Workflow management is a standardised and automated process in which work-related tasks and information are passed along from one individual to the next according to their role within the organisation. It is an essential component of business process reengineering and can be utilised in any industry or sector regardless of size or structure.
Workflow management aims to increase efficiency within organisations by improving communication between working units, shortening production times, increasing transparency into how company resources are being used, decreasing waste of human energy, and more. To summarise: increased productivity.
What Is Workflow Management?
In its simplest form, workflow management is a tool for defining a series of actions that must occur within a time frame for a task to be completed. In other words, it is a way of standardising and automating the process by which work tasks are executed.
Workflow management software can be used to create a digital representation of the workflow process, which can then be monitored and managed electronically. The individual steps in the workflow process can include the transfer of files, the exchange of emails or messages, the submission of forms or data, and more.
The Benefits of Workflow Management
There are many benefits to implementing a workflow management system within an organisation. Some of these benefits are as follows:
One of the key benefits of workflow management is that it enables greater collaboration between different working units within an organisation.
By automating and standardising the process by which work tasks are executed, workflow management makes it easier for different departments to communicate and work together towards a common goal. This can lead to improved efficiency and reduced waste.
Another benefit of workflow management is that it can help improve compliance with government regulations and standards.
By standardising the process by which work tasks are executed, workflow management helps ensure that all employees are following the same set of procedures and protocols. This can help reduce the risk of non-compliance penalties or sanctions.
Workflow management systems also promote transparency within organisations by providing a clear overview of how company resources are used.
By tracking the progress of work tasks through the workflow process, managers can monitor and analyse where resources are being used and how efficiently. This can help companies make better-informed decisions in resource allocation and employee scheduling.
Finally, workflow management systems also provide a means for organisations to minimise unnecessary costs.
By standardising the process by which work tasks are executed, workflow management helps ensure that all employees use company resources (such as equipment or supplies) in the same way and at the exact times. This reduces the waste of materials and energy while simultaneously cutting down on redundant or unnecessary tasks.
Common Examples of Workflow Management
Let’s look at some common examples of workflow management that might apply to your use cases:
Employee Onboarding: How quickly does an employee start performing their role? It all begins with the hiring process. A structured onboarding process ensures that new employees are up to speed quickly, are productive, and have the information they require to succeed.
Support Requests: Every company receives support requests from users or customers. An efficient workflow makes it easy for your customer service team to provide the requested support in a quick and timely fashion. For example, help desk ticketing systems make it easy to manage customer requests with consistent workflows across all tickets.
Project Management: Tracking project status is key to managing scope, budget, resources, and timelines within projects that involve multiple people collaborating toward a common goal. Making sure everyone has access to the latest version of documents at any given time helps ensure transparency throughout the project lifecycle.
Workflow Management Systems
Many software solutions allow you to manage your business processes with workflow automation and integration capabilities. Some popular solutions include:
The ability to map and define workflows.
Every organisation’s business processes are unique based on their industry or the specific needs of their customers or clients. Understanding your process will help determine how workflow automation might fit into your organisation.
A workflow management system should allow you to map and define your business processes to be automated easily.
Customised and automated notifications to stakeholders.
One of the benefits of using a workflow management system is automating notifications to stakeholders. This ensures everyone who needs to know about a specific task or document is kept in the loop without relying on manual communication methods.
Workflow systems can send automated notifications via email, text messages, or other channels.
Integration capabilities with other solutions.
A good workflow management system will have integration capabilities with other organisations’ solutions. This allows you to easily share data between systems and automate that would otherwise require manual intervention.
For example, a workflow engine can help you integrate with your customer support or project management system. It allows you to route requests between the different systems automatically, saving time and increasing efficiency.
The ability to create forms to gather structured workflow data.
There will often be information that needs to be collected as part of a business process. A workflow management system should allow you to create forms to gather this data structured easily. This helps to ensure all the necessary information is collected and can be easily accessed and analysed.
Document management capabilities.
A good workflow management system will also have document management capabilities. This allows you to store all your documents in one place and access them easily when needed. It also makes it easy to track the status of documents and who is working on them.
Workflow systems often include advanced reporting features that provide insights into the performance of your business processes. This can help you to identify areas where improvements can be made.
The ability to grant access permissions to external stakeholders.
Another benefit of using a workflow system is granting access permissions to external stakeholders. This ensures that they only have access to documents and tools they need without having widespread access across your entire organisation.
Workflow management is an efficient method for automating and standardising the work tasks executed within an organisation.
The benefits of using a workflow management system include greater collaboration between different working units, improved compliance with government regulations and standards, greater transparency into how company resources are being used, and reduced costs.
If you are looking for a way to improve the efficiency of your organisation, then workflow management may be the solution for you.