester Wave™: Digital Process Automation For Wide Deployments, Q1 2019