4 Ways Great Workflow Management Improves Team Performance

Friday, September 6th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Inefficiency can cost businesses a significant chunk of their yearly revenues.

Shocked businessman

The amount of money lost to inefficiency can be surprising!

Individual inefficiencies spread across teams and departments add up, yet many companies continue to plow ahead, doing things as they’ve always done. Good workflow management can eliminate many inefficiencies, whether they’re adopted on the individual, team, or departmental level, or are integrated throughout an organization. 

Companies that have considered using workflow software, but that are afraid of the upheaval of implementing it should take note of the many ways that automated workflows can improve team performance. These improvements add up rapidly and can be reflected in quick and impressive workflow software ROI. Here are four ways workflow management improves team performance.

1. By Automating Manual Steps

Paper forms and their management are terribly inefficient. Not only can paper forms be lost or damaged, but they can also present problems like illegible handwriting. And they can easily be buried under other work, causing unnecessary delays in workflows. 

Online forms that are automatically routed to the correct recipient at every step do away with all these problems and can even feed form data directly into spreadsheets or databases. Online forms also do away with endless status phone calls and emails, further saving time.

2. By Creating Automatic Checks and Balances

If someone turns in a purchase order form on paper with a number that doesn’t make sense or is out of range, it may go unnoticed for days. But with workflow software, an online purchase order form can instantly flag an out-of-range number so it can be corrected then and there. 

Other types of checks and balances can be added to improve workflow management further. Errors like text in a numerical form field or forms that are incomplete can trigger pop-up error messages so that mistakes are corrected immediately and don’t affect further workflow steps.

Woman drinking coffee and reading a book

Built-in checks and balances mean errors can be corrected right away.

3. By Consolidating Team and Project Documentation

Workflow management that collects all team or project documentation in a central location can improve team performance significantly. Reference documents, process instructions, customer or client information, and more can be stored centrally so that all workflow users can access it at any time. 

Rather than trying to find a local computer file or a paper document, workflow users can access documents through the workflow itself, saving time and minimizing errors. As a result, team performance improves.

4. By Enabling Data-Driven Decision Making

Online forms and workflows make data collection easy. Data from forms and workflows can be automatically entered into databases, spreadsheets, or other office systems like Salesforce CRM. 

If the workflow software includes reporting capabilities, collected data can be used to spot trends, monitor performance, and generally help teams make more informed decisions. Data-driven decision making is becoming more important in businesses of every kind, and the right workflow software makes it easy to do.

PerfectForms is workflow software that makes workflow management easy. No programming is required, so workflow users themselves can design workflows that accomplish exactly what they want without help from IT. PerfectForms makes the creation of customized online forms simple, and these forms can be connected into powerful workflows that make the most of team resources. Teams can do away with manual processes, input checks and balances that prevent errors, and automatically collect data to drive better decisions down the line.

We encourage you to browse through the many PerfectForms case studies to see how businesses and organizations have dramatically improved their performance. And if you have any questions, we invite you to contact us at any time

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Online Forms and Workflows Help Small Businesses Manage Innovation

Thursday, August 29th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Innovation has gone from being a “nice extra” for businesses to being essential for success. 

Innovation light bulbs

Innovation is for every company, not just tech companies and startups.

Competition is fierce, and businesses increasingly set themselves apart through innovation of products, processes, and business models. Rather than pursuing one big idea that will change everything, however, businesses must incorporate innovation into their everyday operations and their corporate culture.

Moreover, businesses must have a process for gathering, evaluating, prioritizing and developing ideas, so that the real winners make it through to prototyping, pilot testing, and ideally to general use. Online forms and automated workflows can make such a process reality.

Forms and Workflows for Gathering Ideas

Does anyone still think that a locked suggestion box with a slot on the top is a good way of inspiring great ideas? To really pursue innovation, companies need a way to collect ideas as a general practice, and in the service of defined innovation initiatives. Online forms are ideal for this. 

