Workflow Management Software | Key Factors You Need to Know

Shaurya Poddar
September 3, 2021
5 mins to read

In this era of digitization, there is constant pressure on companies to reinvent themselves in no time at all. One way to do this is to take advantage of the modern business process management software with zero to low code automation platforms.

A significant amount of time can be saved by not having to constantly search for important information, emails, and documents. Miscommunications and delays in workflows can be avoided with the help of workflow management solutions.

More and more companies shifting to automated workflow management software has only resulted in the market being flooded with workflow management tools. Keeping the objective of selecting a proper tool for your project in mind is dependent on going back to the basics and obtaining a clear picture of what workflow management comprises.

The definition of workflow management

Designing optimized workflows specific to each project is the main aim of workflow management. It is synonymous with business process automation (BPA) and is ideally suited to identify redundancies in the workflows, avoid bottlenecks, and manage workloads effectively.

Business Dictionary defines workflow automation as "Software technology to increase the efficiency of a workflow by improving the coordination of the activities of the people involved. Workflow automation helps to ensure that at the right time the right person gets the right information about what needs to be done and in what order."

Your team is only as efficient as the weakest link and in this case, it is your workflow. The better and more optimized your workflow, the faster and more efficient business outcomes you avail. This is reason enough to automate your workflow at the earliest with the help of workflow management tools.

The main objectives of efficient workflow management

Any organization relies heavily on workflow management to channel the flow of a project's work. A layer of structure and visibility is added to your workflow with the help of proper workflow management. The main areas where workflow management can be utilized include:

1. Automation of repetitive and recurring tasks at a project level

2. Instant and automatic follow up on incomplete work and missed deadlines without any human intervention

3. Display of the overall picture of the workflow and health of the project consolidated on a unified dashboard

Fundamental components of a workflow

A workflow is defined as a series of sequential tasks that are carried out based on predefined rules to execute any business process. In other words, workflows are paths that elaborate how something goes from being in progress to finished, raw to processed, and so on. Any workflow consists of the following basic components:

1. Predefined tasks: Be it an automated or a manual workflow, there needs to be a sequential task framework. This helps give a clear understanding of what is going on at every stage of the project.

2. Stakeholders of the project: Once you have the set of predefined tasks with you, it's time to allot suitable stakeholders to perform these tasks. Based on the project requirements, stakeholders can be asked to handle a single step in the workflow, a group of steps, or in some cases, the entire workflow.

3. Conditions: The whole point of defining a workflow is to ensure that every step is performed according to the rules for the best outcomes. Setting conditions helps you to determine when a particular task is completed and the appropriate time to move on to the next task. Approval-based workflows like employee onboarding require conditions in place so that certain steps can be ignored depending on the information available.

Why do we need workflow management tools?

Developing a workflow from scratch is no mean feat as you have to visualize the bigger picture while keeping in mind all the intricate details that go into the making. To create a workflow and get the most out of it, you need to make use of top-notch workflow management tools. Constantly defining new strategies to stand out in this competitive environment and improving the overall revenue of your organization is possible with workflow automation.

Scheduling tasks, collaborating with all the involved stakeholders, managing workloads, and documenting every step becomes easy with workflow management software.

1. Create streamlined and customizable workflows depending on your project's demands. Automated workflows are readily adaptable and flexible to sudden changes in the workflow.

2. Make use of a zero-code platform with a drag and drop interface. This allows you to build and tweak workflows with rich content and media and does not require a single line of code to be written.

3. Ensure that your workflow is mobile-ready and accessible from all devices, thereby cutting down on delays and mismanagement.

4. Reduce errors to a large extent by identifying and taking a proactive approach to preventing errors from occurring in the first place.

5. Increase the productivity of your entire project by implementing good workflow management systems that save a lot of time by automating repetitive tasks like sending emails or approving everyday tasks. With more transparency into the responsibilities of every employee, micromanagement is greatly reduced. There is better access to data as well leading to enhanced productivity.

Critical factors to keep in mind when selecting workflow management software

Given the plethora of benefits, one can harness with the help of workflow management tools, it is imperative to know what exactly to look for when creating a new workflow automation plan. All workflow tools offer a visual interface of your workflow and also provide optimization features for the many moving parts in any workflow. The correct workflow automation of the software can take your organization to the next level provided it consists of some key features necessary to workflow management.

The easy user interface of the tool

Drag and drop interfaces are the most popular in today's All age due to their simplicity. Tools that are complex to use and difficult to integrate with your existing workflows are not a viable choice. With easy and intuitive usage of the workflow management application, your employees will be more than willing to learn and implement the tool in their daily work schedule.

Accessibility across platforms

The digital world of today only brings home the fact that everything needs to be at your fingertips. Gone are the days when you rush back to your workspace to use your desktops/laptops. Instead, most of what you do on a laptop can be done on your mobile device. Any workflow automation solution must be mobile-ready to be invaluable. This leads to a responsive environment with instant communication and approvals.

Common knowledge sharing platform

With a unified location for file-sharing, alerting, and messaging, workflow management software enables comprehensive knowledge sharing. A shared workspace allows employees to interact with each other and put across any ideas, tips, and issues, which might be useful for other team members.

End-to-end transparency

A crystal clear view of who is doing what can be monitored with a workflow management application. This beats the alternative of collecting individual updates from your team, saving a lot of time in the process. A detailed drill-down of tasks needs to be available in your selected tool for analysis and better decision making.

Seamless collaboration

One crucial feature to look for in any workflow management system is collaboration. Effective communication goes a long way in avoiding misunderstandings and enabling greater productivity among the team members. A workflow management tool with an easy-to-understand interface coupled with data accessibility provides greater visibility into the project.

Customization of the tool

Molding and adapting the workflow management software to your workflow gives the best results. A one-size-fits-all solution is never a good idea. There needs to be room for customization of the tool according to your project's needs. An intuitive, code-free workflow tool with flexible features makes for a good fit for any organization.

Integration with cloud services

Several interlinks and dependencies of the workflow make it impossible to isolate it from other processes. Integration with cloud-based services and applications is necessary for a smooth flow of data like email, calendar, documents, and contact details from your workflow to your CMS.

Automating your workflow is not just a useful feature to have but a crucial process in your project. To put it bluntly, choosing the appropriate workflow management tool for your company is not easy. By taking into account the above-mentioned factors, you will be better able to make an informed decision on what fits your workflow and your project. Powerful and easy process management is the goal to be achieved with an efficient workflow.

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Shaurya Poddar
Helping miners and explorers be efficient | Founder @ WorkOnGrid, talks about #growthmindset, #nocodelowcode, #enterprisetech, and #operationsmanagement‍
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