Maximizing Business Efficiency with SharePoint Workflows and Automation

workflow automation

In today’s competitive business landscape, organizations need to pursue continuous improvement and optimization to maintain their edge. One area where organizations can realize significant efficiency gains is through the automation of repetitive tasks and the streamlining of complex business processes. Microsoft SharePoint, a powerful platform for collaboration, document management, and business process automation, offers multiple tools and capabilities to support business process optimization. In this article, we will explore the potential of SharePoint workflows and automation, discussing how organizations can harness their power to improve collaboration, enhance productivity, and drive overall business efficiency.

At its core, SharePoint facilitates sharing and storage of information and documents within the organization while allowing for granular access controls, versioning, and search capabilities. Beyond this, SharePoint also empowers organizations to automate tasks and simplify complex business processes through its robust workflow and automation features. SharePoint workflows enable the creation, implementation, and management of multi-step processes that involve multiple stakeholders, so your organization can better control and manage routine tasks or activities, save time, avoid human errors, and ensure data consistency.

Understanding SharePoint Workflows and Automation Tools

SharePoint offers several built-in and customizable tools to support automation and process management:

  1. Out-of-the-Box Workflows: SharePoint includes pre-built, configurable workflows that cater to common business scenarios, such as document approval, feedback collection, and publishing. These workflows can be quickly implemented to address specific process needs within your organization.
  2. SharePoint Designer: This free, powerful tool allows users to create and modify SharePoint workflows using a graphical, user-friendly interface. With SharePoint Designer, you can easily design custom workflows tailored to your organization’s unique processes and requirements.
  3. Microsoft Power Automate (formerly Flow): Power Automate is a versatile and robust cloud-based service that enables users to create automated workflows across a wide range of applications and services. Integrated with SharePoint, Power Automate allows for the creation of complex, multi-step workflows that involve various systems, data sources, and stakeholders.

Designing Effective SharePoint Workflows

A well-planned and executed SharePoint workflow can significantly improve business operations and productivity. Here are some best practices to consider when designing and implementing SharePoint workflows:

  1. Map Your Processes: Begin by mapping out the entire process, identifying key tasks, stakeholders, decision points, and potential bottlenecks. This will help ensure that your workflow accurately reflects the desired business process and optimizes the execution of tasks.
  2. Keep it Simple: Aim for simplicity and clarity in your SharePoint workflows, avoiding over-complexity and excessive steps. A straightforward workflow is easier to implement, maintain, and understand by all involved parties.
  3. Ensure Flexibility: Build flexibility into your workflows, allowing for modifications and updates as needed. This will enable your organization to adapt and enhance processes as requirements change or new opportunities arise.
  4. Test and Iterate: Test your SharePoint workflows thoroughly to identify any issues or potential improvements. Continuously refine and optimize your workflows based on feedback, performance data, and evolving business requirements.

Implementing SharePoint Workflow Automation

Follow these steps to ensure a successful rollout of your SharePoint workflow automation:

  1. Configure SharePoint: Set up the necessary SharePoint features, such as libraries, lists, and permissions, to support your workflows. Ensure that all required templates, columns, and metadata are in place to facilitate smooth workflow execution.
  2. Develop and Deploy Workflows: Utilize tools like SharePoint Designer or Power Automate to create and customize your workflows, integrating them with your SharePoint environment, and other systems as needed.
  3. Train and Support Users: Train your team members on the new workflows, ensuring they understand their roles and responsibilities within the processes. Provide ongoing support and guidance, addressing any questions or concerns that may arise.
  4. Monitor and Optimize: Continuously monitor your SharePoint workflows to track overall performance, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to further optimize your business processes.

Securing SharePoint Workflows

As with any business process solution, security and compliance should be top priorities when implementing SharePoint workflows. 

  1. Set Proper Permissions: Configure SharePoint permissions for each workflow participant, ensuring that users can only access and perform actions necessary for their specific role in the process.
  2. Include Auditing Mechanisms: Implement auditing mechanisms to track changes, approvals, and other actions performed within SharePoint workflows. This provides visibility and accountability, allowing for easier identification of potential issues or security breaches.
  3. Follow Compliance Requirements: Ensure that SharePoint workflows adhere to your organization’s compliance standards and regulations, both in terms of design and data handling. This includes securely storing and transmitting data, following industry-specific guidelines, and implementing any necessary privacy controls.


SharePoint workflows and automation offer a powerful means for organizations to optimize their business processes, drive efficiency, and improve collaboration across teams and departments. By understanding the available tools and features, designing effective workflows, and following best practices for implementation and security, organizations can successfully harness the potential of SharePoint to enhance their operations and maintain a competitive edge in the evolving business landscape. Embrace the benefits of SharePoint workflows and automation, and propel your organization towards a more streamlined, coordinated, and efficient future. Work with Alcero, a managed it service provider, today!