The evolution of automation

The workflow automation engine is the element of agileBase that’s seen the most rapid development over the the past few months, probably since it allows you to move beyond simple data entry and analysis to realise specific business benefits, whether that’s improving efficiency, reducing the stress of overworked staff, increasing engagement with the outside world, improving service delivery, cost cutting etc. etc.

agilebotWhile the agileBase platform provides a fast, friendly and flexible user interface for entering business data, analysing and reporting on it, the workflow engine sits on top of that and adds a layer of automation to operational processes to create these benefits.

Some examples

One customer innovates rapidly in the development of new products, updating and creating their unique food recipes. This is great for growing and maintaining market share, but can cause problems purely in the amount of communication and paperwork that’s necessary to keep up with the need to keep customers informed.

They’re working on automating the delivery of product specifications to customers, so whenever for example, an allergen or ingredient is updated, all customers buying any product that depends on that ingredient will be automatically sent a new specification.

Another customer has recently set up a workflow to send follow-up emails to customers to get their feedback on trial products. Customers can reply or click a link to provide the feedback, which will be added to the system. About 50 emails a day are sent, which saves time compared to manual chasing and actually in busy periods does important work that would otherwise probably be bypassed in favour of the urgencies of the day.

To summarise its abilities, the workflow system can automatically create documents, send emails, update records in the system, add or remove records or send messages to third party software. Workflows can be chained together to do many steps at once and can be run on a schedule, whenever specific criteria are matched, or manually at the press of a button.

Newly added

All of that brings us to today’s new feature, another step in this evolution. You can now specify a workflow to run when a new record is created in a certain part of the system. This can be particularly useful if you want to set the record up in a particular way depending on where it’s created.

For example, when adding a new organisation, it may be a customer or supplier. A workflow could edit the record and change it’s type as soon as it’s created, depending on whether you’re in the list of suppliers or customers.

“Innovation through technology”

What will come in the future? Who knows, perhaps an AI bot that pro-actively talks to users and makes intelligent decisions about which actions to run, e.g. which sales leads to prompt people to follow up.

If you’ve any thoughts or ideas of your own, do let us know!

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