Regardless of the type of organization you're running or even the industry that you're operating in, all businesses are at their best when they are equal parts organized and efficient. This is why your business processes are ultimately one of the most important parts of your operation on a daily basis — they help empower sustainability, encourage growth, and make it easier to unlock new levels of efficiency, all at the exact same time.
But at the same time, far too many companies are still struggling with their digital transformation efforts. Part of this has to do with a lack of understanding of just how critical these workflows are to begin with. That, in essence, is why workflow management is so important. It not only aids in operational efficiency, but it helps create a much-needed level of accountability across departments that will serve you well before, during and after your digital transformation is complete.
The Art of Workflows: Breaking Things Down
To get a better understanding of just how crucial workflow management is, you first need to learn as much about workflows themselves as possible.
At its core, a workflow is a system of tasks that, when taken together, make up some type of business process within your company. They're a series of steps that are all carried out in a particular sequence, with each one depending on the step that came before it.
Workflows are everywhere in the business world. Take your hiring process, for example. In order to apply for a position within your company, an applicant must:
- Fill out a digital form.
- Submit their application.
- That application must then be received.
- It is then forwarded on to a hiring manager for review.
- That application is then either approved or denied depending on the circumstances.
- That candidate is then notified whether they have or have not secured an interview.
You may think that the hiring process is as simple as "someone submits their application and then an interview occurs at a later date," but as you can see it's a fair bit more complicated than that. Each step in the chain is important, and they must all occur in a very precise order for the ultimate action to be taken.
The Power of Workflow Management
Workflow management, by association, becomes the key to maintaining maximum efficiency during processes like the one outlined above. Workflow management makes sure that each step is both A) important and B) is happening at the right time in the necessary sequence of events. It also means that all parties are being notified when an action is taken, all so that they can play their particular role.
In a larger sense, workflow management helps to make sure that there is a clearly defined action at both the end and the beginning of the process. Most importantly, it also makes sure that the workflow itself is easily repeatable — which is particularly essential for tasks that need to be completed with consistent results on a regular basis.
All of this also underlines the importance of implementing a workflow management solution within your enterprise. Not only does it allow you to implement workflow automation to free up the valuable time of your human employees so that they can focus on more important matters, but it also offers features like process reporting that bring a higher level of transparency to your operations than ever before.
The right workflow management solution can literally save hours of your staff's time by implementing rule-based workflows that automate straightforward tasks like sending document changes or renaming files. It can also help optimize those workflows that are normally resource-intensive, like contract management, invoice processing and records management.
But when you consider that it is also a viable way to boost staff productivity and simplify process management across the board by way of reports on every step in every workflow, it's easy to see why this type of tool has become invaluable to so many organizations.
At the end of the day, one must acknowledge that workflows are one of the many crucial elements of any successful, high-functioning business that is operating in the digital era. By leveraging the best practices of workflow management, and with the right workflow management tool at your side, you'll put yourself in a position to do more than just save time and cut costs through automation. You'll also save resources and dramatically increase efficiency across all departments, which may very well be the most important benefit of all.