Suppose you want to kick off an innovation initiative to develop a new product to add to your product line. The starting point, or the “wide part of the funnel” in this initiative can be an online form where people can describe their product ideas. Completed online forms can be automatically sent to designated decision-makers whose role is to determine which ideas are worth pursuing.

Workflows Can Help Evaluate and Prioritize Ideas

If your innovation initiative has sparked several good ideas, the next step is to evaluate them more thoroughly. Generally, it’s best to have a small team go through ideas individually, flagging their favorites, and putting them into priority order. With an automated workflow that each team member can access, this can be done efficiently.

Busy brick office

Automated workflows make the process of evaluating and prioritizing
innovative ideas fast and efficient.

After each team member has evaluated and ranked ideas, the team can meet to discuss their choices and come to a consensus about which two or three ideas are best for further development. With an automated workflow, this doesn’t have to involve pen and paper or endless phone calls and emails.

Surveys, Workflows Help Select Innovations to Pursue

Perhaps, once your evaluation team has chosen a “Top 3” list of innovations to pursue, you want to put it to a vote among all employees. If your online form software allows for creation of surveys, this can be done with outstanding efficiency and effectiveness. The completed survey forms can send data to a spreadsheet or database so that votes are easy to tabulate without any manual data entry. Choosing the winning idea is fast and fair.

The right workflow software is the key to being able to implement an innovation program that works. Not only can you create a general innovation workflow to replace the old-fashioned suggestion boxes, you can create specialized workflows to go along with more targeted innovation initiatives.

PerfectForms is workflow software that makes it easy to create online forms, surveys, and automated workflows that eliminate a lot of the drudgery involved in sifting through a mountain of ideas. Workflows for evaluation can be limited to authorized users, while innovation suggestion forms and surveys can be open to all participants. Gathering data and making sense of it is easy with PerfectForms, due to its powerful reporting capabilities. 

You can test drive PerfectForms by signing up for a trial and see for yourself how easy it is to create fully customized online forms and automated workflows. Innovation is fast becoming mandatory for business success and having the right tools to manage innovation is essential. PerfectForms has the power, flexibility, and scalability you need. If you have any questions about PerfectForms, we encourage you to contact us at any time. 

Workflows Help You Manage 3 Critical Elements of Business Reputation

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

The reputation of your business is an extremely valuable business asset.

Mechanic with customer

Online reviews and ratings have made business reputation
more important than ever. 

While it isn’t tangible, or something you could liquidate to raise cash, nonetheless, reputation is essential to sustained success today. In fact, reputation is a key differentiator in a world where consumers have more choices than ever. Reputation also affects the quality of employees you’re able to recruit and retain.

Developing a strong business reputation and maintaining it requires sustained effort. Some aspects of reputation management for businesses can’t be automated, but you might be surprised at how many aspects can be. For this you’ll need the right attitude, commitment, and tools. Here are three critical elements of business reputation that you can manage better with the right workflow management.

1. Customer Service

People want a consistent, positive experience when they interact with your customer service team. Developing customer service workflows for your customer service team can help tremendously. When your team knows exactly what to do in every type of customer service interaction, you can be confident of consistent, effective help for customers.

Automated workflows for customer service tasks can help keep interactions on track and productive. A customer service rep who knows exactly which workflow (or branch of a workflow) to access in a given interaction is able to help people more quickly, diffusing any hard feelings and solving problems. This requires not only that you have comprehensive automated workflows, but that you take time to train reps on how to use them. 

2. Accuracy of Online Business Listings

You might be surprised to learn how important the accuracy of your online business listings are. Many businesses take full advantage of Google business listings because they help people discover their business and learn key facts like operating hours, phone numbers, and even parking situations – all at a glance. A complete, accurate, up-to-date business listing helps your website perform better when people use search engines.

Google my business icon

Keeping business listings accurate at all times helps your
website appear in more search results.

