Combine Productivity Skills with Workflow Tools for Best Results
Workflow tools in the absence of context can’t do very much. Fortunately, workflow tools are designed to make processes easier for your team members and, quite often, with a brief training session, workflow automation can lead to tremendous advances in the efficiency of the workflows they use every day.
For your investment in workflow automation software to pay off, make sure your team’s basic productivity skills are up to scratch. Do they have a strong work ethic? Do they want to be more efficient? How do they benefit from workflow automation? How will the new workflow tools help them pursue a higher level of excellence?
Start with Workflow Users
Workflow automation software doesn’t have to be a major IT project anymore. With today’s solutions, you can begin with the very people who use a workflow. Take, for example, the team that puts together technical reports. If you want to design the best possible workflow for getting technical reports out the door, the natural place to begin is with your team: writers, editors, graphic artists, desktop publishing personnel, and print shop employees. In years past, you would have to translate their needs into terms programmers could understand, and results weren’t always that terrific. When users themselves help design workflows, real progress can be made.
Learn What Specific Problems Are with Current Workflows
Where does the process tend to get bogged down? What do team members wish was different? Learn from the people who actually do the work what it would take to make the effort more streamlined and prevent bottlenecks. How much do they believe they could accelerate a process if they had the right workflow tools? It’s important to ascertain the level of security required for a process, how it’s handled now and how it might be handled better. If, for instance, you had a manual, hard-copy-based workflow for reports, ensuring security may mean locking the drafts up at night. What happens if someone forgets? Automated processes, by contrast, can build security right in, so only authorized users can participate.
What Aspects Can Be Addressed By Workflow Automation Software?
Your workflow automation software can’t take market research results and turn them into compelling prose, but it can make editing and approval cycles easier and faster. When paper documents and forms have to be schlepped from one approving authority to the next, you have many opportunities for things to go awry. But when all approval forms are completed and submitted electronically, the chance for errors drops drastically, and the entire approval cycle can take place in a much shorter time period. Likewise, if data used to be manually entered from information on forms, your workflow software can be made to extract the data automatically and put it into a spreadsheet or database for you, saving time and reducing mistakes.
Training to Go Along with Automated Workflows
It’s important to get input from workflow users right from the start. It’s also important to keep them in the loop as workflows go from manual to automated. When all relevant personnel are kept informed as sub-processes and, eventually, the whole process are revamped and automated, nobody is taken by surprise and the learning curve won’t be as steep.
Ideally, by the time you have automated as much of a workflow as you can, your team should understand what is being done and how their tasks will change, and they should be eager to put the new tools to work.
Automation Plus Training Equals Outstanding Productivity
Automation is powerful, but it’s most powerful when it is combined with productivity training and regular communication and collaboration with workflow users. Workflow automation software has advanced rapidly, and today the non-programmer has access to workflow tools that can revolutionize and streamline just about any process.
PerfectForms is workflow automation software that requires no coding and can be adapted to virtually any workflow, from publishing to regulatory compliance to building maintenance requests. With its drag-and-drop interface, PerfectForms allows the people who use and are affected by workflows to design online forms and workflows to their exact specifications. Take a look at some of our case studies to help you visualize the amazing results that can be accomplished when businesses combine the power of workflow automation software with motivated teams committed to excellence.
Tags: workflow tools