For centuries, mankind has been looking for ways to increase productivity. We strive for the continuous optimization of processes – good examples are the loom, the railroad or the car. With digitalization, the optimization of digital processes is also becoming increasingly important. Companies strive to increase their efficiency, reduce costs and optimize their processes sustainably.
And this is where digitization often comes into play these days. The digitization of processes means that procedures and information are stored and processed digitally. This has the advantage that information is held centrally and can be used and accessed in a simplified way through targeted optimization of processes.
Can every process in the company be automated?
A large part of the processes can be digitized, but it does not make sense to transfer them 1 to 1 from analog to digital for every process. A bad analog process remains bad in the digital world. Therefore, it makes sense and is important to re-evaluate the processes with the technical conditions and to check how additional added value can be achieved thanks to the technology.
The goal should always be to support people as best as possible and ideally to relieve them. For example, by simply making all the necessary information available from different systems – this saves the tedious search for information.
In addition, in today’s world, processes often take place across systems. Let’s take the quotation approval process as an example. The sales employee creates the offer in CRM and has to have it approved by the supervisor. He spends about 70% of his working time in Microsoft Teams or Outlook. How practical would it be to provide him with all the information on quotation approval and the possible actions (approve, reject, ask queries) directly in the place where he is currently located?
4 Cluster of automated processes
As part of the digitalization and optimization of processes in the areas of marketing, sales, service and e-commerce, I have developed my own small cluster:
1. information flows:
These take place whenever a user is to be informed about a certain process. In the simplest case, it can also be called a cross-system notification.
Example: A sales colleague is automatically informed when a new lead is created and assigned to him. This can be done, for example, via Microsoft Teams message or e-mail. In this message, the recipient is given further options for action in addition to the important information in order to accelerate the process, such as opening the lead in the CRM or making an appointment directly with the contact person for the lead.
A workflow is similar in principle to the information flow, but requires the recipient to interact in a targeted manner – with the goal of completing the process.
Example: A good example of this is the quote approval process. As described earlier, the sales representative creates the quote in CRM. As soon as this quotation exceeds a certain amount, it must be approved by the supervisor. To do this, the supervisor receives the workflow automatically in teams or by e-mail and can process it directly. He or she can approve or reject the offer directly or ask questions. It is therefore not necessary to jump to another system (e.g.) the CRM system. All necessary information is already provided within the workflow.
the reminder is also similar to the information flow, since information is also provided here. However, the difference lies in the time at which the information is provided. While an information flow is usually executed immediately after the occurrence of a trigger, the provision of a reminder is delayed.
Example: A sales colleague creates a quotation and sends it to the customer. After two weeks, he wants to follow up with the customer again if he has not received any feedback by then. This is where the timed reminder comes in, which only executes the flow after a certain amount of time.
4. robotic process automation (RPA): RPA is all about pure process automation. In the simplest case, processes can be recorded and then executed “at the push of a button”. This type of process digitization is particularly suitable when manual tasks, such as orders in a specific web store or the download of monthly reporting data from a marketing tool, are to be executed automatically.
How can Power Automate help automate CRM processes?
Power Automate is part of the Microsoft Power Platform and the tool with which automation processes can be built. Whether information flows, workflows, reminders or RPA – all processes from the 4 clusters presented can be implemented with Power Automate in no time at all.
The browser-based interface of Power Automate is very intuitive. No programming knowledge is required, so users can get started right away. The whole thing is simplified by predefined triggers and actions, with which the flow is quickly set up.
Good to know: Power Automate is already included in the Microsoft E3 and E5 plans and can be used by any user. If you need support or want an exchange, feel free to contact me directly.