Automate Your Business Processes
This might interest you
Businesses are constantly seeking ways to streamline their operations and improve efficiency. One powerful solution that has gained popularity in recent years is using low-code automation for workflows. Whether it’s approval logic, parallel processes, or dynamic logic, these days, developers are integrating some sort of business process management (BPM) into a lot of applications. Why? Because they help companies improve operational efficiency, user experience, and, ultimately, customer service and satisfaction. In other words, they’re crucial for a company to remain competitive and relevant.
In this step-by-step guide, I explore the benefits of automating workflows and walk you through the process of building an automated workflow with a low-code platform.
What Is Low-Code Workflow Automation?
Low-code workflow automation uses a visual interface with minimal hand-coding to transform manual business processes into digital assets and applications. It replaces two kinds of lengthy processes. One is the workflow being automated, which usually involves paper, printing, or data input. The other is submitting a request to the IT department to automate the workflow and waiting–and there’s usually no feedback loop. With low-code, you can create custom workflows tailored to your specific business needs without extensive coding expertise.
Whether you are tasked with building or you will take advantage of the final product, automating the workflow with low-code eliminates repetitive tasks, streamlines processes, and enables individuals and teams to be more productive.
Benefits of Workflow Automation with Low-Code
Now that we’re all straight on what low-code workflow automation is, let's explore its benefits.
Rapid Development and Reduced Development Costs
Low-code platforms are designed to be user-friendly, making workflow automation accessible to a broader range of users, including business analysts and non-technical staff. A visual interface enables users to design workflows with minimal coding. This speeds up the development process significantly, enabling organizations to implement automation solutions faster. With less coding required, organizations can reduce the cost of hiring highly specialized developers. Low-code platforms also lower the total cost of ownership by simplifying maintenance and updates.
Flexibility and Enhanced User Experience
Low-code platforms not only offer the flexibility to design workflows tailored to specific business needs, but they also make it easy to update the workflows as requirements change. The result is the agility to respond quickly to evolving circumstances. An emphasis on user experience, intuitive interfaces, and mobile-friendliness makes it easier for people to interact with automated processes.
Integration and Collaboration
Most low-code platforms integrate with popular software, databases, and existing business applications, enabling seamless data exchange between systems. There is no need to develop APIs or search producers for those with the appropriate fit. As a result, teams can focus on workflow design and implementation, which promotes cross-functional collaboration and ensures everyone is on the same page.
Scalability and Compliance
To address scalability and compliance–especially for workflows in the cloud–low-code platforms include built-in features to help organizations adhere to industry regulations and standards. This is especially important in highly regulated sectors such as finance and healthcare, but it is something that touches all sectors in some way. You can also scale up your automation solutions without a significant increase in development time and effort.
Building Automated Workflows in Low-Code Applications
So what is involved when you use low-code development to build automated workflows? First, you should not select just any low-code platform. You need a high-performance low-code platform to reap the most benefits. And that means OutSystems. You also need a workflow. For the purposes of our story, this is an order management workflow with three processes:
- An order approval process that is activated when someone submits an order and ensures that the process can only continue after manager approval.
- The order expiration that cancels the operation if the manager doesn’t approve the order after a certain time.
- A “conditional process” that states that if the initial conditions change—for example, if new items are added to the order—the whole process restarts.
With all that and the OutSystems pitch out of the way, here are the steps to follow:
- Identify your workflow: Clearly define the workflow you want to automate. Break it down into individual tasks and decision points. Here’s an example of an order management workflow with three processes.
- Design your workflow: Use the OutSystems visual development environment to design your workflow. Drag and drop elements to create the flow, add decision logic, and integrate with other systems or data sources.
- Configure automation rules: Set up automation rules to specify when and how tasks should be executed automatically. Define triggers, conditions, and actions for each step.
- Test your workflow: Before deploying your automated workflow, thoroughly test it to ensure it functions as intended. Identify and resolve any issues or bottlenecks.
- Deploy your workflow: After you're satisfied that it meets your needs and performs as expected, deploy it in your organization.
- Monitor and optimize: Continuously monitor the performance of your automated workflow. Use analytics and feedback to identify areas for improvement and optimization.
How to Change the Automated Workflow with Low-Code
So, now some users have come to you (or submitted feedback), and they want you to change the application so that it checks the job role of the person submitting the order. Then, depending on the role, you want the app to send the approval order to the manager or to the financial department.
If it’s a role that will be submitting to finance, once the request is submitted, the approval goes to finance directly. They can either approve it—which will allow the person to proceed with the operation— or reject it—which will terminate it.
As you can see in the graphic, the change is fast and easy.
After making the adjustment, you are ready to publish it with one-click and wait for the next change request.
In conclusion, low-code workflow automation is a game-changer for organizations looking to streamline their processes, boost productivity, and stay competitive in today's digital landscape. By choosing OutSystems low-code platform and following the steps outlined in this article, you can build efficient and adaptable workflows that propel your business forward. Embrace the future of automation with low-code technology and watch your organization thrive.
These Low-Code Workflow Automation Pictures Are Worth a Thousand Words
Mike Josephson is a developer-turned-architect and low-code evangelist who is passionate about providing creative innovative solutions for his clients. As a Solution Architect, he is responsible for analyzing business challenges and helping to transform the way development is done. When he's not working, you'll find Mike catching some waves, riding his bike or listening to his latest audible.See All Posts From this author