But inaccurate business listings can harm your search engine success. That’s because Google regularly checks that the information on your business listings and your website match perfectly. When they don’t, they may penalize your business in searches. An automated workflow that kicks off the same day of every month, for example, can step the user through the process of comparing business listings and website listings to ensure they are as accurate, complete, and up to date as possible. 

3. Distribution and Analysis of Customer Surveys

One classic method of improving customer service is through customer surveys. Asking customers for feedback, analyzing that feedback to produce insights, and then addressing those insights helps you meet customer needs better. Automated workflows, complete with beautifully designed, mobile friendly survey forms reach consumers where they’re at and help you gather, analyze, and act on the data you collect. 

The right workflow software will help you not only create the survey forms that encourage customer interaction, but also helps you collect, analyze, and report on the survey data. As a result, you can respond to customer sentiment much faster than you ever could through surveys managed without automated workflows. 

Great workflow management requires great workflow software, whether you’re striving to improve customer service or automating various back office processes. PerfectForms offers you the level of flexibility, scalability, and power you need to automate business processes that improve your business reputation. You can create customer service workflows, monitor and manage online business listings and website information, and create surveys that help you understand your customers better. 

We encourage you to watch the PerfectForms demo video so you can see PerfectForms in action and discover just how easy it is to use – whether for customer service processes or other business processes. And should you have any questions, we invite you to contact us at any time

Workflow Software Helps You Accelerate Recruiting and Hiring

Thursday, August 15th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Automated workflows and new employee recruiting go together naturally. 

Career fair

Whether you use job fairs or headhunters, the right workflows
accelerate the hiring process.

The hiring process has a lot of moving parts, but strong workflow management can make sure all the parts work as they should while reducing errors and making the process as efficient as it can be. Other benefits of using automated workflows in the hiring process include reduction of paperwork, reduction of status phone calls and emails, time savings, and transparency. 

Here are several types of recruiting workflows that can make the hiring process far less painful.

Workflows for Candidate Sourcing

Candidate sourcing begins with creation of an accurate job description. Different companies source job candidates differently, and different types of roles within the same company may be sourced in different ways. 

However a company decides to source candidates for a particular position, the right workflow software makes it easy to create a standardized workflow to ensure that ads are placed in all relevant publications, or that all relevant recruiting agencies and websites know about your open position. Such a workflow can be great for reducing duplication of effort.

Workflows for Shortlisting Candidates

How the hiring team creates a shortlist of candidates will also be particular to the company and to the role. Creating a standardized, automated workflow that allows hiring team members to score candidates helps ensure every team member’s voice is heard, and that no candidate is overlooked. When a workflow is used for scoring and shortlisting candidates, it’s easier to ensure that personal bias doesn’t creep into the hiring process.

Workflows for Coordinating Interviews

Coordinating interviews for candidates on your shortlist is a task that is well-suited for automated workflows. Whether the interviews will be in person or via video conference, having a workflow for scheduling interviews, knowing which questions to ask, scoring interviews, and moving on to the next candidate are helpful. 

Job interview

Coordinating job interviews helps ensure the right people are
there to meet and talk to job candidates.

With the right workflow, any hiring team member at any time can check on whether a candidate interview has been scheduled, can prepare for interviews, and can share feedback on interviews. It’s a great way to ensure that all hiring team members stay on the same page at all times.

Workflows for Making and Closing Offers

Likewise, a workflow for creating job offer letters, calculating compensation offered, and tracking the status of offers made can save valuable time and duplication of effort. If an offer is turned down, this can be recorded in the workflow for later reference. Once an offer has been made and accepted, the workflow can prompt further actions, such as scheduling the new hire’s first day of work.

Workflows for New Employee Onboarding

New employee onboarding is an essential part of the hiring process. How onboarding is handled has a major effect on how likely the new employee is to stay with the company. Automated workflows ensure that no steps are left out, and they can even lighten the new employee’s burden by making online forms easy to fill out with autocomplete, and auto-population of form fields.

Whether or not you create automated workflows for recruiting and hiring, you should create a workflow for onboarding because of the many benefits such a workflow offers to your new employee and your HR team.

