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Devansh Bansal
Devansh Bansal Posted on Jul 26, 2023   |  4 Min Read

Embracing automation is no longer a choice for enterprises. A recent study conducted by SS&C Blue Prism found that 69% of business leaders planning to adopt intelligent automation to streamline workflows, improve operational efficiency, drive workforce productivity, reduce costs, simplify regulatory compliance, and eliminate human errors. Simply put, workflow automation has emerged as a game-changer for CTOs, CIOs, and Decision-makers to better align IT with their business processes to accomplish these objectives whilst driving significant competitive advantages.

SharePoint Workflow Automation

SharePoint, a widely adopted content management and workforce collaboration platform offers a comprehensive solution for implementing workflow automation. This Cloud-based platform not only transforms business processes from the inside out but also sets the stage for sustainable growth in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. No wonder, why 200,000+ organizations and 190 million people have SharePoint for content management, intranets, and team sites including 85% of Fortune 500 companies. Now, let’s dive deep into SharePoint’s workflow automation capabilities that empower businesses to offload time-intensive tasks that the workforce performs regularly to save both time and effort, increase efficiency, and bring consistency.

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Enhancing Efficiency With Commonly Used SharePoint Workflows

SharePoint comes with a slew of built-in workflows that organizations can use straight away. Enterprises may also create custom workflows catering to the unique needs of their business. Let’s look at some commonly used SharePoint workflows.

1. Approval Workflows

Setting up an approval workflow allows users to create an automated approval process for a wide repertoire of documents (invoices, contracts, policies, etc.) and libraries. The moment a document is uploaded on SharePoint, the workflow automatically begins the approval chain.

How to Use It

Let’s say the sales department needs to send out a project proposal to their prospective customers but before they send it, the proposal document needs to go through multiple approval stages. For instance, the sales team prepares a proposal and sends it for approval to the project manager (who will be managing a team working on that project), and after their approval, it gets submitted to their sales department head for approval. From the sales manager, the proposal document is sent to the decision-makers to review and approve it. With the help of an approval workflow, organizations can automate the entire approval chain without requiring to keep track of all of this manually.

Approval Workflows

2. Status Workflows

This workflow allows users to automate the status of documents the moment they are uploaded on SharePoint. Based on the activities taking place within the corresponding document, the workflow automatically changes the document status.

How to Use It

Considering the same sales department example aforementioned, let’s say the sales team that prepared the project proposal uploads it to SharePoint. Once the proposal is uploaded, the status workflow would automatically tag the proposal document as a “draft”. After the project managers review it, the workflow would automatically change the status of the document to “being reviewed.” Then, after the sales manager reviews the document, the workflow would tag the document status to “read”. Finally, when the decision-makers review the document, they can either approve (in this case, the document status would change to ‘approved’) or reject it (in this case, the document status would be changed to ‘rejected’).

Status Workflows

3. Notification Workflows

The notification workflow will send updates to the assigned members once the pre-defined conditions are met, prompting workflow participants to take the required action.

How to Use It

Let’s say, the sales manager uploads the quarterly report to SharePoint. Having a notification workflow in place will automatically trigger a notification to send an email to the decision-makers, informing them the quarterly sales report is uploaded for review.

4. Automation Workflows

By setting up this workflow, users can automate and execute tasks automatically based on the actions taking place within the SharePoint environment.

How to Use It

Let’s consider the status workflow example once again. When the sales team uploads a project proposal into a folder for review, the workflow would tag the folder name as “Proposal – Drafts”. Once the decision-makers review it and decide to approve the proposal, it needs to be moved into a new folder named “Proposal – Approved”. Rather than moving the proposal document manually from the “Draft” to the “Approved,” folder, the automation workflow would automatically execute the task and move the document to the “Approved” folder.

5. Custom Workflows

Besides built-in workflows, SharePoint allows users to create custom workflows to meet their unique requirements. Using this workflow, users can automate more complex business processes.

How to Use It

Users can create a custom workflow that automatically executes all the tasks. For instance, when the sales associates upload the proposal document for review, the workflow sets the status as “Proposal – Drafts”. Once the document is reviewed and approved, the custom workflow sends out notifications prompting workflow participants to take the necessary action. After everything is done, the custom workflow automatically moves the document to the appropriate folder for further perusal by the organization’s sales department.

Summing Up

SharePoint development has become a coveted choice for workflow automation. By harnessing SharePoint’s workflow capabilities, businesses can automate recurring tasks, simplify approvals, streamline operations, ensure compliance, and improve collaboration like never before. With SharePoint workflows, you can not only unlock a world of possibilities but also position your organization for limitless growth, success, and competitive advantage whilst navigating the rapidly changing business landscape.

Unleashing Workflow Automation Potential With SharePoint