Make Workflows Better by Integrating Video Conferencing
Make no mistake: automated workflows can revolutionize business efficiency. But we have all experienced situations where a workflow comes to a halt because specific human input is needed.
Sometimes a workflow can’t proceed until you have human, face-to-face interaction to clear something up.
By analyzing and pinpointing exactly where work tends to come to a halt in a process, teams can preemptively insert process steps that address the situation. One popular way of doing so is by adding videoconferencing to automated workflows. This can prevent the type of workflow stoppage that happens because a key team member is out of town, or because everyone’s waiting on a scheduled meeting to happen.
Videoconferencing is no longer expensive and no longer requires sophisticated equipment, and in many organizations, it is beginning to overtake voice-only communication.
Videoconferencing as a Workflow Element
Videoconferencing doesn’t have to be a mandatory element of a workflow. It can be inserted at key points in a workflow as an option. Sometimes a brief videoconference can bypass the roadblocks and obstacles in a workflow far more efficiently than a series of phone calls or emails can. Ideally, the videoconferencing technologies used as part of workflows is simple to use, and allows people to participate using their mobile devices. This is becoming easier even with consumer-level technology, with one example being Apple’s release of an update that will allow up to 32 people on a FaceTime call.
The “Huddle Room”
Many organizations have had success in designating a small, private meeting area (capable of accommodating around half-a-dozen people) as a “huddle room.” In such a room, small groups can participate in quickly scheduled, brief video conferences for the purpose of moving a workflow along.
Suppose a new client wants to offer input into a piece of content or marketing collateral. A huddle room is an ideal place to schedule a brief videoconference where stakeholders can get direct feedback on a draft copy, sharing screens and talking face to face. All this can take place in far less time than it would take for draft copies to be routed to individuals, evaluated, and sent back with suggestions.
“Huddle rooms” dedicated to brief, small-group videoconferencing, can be designated specifically for meetings that move workflows forward.
Set Goals, Benchmark, and Reevaluate
The keys to succeeding with videoconferencing as a workflow element are the same as they are for workflows in general. Step one is to set goals. What specifically do you want to be able to accomplish using videoconferencing, and in which workflows? Next, it’s important to benchmark current procedures. How much time does a typical workflow take from initiation to completion? How might videoconferencing shorten that time?
Finally, after videoconferencing has been introduced as a workflow element, it’s important to reassess: does it save time? How much time does it save? How much productivity does it add? This measure should be done only after videoconferencing has been used as a workflow element several times, to control for potential tech-related issues that will almost inevitably crop up the first couple of times you try it.
Online forms and automated workflows can tackle an almost limitless number of business processes. Yet business is still a human endeavor, and real-life, human input sometimes can’t be captured on a form. By introducing videoconferencing as an optional workflow element, organizations provide a convenient, efficient way of surmounting workflow obstacles and maintaining the many benefits of workflow automation.
PerfectForms is workflow software that allows creation of customized online forms and workflows without programming. Adding an optional element for temporarily stepping out of the workflow to consult with clients or other stakeholders by videoconference is easy, and helps keep workflows on track. If workflow automation (or better workflow automation) is a goal for your organization, we encourage you to watch the PerfectForms demo video. It only takes a minute, and you’re sure to be inspired for ways your organization can put automated workflows into service and reap the efficiency and cost-saving benefits.