Creating customized recruiting and hiring workflows requires great workflow software. PerfectForms fits the bill. With PerfectForms, no coding is required, and you can create your own forms and workflows from scratch or use the included templates. PerfectForms also integrates easily with spreadsheets and databases, so data can be collected and stored easily. And it offers powerful reporting features so you can make sense of your data and gather valuable insights. 

We invite you to watch the PerfectForms demo video to see it in action. And if you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us at any time. 

Workflow Automation is the Answer to These 4 Questions

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Many people believe that workflow automation is something that’s only available to big enterprises. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Women interior designers

Workflow automation may disproportionately benefit smaller businesses.

Also true is that smaller businesses can benefit disproportionately from workflow automation. They can do things more efficiently and reduce error rates while maintaining the agility possessed by smaller enterprises. 

Today’s no-code workflow software is accessible to businesses of all sizes and all types. It allows companies to automate processes without hiring a programmer, and quickly start enjoying the benefits of workflow automation. Workflow automation is the answer to several common business questions, including these four.

1. How Can We Reduce Error Rates?

If a number needs to end up in a spreadsheet or a database, how does it get there? Does someone copy it from a catalog, or have a worker who knows the number write it down? If so, it’s easy to see how errors can enter the process. 

Workflow automation uses workflow software to prevent these problems. Numbers entered into a workflow can be checked for accuracy before being sent to a spreadsheet, database, or other processing system. The same is true for numbers scanned using a barcode or QR scanner. 

Standard business forms that are online rather than on paper do away with errors introduced due to bad penmanship, lost, or damaged forms. Workflow automation is perhaps the best single solution for reducing error rates.

2. How Can We Overcome the Limitations of Spreadsheets?

Spreadsheets are wonderful, flexible tools. But when they are shared, how do you account for changes to them? It’s not easy to ensure that everyone is working from the same version of a spreadsheet at all times, but workflow automation can help. 

Man appearing confused while looking at his laptop screen

Shared spreadsheets can cause problems if not managed properly.

Rather than entering data into a spreadsheet, users can enter the data into an automated workflow, which updates the spreadsheet while recording every input. That way it’s easy to learn if numbers have been changed, and if so, by whom. Workflow automation makes spreadsheets far more useful and accurate.

3. How Can We Get Invoices Out the Door Sooner?

Invoices that are late being sent out affect cash flow, so it’s crucial that companies send them out promptly. An automated workflow for creation and distribution of invoices can ensure that invoices go out on time, every time. 

Multiple users can enter invoice data into a workflow, and the workflow uses the data to automatically create and distribute invoices. Invoices that cannot be sent out electronically can be sent to a printer automatically, and the person(s) responsible for mailing them can be notified automatically when they are ready to go. The result is a faster invoicing process, better accounts receivable processes, and better cash flow.

4. How Can We Get Status Updates to Managers More Easily?

Project managers naturally want to know the status of the projects they oversee. But phoning or emailing project workers to find out status can waste a lot of time. Project management workflows eliminate that wasted time. 

With a project management workflow, project workers can work within the workflow, and provisions can be made to automatically update project managers when milestones have been reached, or when other specific tasks have been accomplished. Automated workflows also allow authorized workflow users to check on project status at any time, with no phone calls or emails necessary.

Workflow automation isn’t just for big business. And today’s no-code workflow software means that workflow users can design their own workflows to meet their needs exactly. PerfectForms is workflow software that requires no programming. It allows users to drag and drop form and workflow elements into place, and easily test and modify workflows before they’re deployed.

PerfectForms encourages you to browse our many case studies to see the results of workflow automation in action. And if you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us at any time.

Is Your Automated Workflow Ready for Prime Time? Here’s How to Tell.

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Workflows are standardized series of steps designed to accomplish a specified process or task. 

Hands drawing a flowchart

Automated workflows may have their roots in sketches or diagrams made by process users.

