Workflow Empowerment: Bringing RPA, AI, and the Future of Work Together

An image of an employee using a glass wall to create a workflow.

Daniel Coyle’s The Culture Code is one of the seminal works regarding the way culture is developed and codified in the workplace. Coyle distills culture into two essential archetypes:

Cultures of Proficiency are cultures where you teach teams to do the same things repeatedly—with excellence. Think of Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack as an example.

Cultures of Creativity are cultures where you teach teams to create new things that don’t exist—with excellence. Think of the brilliant minds behind Pixar movies like Frozen.

In reality, very few cultures are strictly creative vs. proficient. Departments and roles will fluctuate between these two at different seasons and times. 

In previous posts, we’ve shared how the interruption problem (team members getting interrupted in the middle of their “flow”) derails your team’s proficiency and creativity. We’ve talked about how the average team member switches apps 1,100 times a day. We’ve shared horror stories of onboarding documents the size of large novels. And everyone has experienced the uncertainty of not knowing who to turn to in an organization for help.

Teams use Capacity to deal with challenges like these. Our mission is to help teams do their best work, which means creating a less interrupted, better-informed workforce. To accomplish our mission, we integrate with the three key input sources of company intelligence: your apps, documents, and the tacit knowledge of your team. 

But we haven’t talked enough about the output sources of company intelligence. Think of the output sources as the natural consequences of what happens when you don’t have an automated workforce. 

What’s an example of output sources?

The first example of an output source is an increase in support tickets. Some tickets may be informal ticketing systems, while other tickets may be informal interruptions, emails, and Slack messages. We’ll share more on our thinking around tickets in an upcoming post. 

But out of all the areas that need the most attention in the org, processes are the big “E” on the eye exam chart. As the fifth area of company intelligence, and the second example of an output source, processes affect entire teams of people. Processes best reflect a company’s corporate intelligence and are closely related to Coyle’s view of Cultures of Proficiency.

Unfortunately, a lot of companies have come to accept inefficient processes and team member dissatisfaction as a matter of course. I’m happy to report that there’s hope—much more, in fact, there’s a solution.

That’s why I’m so excited to announce the launch of our latest product: Capacity Workflows.

What are Capacity Workflows?

Put simply, Capacity Workflows create a digital representation of any online or offline process. But unlike business process management software, (that simply maps the process out) Capacity Workflows allow users to assign workflow stages to teammates or directly to the Capacity bot. In doing so, we have the opportunity to gracefully automate the steps of any given business process while creating a direct and measurable ROI for time saved.  

The whole concept is underpinned by robotic process automation (RPA) technology.  It wouldn’t be possible or effective without the app integrations, patent-pending document mining, or best-in-breed knowledge management we’ve developed along the way. 

Our goal is to help teams offload unnecessary tasks while tracking the progress of the project along the way. We’ve always aimed at simplifying the way people work and the automation of traditional workflows brings us one step closer to realizing our vision. 

How is this different from other forms of workflow automation software?

If you go online, you’ll find quite a few definitions and examples of workflows. If a process gets a user from point A to B, it’s called a workflow. Productivity tools like Trello and Jira provide simple workflow capabilities via Kanbans. There is a time and place for Kanbans—but often times real-world processes are far more complex. 

With digital transformation and our own AI-powered platform, we decided to focus on four key principles in designing Capacity Workflows:

  1. Nestability
  2. Assignability
  3. Handling ad hoc requests
  4. Simplicity

Nestability

A workflow rarely exists on its own. Workflows tend to be embedded within one another. For example, in our onboarding process, we have a separate subprocess for setting up each laptop for every new employee. With Capacity Workflows, Jenny from HR can embed the Laptop Setup Workflow within the Onboarding Workflow—without managing the nuances of the laptop setup.

Assignability

Rather than simply laying out the tasks in progress-marked columns to help you visualize the steps towards completion, workflow automation software actually completes the repetitive tasks on your behalf. 

By automating or even eliminating tasks with automated workflow software, your workload decreases, and your creativity skyrockets—empowering you to do your best work. 

Handling ad hoc requests

Continuing with our onboarding example: there are a series of tasks one must complete to onboard a new team member. Yet in the middle of the process, the team member might raise her hand and ask a question. Most RPA solutions fall over when this happens.

Not so with Capacity! With Capacity Workflows, you can embed the chat experience directly into the workflow itself, so team members can ask their creative, ad hoc questions even as they are completing the requisite steps. In doing so, we drive both a Culture of Proficiency and Creativity.

Simplicity

All of this is fine and dandy, but if the workflows are too difficult to create, then they won’t achieve their intended purpose. That’s why simplicity is at the heart of everything we do from the design of the Capacity Workflow toolbox to the tight integration with the rest of the product suite.

How do workflows work?

As previously discussed, the logistics of bringing on a new team member requires help from multiple people in multiple departments. However, as you probably know from bitter experiences, a lot of the tasks are fairly repetitive. Regardless of the department, job title, timing, etc.—each team members’ onboarding process will require many of the same steps.

The following are just a few tasks that could instantly be automated with Capacity’s new RPA Workflows feature:

Again, those are just a few examples from just one process driven by one department. The list goes on and on. With Capacity’s robotic process automation capabilities, it’s really as simple as, “Set it, and forget it.” You simply teach Capacity your process and the AI-powered knowledge sharing platform will automate your workflow from that point forward. 

Now, what if you need a workflow to tie back to a proprietary system? With Capacity’s Developer Platform, you can connect Capacity to any system with a public-facing API making your workflow as extensible as possible.

Capacity Workflows in a nutshell. 

In conclusion, I couldn’t be more excited to share this new technology with the workplace. Workflows are a giant leap forward towards a future in which every team member is unencumbered from doing their best work. In fact, it’s our best path forward for creating Cultures of Proficiency and Cultures of Creativity in the workplace.

If you’re interested in learning more about the robotic process automation that drives workflows, check out our resources page

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