Keep Your Information Moving with Workflow Automation

Overview Workflow’s Benefits The Workflow Project
Top 5 Signs You Should Consider Workflow

Overview

Workflow automation is “the ability to convert existing manual tasks into electronically automated processes.” With flexible, scalable technology, it enables the automatic routing and management of transaction information (like purchase orders, claims, invoices, and applications) throughout one's organization and over the Web.

Workflow automation results in streamlined procedures, increased productivity, improved efficiency, enhanced communications between all users, and better process management and tracking - which ultimately leads to reduced costs.

Workflow automation is especially beneficial when included as part of an overall content management solution. By combining the benefits of document management with workflow automation, you can be sure that the right information gets to the right people at the right time. You can even integrate this collaborative functionality directly into application environments such as ERP and CRM.

With a complete system, employees can quickly begin prioritized work specific to their job functions, obtain status updates, and add information or change processing requirements for a particular transaction.

A system's reporting elements give supervisory employees the ability to view work being completed by all resources, including individuals, groups of users, and specific tasks within the business process. Supervisors can constantly monitor and manage the system with the ability to add flexibility, balance load, and eliminate delays through real-time reallocation of work. With a well-designed workflow and clear procedures, you will have the intelligence you need to concentrate more effectively on operational needs and organizational strategy to build your business.

Workflow’s Benefits

By eliminating time consuming manual processes in your organization, workflow can help you achieve significant benefits including:

  • Reduced operating costs
  • Improved productivity
  • Faster processing times
  • Improved services
  • Elimination of dull, repetitive tasks associated with manual processes
  • Ease of new process deployment or process change
  • Better data quality because of reduction in human error
  • Improved communication throughout the organization
  • Improved planning capabilities

The Workflow Project

As with all technology projects there is a set of steps to take to ensure a smooth implementation.

1. Project scope - It is important to clearly define the boundaries of the project. As the project moves forward, modifications to the scope must be carefully controlled.

2. Planning for Implementation – This vital step in the progress of your project is the most crucial. Pay close attention to detail and your project will be a success. The first part of this step is to clearly understand how your business processes currently work. This is usually done by talking with the employees and managers involved in the process. Once you have a clear picture of what happens currently, you can look into where processes can be improved with workflow technology.

3. Application Development - Once you fully understand your current processes and have identified the necessary process improvements, you and your workflow technology partners begin to develop your application. Appropriate scope and planning will greatly simplify this step of the process.

4. Testing – Make sure adequate testing is conducted to ensure that everything is working properly.

5. Training – Adding a workflow management system is a big adjustment for employees. In addition to transitioning from paper to electronic records, they also must adjust to the new business processes. Managing the transition smoothly makes a considerable contribution to the success of the project.

6. Post-Implementation – Once your system is up and running and the organization’s processes are running smoothly, it’s time to examine the efficiency of the new methods and learn from the implementation experience so that changes, upgrades and additional technology can be handled with ease in the future.

Top 5 Signs You Should Consider Workflow

You’ve done your homework. You know what workflow does and how it can help in areas like Accounting, Human Resources and other paper-intensive areas of your business. But how do you know if it’s really something you should consider for your business? We’ve compiled these 5 warning signs to help you know when it’s time to look into implementing workflow.
1. Employees are walking documents department to department and desk to desk to get approvals. A workflow solution eliminates this manual routing process.

2. When people are out of the office documents sit and wait for them at their desk until they return and can approve and route the form to the next person. With web-based approval, users can approve anywhere, anytime.

3. Paper documents awaiting approval get buried and forgotten in an in-box. Workflow will let you track where your document is in the workflow process and can send automated e-mail reminders to the user responsible for the hold-up.

4. Your managers lack adequate reporting capabilities to assess current processes. With workflow, you can track your processes, identify bottlenecks, and adjust to eliminate problem areas.

5. You have current processes involving sequential routing where multiple people must approve a document before it gets routed to the next step. With workflow, you can enable parallel routing. That is, a document can be routed to multiple people simultaneously for approval increasing efficiency dramatically.

To learn more about workflow, call us at 630.875.1100 or send your questions to Ask_The_Expert@idt-inc.com.


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