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Process Improvement

Benefits of Workflow Automation for Complex Projects

Written By: Joe Demski
August 2, 2022
4 min read

Complex projects — whether it’s building a skyscraper, expanding into a new country, or coordinating multiple teams across the globe — require sophisticated tools and processes to ensure the project is running smoothly.

When workflows, such as budgeting or scheduling, aren’t automated they can easily hamper overall progress with out-of-date data and incorrect information.

But, many organizations still rely on outdated spreadsheets or a hodgepodge of different solutions to meet the needs of their complex projects — harming overall efficiency.

A recent survey found that less than 40% of respondents are automating workflows in critical areas. Additionally, 74% of respondents use six or more pieces of software to manage their workflows.

Automated workflows take the guesswork out of managing complex projects and empower organizations to:

  • Increase the efficiency of all their activities

  • Decrease the amount of wasted time, money, and resources devoted to manual processes

  • Create a trusted source-of-truth for their data and connect critical systems

The benefits of automated workflows can transform an organization and enable them to deliver the most complex projects on-time and on-budget. Let’s look at the specific ways automated workflows help solve big problems.

Improved Efficiency

The amount of processes, documentation, and data related to a complex project can be overwhelming. Attempting to manage all of the moving parts and ensure everything is running smoothly is a full-time job in and of itself.

Automated workflows can help solve issues complex projects face around:

Each of those areas presents unique challenges and requires their own processes. When businesses have to rely on static spreadsheets, or even physical paperwork, it quickly reduces the speed and efficiency of a project.

By automating a process like scheduling, an organization can know that real-time, accurate data is being used to create an optimized schedule that will have the right workers in the right place — leading to a job site that’s running at full efficiency.

The key to using automated workflows for improved efficiency is to utilize a platform that integrates seamlessly with critical systems. Strong integrations make it easier to ensure data is accurate and the automated workflows are using all available systems to coordinate resources.

Reduced Waste

The flipside of improving efficiency is reducing waste. When organizations use too many disparate, disconnected systems, or rely on outdated manual processes for their workflows, then the amount of time and money being wasted starts to pile up.

Some of the key areas where waste occurs due to a lack of automated workflows includes:

  • Duplicative work and processes

  • Wasted time searching for critical information

  • Work done incorrectly due to out-of-date information

  • Extra communication needed between teams

Not only are time and resources wasted during a job, but waste occurs before work begins and after completion as well.

36% of survey respondents said that they are constantly on the search for new tools to assist with their workflows. Spending time researching new tools, meeting with vendors, and implementing new technology takes critical time away from planning and executing on complex projects.

Similarly, when a project is complete and it’s time to pull data for reporting, manual workflows make it almost impossible to gain a high-level view of the project and report on key metrics to stakeholders.

Implementing automated workflows reduces the amount of time project managers, analysts, and workers need to spend chasing information, tracking resources, or reporting on a project’s health.

Improved Visibility and Communication

Complex projects generate a lot of data. With so many resources, employees, and money being poured into a project, it’s critical that data is flowing freely and remains accurate. When data is inaccurate, or difficult-to-find, it can lead to costly delays.

Automated workflows, and technology that enables those workflows, can act as a central source-of-truth for all of the data being generated by a complex project. A central repository of critical information makes it easier for field and office teams to remain on the same page and work towards common goals.

Over 40% of respondents in the same survey indicated they struggle with lack of visibility into the following areas:

  • Materials/resources

  • Project status

  • All project-related information.

Leveraging a technology that enables automated workflows makes it easier to connect disparate platforms, create applications to enhance visibility, and act as a source of truth for everything related to a complex project.

When an organization leverages automated workflows it improves the ability of the entire company to communicate across departments, and stay up-to-date on the project status.


Automated workflows can improve efficiency, reduce waste, and enhance visibility and communication within a complex project. Organizations that rely on manual workflows and outdated technologies struggle to build an environment where data is up-to-date and easily accessible. Implementing a technology that provides automated workflows can connect critical systems to create a source-of-truth and enable teams to work as efficiently as possible.

Joe Demski
Written By: Joe Demski

Joe Demski is an Associate Content Marketing Manager at Quickbase.

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