Operational Workflows in Data Operations: What are they and What Are Some Examples
Data Operations

Operational Workflows in Data Operations: What are they and What Are Some Examples

Aarushi singh
Aarushi singh

The bigger your organization grows, the harder it is to move quickly. You can’t rely on spreadsheets, apps, or emails to keep track of insights and data when you have ever-multiplying assets, platforms, stakeholders, teams, and tools. That’s where workflow automation and workflow management processes—specifically, operational workflows—come into play.

You need robust operational workflows in place that allow you to move past legacy architectures and bottlenecks, directly sync all data from your warehouse to your front-end tools, and take action based on real-time insights.

Without operational workflows, data sets exist in siloes and each department operates in a black box. This usually happens because teams can’t see the big picture and have access to their own fragment of the data. This creates a less collaborative environment for teams and it becomes hard to maintain a culture of transparency.

By implementing operational workflows in data operations, you ensure that your data is automatically updated in every business tool being used. This helps different teams get on the same page and get a complete picture of your business processes. This way, your teams make accurate decisions based on real-time data from multiple sources, rather than from compartmental data silos.

What are operational workflows?

Operational workflows leverage real-time data analytics to give your team insights needed to act faster. They enable more structured, precise, and effective decision-making than conventional means based on stale data or no data. As well, they include data alerts in Slack and other channels to ensure your team sees the information as soon as possible.

For example, operational workflows affect the business process by automatically and accurately updating CRM records with real-time product usage data. This offers real-time insights to marketing and sales teams so they can follow up with customers, adjust pricing, or engage new customers with the most up-to-date information possible.

How operational workflows help

Typically, operational workflows are used to orchestrate some facet of the cloud data warehouse. They can also be used to standardize and streamline business processes (often manual processes) within an organization.

An example could be syncing data between your finance tools and accounting teams, compiling user data, billing information, monthly recurring revenue (MRR), expenses, KPIs, etc.

Examples of a few simple, effective operational workflows include:

  • Trigger an email whenever a customer abandons their cart midway through a purchase
  • Automatically populate Salesforce with campaign insights for marketing teams
  • Update bids and budgets for advertising campaigns based on daily performance
  • Run, save, or schedule API requests which can help you import your CRM data, or run a series of tasks

How to implement operational workflows

Organizations are increasingly relying on cloud data warehouses given their high scalability, accessibility, and speed. It’s no surprise then that companies use these data warehouses as their source of truth for tracking all relevant business metrics (e.g., CAC, MRR, LTV).

By putting robust operational workflows in place, teams can turn the data stored in these data warehouses into actionable insights that allow project management on various teams to meet milestones, optimize internal processes, and achieve business outcomes.

This happens via a process called Reverse ETL, where data from a SQL query is mapped into different SaaS tools used by teams like product, marketing, sales, and customer support. For instance, customer support can integrate Zendesk data with Salesforce records to see which accounts require premium support.

Companies that have a wealth of data and multiple data sources to pull information from easily get lost in operational noise and still feel data-driven. Marketing teams, for example, may be diving into initiatives and metrics like branded searches or organic traffic. But if the goal is to reduce cart abandonment (and increase profitability), they should track metrics like user behavior and engagement, click-through rate (CTR), conversions, device usage, etc.

While your data might hold a ton of potential value, it’s worthless if you’re not able to extract meaningful, timely insights from it. Being able to measure intently and take action based on real-time analytics is core to operational workflows and business process management. Reverse ETL allows you to do just that by making the process flow of sending data from your database to your SaaS tools as painless as possible.

Operational workflow examples

Inside most companies, there are almost too many opportunities to use operational workflows.

Here are some examples of common operational workflows in action:

Operational workflow for A/B testing campaign management

Operational workflows have taken off in marketing, where it’s common to find gaps in the marketing strategy and the work actually being done.

Consider the case of an A/B testing ad campaign on your website. Your marketing team gains real-time insight into campaign performance. This allows the team to identify campaigns that are clearly low on engagement and traffic in high-intent and high-potential demographics.

This test information can then be automatically fetched from the data warehouse and synced with front-end tools like Marketo, Salesforce, etc. so everyone’s working with the same set of underlying data.

By implementing operational workflows, you can integrate your website, marketing, creative tools, and platforms together. This way, you’ll have unified analytics that can help your teams make better decisions.

Operational workflow for human resource management

HR processes tend to be repetitive and time-intensive, making operational workflows an ideal fit for human resource departments.

For instance, in employee onboarding, recruiters need to: provide new hires with the applications and tool access they need, schedule orientation meetings, distribute onboarding documents, send them feedback forms, etc. All of which can be done using automation in operational onboarding workflows.

Moreover, recruiting processes are often a giant black box because of poor  organization. It can be difficult to track the hiring process in a single place. With operational workflow processes updating data from the data warehouse to the front-end tools, all the stakeholders can stay updated.

Recruiters spend a fair amount of time on reporting—tracking time-to-fill, source of hire, quality of hire, cost per hire, offer acceptance rate, etc. With operational workflows in place—that automatically generate reports and give visibility into recruiting operations at a glance—recruiters can improve efficiency and optimize the effectiveness of their hiring systems.

Shipyard helps you build reusable solutions with SQL to streamline the consolidation of HR data throughout every tool being used.

This way, HR teams can automate a large part of their manual tasks—creating reports, assigning new tasks, sending emails, scheduling interviews, notifying candidates, or even approving vacation requests.

The best part is you can customize your operational workflows based on custom business rules using a drag-and-drop workflow builder. And you can make bulk edits, stage pipeline edits, and track changes over time effortlessly.

Choosing the right operational workflow platform for your business

Automating repeatable tasks saves time, frees up talented team members for high-impact work, and improves overall business efficiency. But it takes time to design workflows that work just right for your business and teams.

Shipyard is a single platform that helps you orchestrate all of your workflows. Our low-code templates help you save time spent on mundane, labor-intensive tasks and let you focus on more important things that need your attention.

Features like customizable workflows will help you quickly configure your workflows and test automations based on your data. Also, with real-time notifications (e.g. sending alerts via Slack, knowing when a prospective client visits the pricing/billing page), you can easily identify opportunities, vulnerabilities and errors before they impact your business, which makes Shipyard an even more practical choice for operational workflows.

Learn more about how you can create operational workflows with Shipyard.