All steps in a workflow may run consecutively, or some series of steps may run in parallel for more complex processes. Automated workflows take as much of the manual processing out of tasks as possible. For example, a series of paper forms may be replaced by a linked series of online forms. 

Automation can significantly boost the efficiency of a process while reducing error rates, so businesses often turn to automated workflows to sharpen their competitive edge and increase productivity. But rare is the situation where you can just create an automated workflow and immediately have everyone start using it. 

In almost every situation, you have to thoroughly test automated workflows before “going live” with them. Otherwise, you risk the chaos of unforeseen problems and the time investment in fixing the problems and fixing the workflow. Here’s how to ensure your automated workflow is ready to be deployed.

Testing by the Workflow Creator or Workflow Team

With the right workflow software, programming is not required. This means that the people who actually use the workflow can have more input into workflow design. A single individual may be able to create a simple workflow. More complex ones, however, typically require a small team to develop and automate the workflow.

The workflow creator or team should test the automated workflow under a range of conditions – including erroneous conditions – to see what happens. What happens when someone enters text into a form field that requires a number? What happens if someone accidentally enters a negative number when a positive number is required? In a sense, the workflow team should try to stress, and even “break” the workflow under controlled conditions to see what happens and how they can prevent such issues.

Testing by Selected End-Users

Happy editor with team members

Having selected end-users try out the workflow before general deployment
is a good idea, so necessary changes can be made without major disruption.

Once a workflow has been thoroughly tested by the workflow creator or workflow team, it’s still a good idea to limit its use at first. Suppose you create a document management workflow. After initial testing, perhaps you should limit its use to two or three of your top report writers who have been educated about the workflow and trained to use it. 

These people are using the workflow “cold,” and they may be able to see faults that the initial development team missed. They can report back to the development team when they find problems, and work with them to get them solved.

Consider a Small Pilot Program

Before deploying an automated workflow to an entire team or department, it may be worthwhile to designate a pilot project using the workflow to ensure it does what it’s supposed to and that it really does have the potential to boost efficiency and productivity while reducing error rates. 

The team working with a particular client, for example, could brief the client on the new workflow and get their consent to be part of the pilot project. Provisions can be made to go back to the old way of doing things if major problems occur. If this pilot project works as expected, then the workflow can be deployed to the rest of the department or team, with all affected personnel being trained on how to use the workflow.

The key to easy workflow development and testing is outstanding workflow software. PerfectForms is no-code workflow software that allows users to drag and drop workflow elements into place. If the workflow testing process reveals that changes need to be made, PerfectForms allows for easy modifications until the workflow is ready for wider deployment. 

Businesses like yours use PerfectForms for an impressive array of workflow automation tasks. We encourage you to browse through some of our many PerfectForms case studies to see how businesses have automated processes, raised productivity, and increased efficiency in major ways. And if you have any questions, we invite you to contact us at any time. 

Posted in Workflow, Workflow Design | Comments Off on Is Your Automated Workflow Ready for Prime Time? Here’s How to Tell.

4 Reasons to Manage Financial Processes with Workflow Software

Thursday, August 1st, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Financial processes are a fact of life for every business, and the more efficient and accurate they are, the more you and your team can focus on core business functions apart from finances. 

Calculator hands

Financial processes are mandatory, but they don’t
have to take up unreasonable amounts of time.

Particularly as a small business grows, helping financial processes grow as well can be fraught with challenges. What worked fine for a three-person business may be completely inadequate in a 10-person business. 

Workflow software can help you get a handle on key financial processes, automating as much of it as possible and preventing human error from creeping in. If you’re not managing financial processes with workflow software, here are four reasons why you should be.

1. Current Financial Processes May Be Inefficient and / or Opaque

A financial process that resided in the brains of the two founders of a company isn’t up to the needs of the financial processes of a larger company. Opaque processes are daunting for people who don’t know the processes’ inner workings, and that can lead to big errors. Moreover, when financial processes don’t offer transparency, it’s harder for others to take them over when the main process users are on vacation or out sick. Workflow software is the key to creating streamlined, transparent financial processes that make sense to everyone who uses them.

