Workflow Tools: Why “Fixing” What Isn’t Broken Can Be Smart
The corollary to the positive saying, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” is “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” It seems to defy innovation, even though “the way we’ve always done it” is perfectly fine if you’re talking about something like intricate, lifesaving heart surgery.
There are, however, countless workflows that have functioned for ages, so they wouldn’t be considered “broken.” They could well be outdated, however, and your competitors might use workflow tools to streamline processes, run leaner, and make fewer mistakes.
Sometimes “fixing” something that isn’t broken is the smart thing to do, particularly for clunky manual business processes. And there’s no better time than the present, when data creation is accelerating at a remarkable pace. There are very few places where paper documents without at least digital backups are sufficient for successfully doing business. Is it time to take a second look at your workflows?
Your Processes Get Things Done, But Is That Enough?
An IDC and McKinsey Global Institute analysis found that in an average workweek, the typical worker only spends around 39% of his or her time taking care of role-specific tasks – the ones you hired them for. They spend considerable time searching for and gathering information and communicating within the organization.
Sure, your workflows do things, but do they do them efficiently? What may have been state of the art a few years ago can be woefully outdated today. Workflow tools and workflow management software can be the key to improving workflows appreciably, and it doesn’t require investment in new IT infrastructure.
“Fixing” May Simply Mean “Automating”
Suppose your organization’s accounts payable process involves scanning, emailing, printing, manually filling out forms, re-scanning, saving digital copies for record keeping, cutting a check, and finally entering the transaction into the finance system. It works, but chances are good that many could be eliminated altogether.
Using electronic survey forms is a huge step toward automating workflows, and when documents are transmitted and acted upon digitally, the problems of lost or damaged documents hamstringing workflows go away. What you need is workflow designer software that gives you the power and flexibility to create custom workflows that work for you, rather than requiring you to adapt to them.
Why It’s Time to Automate Workflows
Paper documents are slow to process, and expenses are associated with them (like ink, paper, and storage space) that don’t apply to electronic documents. Electronic forms linked into logical electronic workflows makes it so manual intervention is drastically reduced or eliminated throughout a process. They also grant better visibility into processes and allow perks like automated alerts that are great for keeping processes flowing at a good clip.
Another important argument for using workflow tools to automate processes is that doing so makes it easier to meet security requirements and government and industry regulation requirements. Automated workflows can create an audit trail along the way, so if a process ever must be reviewed, doing so is fast and simple.
How Will You Meet Today’s Fast Business Pace?
Today’s pace of business waits for no one, and your customers won’t wait around while you use outdated work processes that slow down the products and services they depend on. But your customers aren’t the only ones who benefit from your business having streamlined, automated forms and workflows. Your employees will have more time to devote to the tasks they were hired for, and everyone will spend less time chasing down and correcting errors. If you are in an industry where your processes are subject to audit, a workflow designer can be your best friend, making audits much less daunting.
PerfectForms’ workflow software is made for non-technical users, so the people who use processes day in and day out can be the ones who design improved, automated workflows that make sense. Once you automate a single process, you will soon envision countless other processes that could benefit from automation with powerful, flexible tools like PerfectForms. Have a look at some of our case studies and see how workflow automation can quickly make a difference in just about any organization. The return on investment can be swift and impressive.
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