Scalability: What It Is and How the Right Workflow Tools Help
Scalability is a quality of a workflow that allows for expansion and contraction. A company that anticipates rapid growth needs workflow solutions that will work just as well for a team of 50 as they do for the initial team of five. A company that expands operations quickly for the holiday shopping season and then scales back down after the holiday rush is over, requires scalability upward and downward, with minimal impact on operational costs.
Scalability is what ensures that your company can produce consistently excellent products and services as it grows, with a minimum of growing pains. When your company’s workflows are scalable, you have an enormous advantage over companies that don’t.
Why Is Scalability Important?
Software scalability, as just one example, helps ensure that business demands aren’t limited by software performance if demand goes up. Can your e-commerce storefront software handle a ten-fold increase in the number of customers if a new product takes off?
When you purchase software, hardware, or other equipment for your business, you’re smart to make sure it not only accommodates your needs now but offers enough margin to accommodate greater needs as your business expands. Otherwise, you could find yourself retooling workflows or purchasing new hardware, software, or equipment right as demand picks up, putting your business in a difficult situation.
Challenges of Scalability
Scaling up a workflow isn’t always just a matter of making sure 50 team members have the same set of resources your original, smaller team had. It’s a start, but it isn’t everything. Does your broadband have enough bandwidth to accommodate the needs of a larger workforce? Do you have enough physical space to store the products that your expanded workforce is able to make?
Naturally, scalability is less daunting for the company that produces research or consulting services than for the company that manufactures heavy equipment. But it’s critical that companies that provide services rather than tangible goods plan for growth and scalability as well, to avoid problems that can affect existing customer loyalty or make it harder to attract new customers.
Without Scalability, Even the Best Workflows Are Limited
Maybe you and your crack team of employees have worked together to develop a workflow that allows you to do what you do efficiently and meet customer needs splendidly. But once word gets out of your amazing products and services, can you duplicate that workflow with a new team and get the same results? Maybe not. That’s why it’s important to plan scalability into workflows right from the start. Otherwise, you unnecessarily limit your workflows to being reliable only under current conditions, and that can be a bigger risk than you imagine.
Any company with people-intensive processes where tasks have numerous touch points with different team members should evaluate workflows regularly and ensure that they can be scaled up without major upheaval.
Scalability Is Only One Factor in Your Choice of Workflow Tools
Scalability, of course, is only a single factor in your choice of forms workflow tools. Reliability, customer support, cost, and ease of use are other important factors. When choosing workflow software, two critical attributes most companies (particularly smaller ones) need are operability without the need for programming, and cloud hosting, so that a large capital expenditure for on-site IT hardware isn’t necessary.
Closely related to scalability is flexibility because workflows are rarely static. What works for a tiny startup with a small core of loyal customers may not be exactly right for the medium-sized enterprise it grows into. Therefore workflow automation software must be strong enough to do the job, yet malleable enough to make necessary changes to workflows without disruption.
You can envision a workflow as a desk piled high with papers. Whoever “owns” that process has to get to the bottom of the stack before being paid for a product or service. Therefore, it’s imperative to make that workflow as efficient as possible. PerfectForms is workflow automation software that doesn’t require programming, and in which scalability is included from the start. With the option of using PerfectForms as a cloud-hosted provider of Workflow Management Software tools, your team can get started right away, without having to invest in on-site servers. Better still, you can try PerfectForms for free by signing up for a free trial. See for yourself how workflow tools with built-in scalability serve your company both today and tomorrow.
Tags: workflow tools