2. Keeping Up with Regulatory Changes Presents a Challenge

Heavily regulated industries like healthcare, food & beverages, and others have no choice but to keep up with a constantly changing regulatory landscape. Good workflow management means building regulatory checks and balances into processes, examining them regularly, and updating them when necessary. The right workflow software allows workflow managers to make changes easily, adding or removing regulatory steps, and updating workflow instructions so everyone is aware of new or different regulations that must be followed.

3. Spreadsheets Tend to Lack Oversight and Have Other Potential Problems

Coffee man looking at spreadsheet

Spreadsheets are great tools, but they have shortcomings when relied upon for financial processes.

Spreadsheets are amazing tools for organizing information, but they have many shortcomings as financial process tools. A shared worksheet may be modified by one person without others knowing, and the results can be catastrophic. 

Many small businesses don’t have the time or resources to thoroughly teach unskilled users how to use spreadsheets responsibly. Furthermore, keeping everyone apprised of spreadsheet changes can be overwhelming. Workflows are the answer. And when workflow software interfaces with spreadsheets, companies can enjoy the value spreadsheets offer while minimizing their risks.

4. IT Departments Are Too Busy with Their Own Responsibilities

Maybe you would like to create an automated financial process, but your IT team is always full up with their own work. And hiring a programmer is expensive. The good news is that you don’t have to rely on programmers to create automated workflows as long as you have outstanding workflow software. No-code workflow software means you can create, test, modify, and deploy automated workflows without writing a single line of code. And when financial workflows are created by finance personnel rather than programmers, they’re more likely to meet needs better.

Excellent workflow software addresses all major concerns about creating financial processes that are fast, efficient, and accurate. PerfectForms is workflow software that comes with a range of customizable templates for financial processes and also makes it easy to create custom ones from scratch. And since PerfectForms is no-code software, there’s no programming whatsoever. Furthermore, PerfectForms interfaces with spreadsheets, databases, web forms and more, so it’s easy to make it an integral part of operations. 

You can try PerfectForms for free by signing up for a trial, and we encourage you to do so. And if you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us at any time.

How Online Form Software Can Make Feedback Collection Better

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Businesses, nonprofits, government, and other organizations rely on feedback from people both inside and outside the organization so they can perform better.

Customer survey on tablet

Feedback lets you know what you’re doing right and where you can improve.

High-quality feedback can lead to correction of problems and development of better processes and products. Before the internet and online forms and workflows, collecting feedback was an onerous process, involving paper forms or phone calls and manual recording of data. It was clumsy and prone to mistakes.

Form software greatly streamlines and improves the process of collecting feedback, whether from people inside the organization, or from outsiders. Well-designed forms that ask the right questions in surveys of the right length are the quickest path to actionable insights. Here are some examples.

Better Employee Performance Appraisals

For employee performance appraisals to deliver value to everyone involved, they must be simple to use, with language that makes sense for various employee roles. With the right form software, it’s easy to create a basic employee performance appraisal form and then modify it to create customized forms for different employee roles. 

Many performance appraisals use five-point scales to rate performance of various job competencies. With online forms, these can be automatically taken from submitted forms and used to calculate overall scores or feed data into other systems like spreadsheets or databases. 

Answers to open-ended questions on employee appraisal forms can be routed differently if necessary. For example, these answers could be sent along from the managers conducting the appraisals to department heads so they can learn more about how their team members are performing.

College Course Feedback

Student course evaluations can be extremely helpful to instructors and professors, but low submission rates are a fact of life at most schools. Improving submission rates is often as simple as making course feedback forms mobile-friendly. Students simply won’t bother with feedback forms that are too long or that they have to complete by hand.

Confused phone girl

Students often won’t bother giving feedback if they can’t do
it easily from their phones. 

Only ask the most important questions and minimize open-ended questions (though you may want to include one optional one at the end for students who want to give more specific feedback). When you design course feedback forms so students can complete them on their phones with a just a few minutes of tapping on their answer choices, you’ll get better response rates and more representative data.

