What is Workflow Management? What is the Most Cost-Effective, Fastest Way to Automate Processes?

What is Workflow Management? What is the Most Cost-Effective, Fastest Way to Automate Processes?

Workflow management is the coordination of work to complete larger processes. But what’s the best way to get cost-effective workflow management and automation?

Workflows are a sequence of processes that map out the journey of a piece of work created, developed upon and completed

What is Workflow Management?

In simple terms, workflow management is coordinating the steps that make up a process. This process makes up the steps through which work gets done by a person, team, or business. A ‘workflow’ is a series of small steps and specific tasks that together comprise a larger process. That’s why a “workflow” is also referred to as a “business process”.

Workflow management is about the way we delegate, carry out and analyize processes. While workflow management does not always refer to software, this is often the case. The majority of businesses use computer software to easily structure work. This allows for optimized collaboration across a team.

Workflow software streamlines business processes. Good software achieves this through tracking, efficient data sharing capabilities, and task automation. The level of sophistication of these functions is crucial. But workflow management software is most effective when it is simple to use.

Workflow Automation improves productivity and reduces labour costs without high upfront costs Without Workflow Automation, processes can quickly become overwhelming. Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Simplified Workflow Management: 100x More Time and Cost Effective Than Traditional Workflow Management

Since the 1970’s, workflow management software has depended on skilled IT staff. It requires to set up, configure, and program to meet the needs of a business. Recently, simpler forms of workflow management have enabled teams to automate workflow processes. It’s possible to automate proceses faster than ever before. What’s better, it gets done with zero coding – making it accessable across all teams.

The reason for this is very simple. It’s the same for workflows as it is for website content management. Website content management has moved away from the technical skills like coding. There has been a rise in platforms like WordPress or Wix that keep things simple fo the user.

Workflow management software has become radically simplified. Allit takes is to outline process steps as you would in a Word document. The right software can turn those steps into an automated workflow in an instant.

Workflows: Beyond Boxes and Lines

Workflow management has become easier to set up and get working. These days it can be set up without long timelines. We can avoid the expenses of a traditional IT department solution development process. Workflows are now capable of automation, delegation, and coordination. This used to be exclusive to the traditional ‘box and line’ diagram-styled software of the past.

Box and line diagrams provide visualization. This visualisation is a map that both business users and technical people understand. But the skills required to actually automate the process remain technical. As such a co-dependency still exists. There business users who understand the process, and those skilled enough to automate.

The result is that IT and business teams must collaborate to discuss every step of the process. From requirements to reviews, validation of diagrams, it all has to wait on IT. The IT team needs to implement and test the solution before it can go into use. The cost and timeline for such collaboration can be up to 100x longer than it took to conceieve of the process.

We’ve innovated workflow management over the last 10 years. As such, we have also reduced the dependency on technical staff. Workflows now automate in the time it takes teams to write up the original Word document.

It’s now possible for business teams can now automate and manage workflows themselves. We can see this progression towards simplicity already. There are many simplified workflow softwares available today. This ranges from Kanban boards, collaborative checklists, and automated procedural checklists.

Workflow Automation improves productivity and reduces labour costs without high upfront costs?

What are the benefits of Workflow Management?

From HR to CRMs, workflow management simplifies every aspect of a business processes. This delivers a host of benefits:

Increased Productivity

The workflow management software boosts productivity for managers and team members alike. With proper implementation, teams waste less time delegating, tracking and handling regular tasks. Automating and streamlining tasks lets teams spend time in more important areas. Productivity, as a result, is naturally boosted.

It’s the same way we can reduce time-consuming and labour-intensive tasks. Through automation, the coordination of tasks amongst a team is more fluid. When a tasks steps are clear for a team, there is less room for miscommunication.

An Improved Quality of Goods, Services, Brand and Customer Experiences

At the core of any growing business, you will find repeatable processes. Repeatable processes enable a business to operate with greater efficiency. They produce consistent, high-quality results free of errors or delays. Such delays would be costly to fix and create customer dissatisfaction.

To produce consistent quality goods and services, businesses need well-planned, repeatable processes. From a cup of coffee at Starbucks to commercial plane, consistancy is key. Business processes are no different.

Workflow management and workflow automation enable businesses to systematize and coordinate. Not only that, they allow you to track the execution of such repeatable processes. We can automate workflows and processes together. This can be useful for starting certain tasks in reaction to customer actions. For example, a customer buys a product. This can trigger a process from a workflow to launch an email marketing campaign. This would start a series of messages designed to assist the customer with their new product.

Efficiency

Manual workflow management can be reliant on following up on tasks. Whether it’s through emails or in meetings, it all adds another step. It’s surprising how much gets done when you manage delegation with workflow software.

Increasing accountability through effective task delegation, letswork transition smoothly from person to person. This cuts off all the lag time typical of manually coordinated processes. You don’t need to remember the individual components of a process. Now you can visit a workflow dashboard and see the progress made.

