Workflows and Change Management: How to Do It Right

Automated workflows

Change management helps businesses cope with disruption that is more than the typical day-to-day variation in activity.

In most businesses, every day is a little bit different from the day before. Nobody expects things to go exactly according to predictions at all times. People and workflows are accommodating to ordinary changes that occur from day to day, but major changes often require a methodical approach from everyone.

Change management is essentially a self-defining term. It is a systematic, methodical approach to dealing with changes that are big enough to transform a company’s goals, technology infrastructure, or processes. These are changes like using a different type of software for a process that large numbers of employees use, or starting on a year-long commitment to reducing the company’s environmental footprint by a set percentage.

Back in the 1980s when administrative professionals switched from using typewriters to word processors, it was a major example of when change management was necessary. The same is true today when personnel switch from using paper-based processes to mobile apps, for example. Doing change management well requires keen understanding of existing workflows, and which steps in those workflows will be most profoundly affected.

Workflows and Change Management

One change that many companies have experienced in the past five to 10 years is that of making the transition from locally-hosted software to cloud-hosted software. Companies do this to save money and time, and to free up their IT staff to take care of bigger or more complex problems than installing updates on local servers.

But even when the new cloud software is easy to learn and use, there will be a period of transition when older workflows need to be modified to accommodate the changes. Sometimes these changes are easy, like when cloud software eliminates the need to make local backups on hard drives every day. Even so, the entirety of a process undergoing change should be examined closely for signs of difficulty, so those difficulties can be addressed right away. Doing this requires intimate understanding of workflows.

Reporting Features Help Identify Lessons Learned

Companies that invest in major changes want to know that those changes were worthwhile and to understand the return on their investment. When workflows change, the reporting features of a company’s workflow software can be used to gather important data to assess how easily the change took place, and how soon the benefits of the change should be realized.

Automated workflows

Automated workflows that gather and report on data offer tremendous assistance for change management.

For example, suppose a company changes a supplier for one of their biggest resources. There are moving parts in the purchasing, finance, and receiving departments that must adapt to that change, and there may be a period of adjustment when efficiency drops as everyone gets used to doing things differently. When workflow software is able to report on things like expenditures, turnaround time, and overtime, it’s easy to see exactly how major changes affect work. This makes it easier to plan the next time a major change is on the horizon.

Looking Back from Point B to Point A

One of the goals of change management is to be able to look back from life after the change and see clearly why it was a good idea. Reporting features of workflow software can help here. But workflow software can help with the change process itself if it offers the flexibility and power that allows changes to workflows, easy testing, and easy modifications as the results of changes become known.

A major change in the workplace may result in some steps of a workflow being removed altogether. Other steps may need to be modified, and work may need to be redistributed. Workflow software that delivers the flexibility necessary to do this quickly helps ensure that changes start producing a positive ROI as soon as possible.

PerfectForms is workflow software that provides impressive power and flexibility along with an intuitive user interface. Since no programming is required to create online forms and automated workflows, changes can be implemented, tested, modified, and deployed quickly. And the outstanding reporting features included with PerfectFlows help organizations quantify the success of change management initiatives easily.

Change comes to every organization, sometimes in increments, and sometimes in bigger ways. If you would like to learn more about how the right workflow software can make a positive difference in change management, we invite you to look over some of the many PerfectForms case studies. See for yourself how the right workflows bring about changes that increase efficiency and deliver positive ROI.

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