Customer Satisfaction with Products and Services

Surveys are a tried and true method for obtaining customer feedback that leads to actionable insights. Like student course evaluations, you should keep customer satisfaction surveys short and sweet, because the average consumer is busy. 

Make sure questions are relevant to what you want to know. For example, if you want to learn more about customer demographics, ask for things like age, sex, and home zip code. If you want to know how people like your latest product offering, make your questions about that. Mobile-friendly is a good rule to use with customer surveys, because you’ll get better response rates than you would with surveys that have to be filled out in a desktop setting.

The key to using surveys, appraisals, and other data gathering instruments successfully is having outstanding online form software. Not only should it allow you to create custom forms to suit your needs exactly, it should interface with other business systems you may use, like spreadsheets and databases. And if your form software allows easy creation of detailed reports, you can make maximum use of the feedback you gather. 

PerfectForms satisfies all these needs and more. With it’s easy, drag-and-drop interface, you can create beautiful, functional surveys and feedback forms to suit the intended audience and collect data automatically. And PerfectForms has outstanding reporting capabilities, so you can put your data and insights to use improving your organization. We encourage you to watch the PerfectForms demo video. And if you have any questions, please get in touch with us at any time. 

Avoid These 7 Workflow Management Mistakes

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Good workflow management is one of the keys to successful business operation.

Busy employees in open office plan

Good workflow management helps people focus on core business practices.

Most businesses understand the theoretical importance of workflow management, but they may make mistakes when it’s time to put workflow management into practice. Most of these mistakes have to do with lack of planning, and all can be overcome. Here are seven workflow management mistakes to avoid if you want your business to operate at its most efficient.

1. Insufficient Planning

The best workflow software for most businesses is “no code” software that requires no programming. But just because no programming is required, it doesn’t mean you can dispense with planning. Workflows must be assessed and understood in their context, so that they can be optimized. Lack of planning can lead to workflows with bottlenecks, or workflows that don’t quite get the job done.

2. Not Breaking Down Overly Complex Workflows

You can’t always break down a complex process into a set of end-to-end steps. For example, the process of “payroll” usually includes a number of tasks happening simultaneously, and trying to string them all together end-to-end probably won’t work well. Sometimes very complex workflows need to be divided up into multiple workflows that can happen at the same time.

3. Not Enough Communication

It’s easy for a workflow user to assume that since they completed their part in the overall workflow, that everything else worked fine too. They may then be surprised to find out they must redo their part because of some unforeseen problem such as a power outage. Communication about major issues surrounding a workflow, such as certain personnel being on vacation, or a hardware update that will take the system offline, should be communicated to all workflow users.

4. Too Many Status Updates

On the other hand, there’s such a thing as “notification fatigue.” It’s great when workflows can issue alerts, so people know that their input is needed, but not everyone needs to be notified about every workflow step completed. When people receive too many updates, they start ignoring updates and make themselves prone to missing an important one. Workflow management means keeping the right people apprised of the right conditions at the right time.

Annoyed laptop man

Not everyone needs to know that Jennifer in Payroll finished uploading the timekeeping data.

5. Not Aligning Workflows with Business Goals

Creating a workflow for the sake of creating a workflow won’t do much to help you reach business goals. That’s why, before you ever fire up the workflow software, you examine business goals and the best ways to reach them. Maybe the goal is to cut the amount of overtime needed by 10%. How is the best way to do that? Perhaps one way is to create an automated packing and shipping workflow that will get products out the door faster.

6. Forgetting That People Are Still Necessary

Workflows may be automated, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t necessary. A new automated workflow for business expense reimbursement maybe sleek and fast, but if people don’t know it exists, or don’t know how to initiate the process, it’s of little use. One helpful practice is periodically assessing automated workflows to make sure they meet current business needs. Business needs change, as do the technologies businesses use. Workflows should also be able to adapt.