You can achieve process automation via some workflow management software. Tasks such as email notifications, capturing data and attached files occur automatically. Often workflow management software has more, albeit slightly more technical features. This allows information to flow between the workflow system and other systems. This can range from CRM, accounting, fulfillment and more.

Example: Workflow Management in HR

Imagine your business is hiring new employees. There is a significant amount of coordination behind candidate tracking and employee onboarding. Between departments there’s the range of individuals involved in recruiting, screening, hiring in. Onboarding several candidates can quickly become complex and time consuming to coordinate.

Automated, managed workflows for these processes ensure that all teams follow best practices. Assignments and due dates remain clear, and everyone knows what needs to get done next. Executing these processes efficiently and professionally has another beenefit. It makes a strong impression on prospective candidates and new hires. This leads to stronger recruiting, longer retention rates and higher morale for everyone.

HR Sales Purchasing
Employee Onboarding Proposal Approvals Procurement Processes
Employee Termination Product Discounts Invoicing and Approvals
Vacation or Leave Requests Processing Quotes Pricing Change Management
Performance Reviews IT/IS Vendor Management
HR Project Management New Employee Setup Legal
HR Work Requests IT Security Access Request Contract Reviews
Candidate Tracking IT Work Requests Client Onboarding
Marketing IT Project Requests Litigation Holds
Brand Management Finance & Accounting Facilities
Collateral Change Approvals Monthly Closing Process Recurring Mainstenance Process and Prodcedures
Campaign Approvals Quarterly Closing Process Access to Facilities
Operations Expenditure Approvals Move Requests
Daily, Weekly Checklists Payroll Process Office Relocations
Monthly, Quarterly Checklists New Vendor Setup Repair Request

How to Automate Your Existing Workflows in Minutes – No IT Skills Required

Taditional workflow management software that often requires technical skills and training. TeamworkIQ enables you to instantly automate and manage workflows. Anyone can now handle business processes without the need for deep IT-know-how. Using TeamworkIQ for workflow management benefits businesses in minutes, not months. Here’s how:

  1. Sign up and sign in to TeamworkIQ.
  2. Simply outline the steps and tasks in your as you would in a Word document.
  3. @mention who needs to do which steps. Optionally set timelines and due dates as needed.
  4. Press start to kickoff the process.
  5. Let TeamworkIQ coordinate all the next steps for you start-to-finish, while you track progress in actionable dashboards.

Don’t believe it can be that easy? See TeamworkIQ in action in the 2 minute video overview below.

From SOPs to automated workflows, you can automate workflows within minutes rather than weeks or months.  How easy can it be? See how it works. Or, get started for free with one of these  process templates

Related Areas

Workflow management is related to several other types of software including business process management (BPM), case management solutions, and business decision management (BDM). Here is some more information on these forms of management:

  • Business Process Management

    While workflow management assists in the carrying out and streamlining of regular processes,  BPM is there to manage outcomes. This is done by analysis of the outcomes of processes and understanding how they can be structurally improved. 

  • Case Management

    Case management is a broader area of management that focuses less on individual processes but rather all case information of multiple processes that affect one another.

  • Business Decision Management

    Central to all  BDM systems is the business rules management system. This form of software is there to collect all the data that goes into making a business decision and uses this to make consistent decisions. BDM is even more broad than BPM, case management or workflow management, and assists in much larger decisions.

Get Started with TeamworkIQ

Try TeamworkIQ for free to get all the benefits of workflow management and automation without the high cost and long timelines typical of workflow software that requires IT skills to set up..  Sign up today to immediate;y improve your operations, increase profits, eliminate costly errors, and help everyone get things done faster with the same, or higher-quality results.

Workflow Automation improves productivity and reduces labour costs without high upfront costs?

Keep Workflow Actionable and Collaborative

The first workflows you create with TeamworkIQ should be simple in scope and seek to solve your immediate needs. They can always be further refined and updated. TeamworkIQ provides built-in revision control tools so that one version of the workflow can remain in use while updated versions are being created, then rolled out. It’s better to get something into use that guides team members through a process now, then it is to strive for ultra-detailed perfection. When you use the templates and the examples above, you’ll be on the right track for a clear and concise workflow.

Remember to set your standards and scope and be consistent and clear in your steps then test, asses, fix and finalize. With these steps in mind, you will be able to develop a concise workflow template – no matter how detailed or complex the process is.

Let us know if you found this article helpful and share your tips and workflow examples in the comments below. To discover more about using TeamworkIQ to not only document your workflows, but automate the process it describes, get in touch today.

Automate processes in minutes. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

When typing up a process, simply outline who needs to do what. Reuse checklists as templates for recurring processes and standard procedures.

  • Use numbered lists to outline step-by-step processes. Mix in regular bullets for work that can happen in any order.
  • Add approval actions with one or more approvers.
  • Attach files, capture and share data using form fields. * (coming soon)
Processes and produceures, written as a collaborative checklist, turn into automated workflows. Task assginees and details can be added.
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