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How to Choose the Right Workflow Management System for Your Business

Tips from Social Psychology Expert and Blogger, Daniela McViker

Published Date: Jan 17, 2020 | Blog Category: eWomenNetwork
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Dealing with complex business processes can be a great challenge for any company even if you've just launched a startup with a few remote workers.

For example, an employee is responsible for processing raw data or information and transforming it into insights or something else that the business can benefit from. To achieve this, they have to employ several additional processes. If for some reason an employee fails to process some information or data properly or promptly, the consequences may be profound. The work may start piling up until a point when one simply can’t deal with it anymore. And, unlike many movie characters, you cannot toss the papers in the shredder and claim you never got them. 

Another serious consequence is stress. Work-related stress is common these days, with millions of people suffering from high workplace demands. According to the American Institute of Stress, the workload is the #1 cause of stress in the U.S.

But how can you reduce the impact of stress and ensure that organizational processes run as smoothly and efficiently as possible?

The answer is superb workflow management. By giving the employees the guidelines they need to perform tasks as effectively and efficiently as possible, a proper workflow management framework increases the chance of achieving the company’s goals.

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In this article, we’re going to explore the reasons why companies need to adopt workflow management software and how to make the choice that can help to meet the needs of your business. 

Why Do You Need Workflow Management for Your Company?

Every year businesses lose 20%-30% in revenue due to inefficiencies. This translates into millions of dollars that they could use to create a competitive advantage and win more business. The most significant reason for these inefficiencies, of course, is an inefficient, poorly optimized, and slow workflow. That is why workflow management is an important part of the business process that many entrepreneurs try to optimize. 

If you’re among these entrepreneurs, too, here are some of the main benefits of workflow management that you can achieve with proper software:

  • Quicker organizational change and process change

  • Reduced paperwork

  • Increased access to information among employees

  • Delineation of work responsibilities

  • Improvement of project timeline estimates

  • Better information/data visibility and accountability 

  • Reduced project risk due to availability of data

  • More focus on the long-term strategy due to reduced process-related issues

  • Predefined rules for dealing with common business processes.

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How Can a Company Manage Business Processes with Workflow Management Software?

Simply put, workflow management is the coordination of tasks within the company. Clearly, this sounds like something that can be automated with some help of technology, right? 

That’s why workflow management is performed through special software that allows automating the existing business processes and scaling up their productivity. This software is often referred to as “a workflow management system,” and can be defined as a tool created to streamline common business processes to achieve maximum effectiveness and efficiency. 

Business owners use workflow management systems to outperform competitors because this software gives an excellent opportunity to automate workflows, reduce inefficiencies, and, therefore, reduce stress and improve the well-being of employees.

Workflow Management Systems

Workflow management systems (WfMS) are software that provides the framework to arrange, control, track and coordinate the business process to ensure automation and higher efficiency of operations.

Also, they are used to streamline and partially automate routine or repetitive processes. 

A WfMS enables the users within a company to identify the workflows that are built on different circumstances including jobs, processes, and settings.

 For example, it allows measuring processes so one could identify opportunities for improvement and streamline operations. 

 To help you with the selection of the best WfMS for your business, we’ve compiled a list of the characteristics you should look for while choosing a workflow management system. 

Must-Have Features of Workflow Management Systems

Every business is unique so you need to consider the needs of your business while looking for a workflow management system. 

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Not every system offers you what you need it to do, so be prepared to delve deep into what a particular piece of WfMS can offer.

However, there are some general features that you should always pay attention to when browsing your options. The following 7 features are something that your workflow management system should include.

1. Cloud Integration

According to Right Scale’s Cloud Computing Trends for 2018 survey, 96% of survey respondents claim that they use the cloud. This makes integration with cloud services a must-have feature. 

Besides,g there’s no way workflows will work separately from other organizational processes, so a system without cloud integration is something that you need to avoid.

2. Access Based on Responsibilities

A workflow management software should allow you to arrange the tasks according to employees’ roles. 

People performing various roles within a process have to keep their team members updated about their current status, but they don’t need to have access to the entire workflow. Besides, a workflow or project manager needs to be able to change team members’ roles whenever needed.

3. Easy Graphical Modeling of Processes

Intuitive graphical modeling is among the key features software for workflow management can offer.

With the help of a graphical model, you can see process and activity definitions, resources, roles of individuals and departments, and expected outputs from all the steps in the process. By capturing and depicting the flow of the process, you can help everyone on the team to understand why they’re doing what they do.

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4. Flexibility

Workflows have different sequences. Some are simple and others are comprised of multiple sequences working simultaneously.

The assortment of means to model and design workflows and make amends to them easily is among the features that workflow management software should offer you. A workflow management system should serve for the processes definition and guidance, but not limit the number of actions that you can perform on them.

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5. Pre-Filled Forms

There is no need for repeated data input if you can have it pre-populated with existing data. When data is entered once, the system memorizes it and populates multiple forms when needed.

One of the most valuable features of workflow management software is the possibility to automate the routine repetitive processes, and forms that are already pre-filled are a big part of it.

6. KPI (Key Performance Indicator)-based Reporting Function

KPI-based reporting is one of the most needed features that users are looking for workflow management software because it allows them to detect and investigate inefficiencies and bottlenecks in workflows. 

Automated workflows should generate reports that give information on all the activity that has been performed, when the following step is planned to be done, and what workflows are still pending. This helps everyone to understand better what is expected of their performance and increases accountability. 

So, it’s best to go for a workflow management tool that offers a dashboard interface that allows creating KPI-based reports more easily.
 

7. Smooth Integration with other Tools

A workflow management system does not make for successful workflow immediately. It is a process that requires documents uploading from external resources and integration with software that manages sales reports, data capture, and cash-flow. 

The software used most often for the aforementioned purposes is Google Calendar, Microsoft Office, SalesForce and some others. These apps are essential for all businesses and your workflow management system should allow you to integrate them to ensure an easy transition to using automation.

Conclusion

Adopting workflow management for your business will help you automate mundane tasks, increase productivity and performance, and thus reduce stress leaving more time for other parts of your life.

Modern technology allows to achieve this relatively easy thanks to workflow management systems so why not use them to your advantage? Now, you have a list of key features to look for in a WfMS. Hopefully, it will help you choose the right one for your business.

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About the Author:
Daniela McVicker is an editor for Top Writers Review and a blogger with a degree in social psychology from Durham University. Daniela is primarily focused on writing about self-improvement and productivity.

 

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