7. Not Training Personnel on Automated Workflows

The whole idea of automated workflows is that they’re straightforward and easy to use. But people still need training. Setting aside time to train workflow users may “cost” you a little time up front, but after training, people will be ready to use workflows with skill, and understand what is happening at every step. Good workflow management requires good workflow training.

The best way to ensure you avoid workflow management mistakes is to have outstanding workflow software, so it's easy to create and test workflows thoroughly before deployment. PerfectForms fits the bill. 

PerfectForms is no-code workflow software that is flexible, powerful, and scalable. You can easily create custom workflows and test them thoroughly before deploying, to ensure they do exactly what you want. And PerfectForms integrates with spreadsheets, web forms, databases, and other office systems like Salesforce. Watch the demo video and see for yourself! And if you have any questions, please contact us at any time

Maximize Workflow ROI by Focusing on What Matters Most

Monday, July 29th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Three fundamental elements of business success are getting the high-level strategy right, getting the operating model right, and getting the right people on board.

Brainstorming collaboration group

With the right people, you can execute your strategy
and fulfill organizational goals with maximum efficiency.

When these fundamentals are in place, you’re in a much better position to take steps to maximize efficiency and extract the greatest ROI from your technology investments. 

For example, the right workflow software is immensely empowering, allowing companies to streamline and automate processes that used to be clunky and inefficient. But it's also important to prioritize workflow automation for the best, fastest ROI. Here’s how to make sure you’re getting the most return on your workflow software investment.

Articulate and Communicate Goals

Knowing your goals, being able to explain them, and being able to communicate them are essential to getting the most from your workflows. If you don’t know what your goals are, how can you separate the important tasks from the less-important ones? And how can your team members know where to focus their own innovation efforts if they don’t understand the goals the organization is working toward? 

Maybe one of your goals is raising productivity by 10%. If you communicate this goal and why it’s a goal, you may pique the interest of someone on the team who has an idea for significantly accelerating a workflow and making progress toward that productivity goal. 

Learn to Prioritize

With the right workflow software, people will want to create automated workflows, because they see the power of workflow automation and want to apply it everywhere they can. But it’s important that everyone on the team understands priorities. 

Suppose one of your organization’s top priorities is increasing the efficiency of the document management workflow to cut costs and free up manpower for other tasks. If you don’t emphasize the importance of this priority, a team member might be spending some of their discretionary time developing a workflow to make sure the coffee-making rota is fair. While there’s nothing wrong with such a workflow, perhaps they should be using their ambition and talent on something with a higher priority.

Office foosball game

Developing a workflow for the office Foosball tournament brackets
probably isn’t as important as developing the workflow for next year’s budget. 

Regularly Reevaluate How You Use Technology

Workflow ROI today might not be the same as it is next year. Technology is such an important variable in business processes that workflows often need to be modernized to take maximum advantage of technological advancements. 

Say one year your warehouse workers use portable barcode scanners to initiate certain workflows. A year later, all warehouse workers are issued company smartphones. They may no longer need those portable barcode scanners, because their smartphone can scan the barcodes and kick off the workflow all at the same time. Using the older workflow would hold back your efficiency. 

Workflow automation isn’t something that happens once for all time. Automated workflows must evolve along with changing needs, changing marketplaces, and changing technologies. The right workflow software is the key to being able to do this with minimal upheaval.

PerfectForms is workflow software that provides the flexibility, power, and scalability businesses need to create workflows that are right for right now. And when circumstances change, PerfectForms allows workflows to be updated, tested, and re-deployed quickly. 

Because PerfectForms is no-code workflow software, the people who actually use the workflows can have significant input into workflow design. After all, they know the workflows inside and out, and they can offer good insights into where bottlenecks occur and how workflows can be modified to work better. 

Getting the maximum ROI from your workflows requires knowing and communicating organizational goals, prioritizing goals and tasks, and being prepared to take advantage of technology advances. PerfectForms is the ideal partner for doing all this. We invite you to watch the demo video to see PerfectForms in action. And if you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us at any time.