What are workflows? How can automation improve them?

It is often said that many of the jobs that people do today didn’t exist 10 or 20 years ago. With technology moving at such a quick pace, it can be hard to keep up with all the developments and new terminologies. Indeed, one of the first questions we often face when dealing with new clients is “What is a workflow?”

Put simply, a workflow is a collection of business processes that are executed to achieve a specific goal.

What distinguishes a workflow from a process, is that workflows generally have more moving parts, and are the sum of multiple related processes.

Workflows can be simple or complex. An example of the former would be approving an invoice, while the latter might include the multiple steps required to connect several departments and manage inventory.

Without the use of a workflow solution, the traditional processes that comprise a workflow tend to be menial, repetitive and time-consuming tasks.

In the past, employees might have to physically deliver documents, sort through files and contact various people throughout the organisation to execute a single workflow.

However, with a workflow automation solution, software is able to automatically route tasks according to a defined set of rules, which greatly streamlines things.

For example, let’s say an employee wants to record an expense they have incurred. They can do this by simply taking a photo of the receipt with a smartphone and uploading it into the company’s document management system. The system can then recognise the value of the expense and send it to the appropriate person for approval. Once approved, the expense can be re-routed to accounting so that reimbursement can be arranged.

In essence, there are four types of workflow: manual routing, which are very simple workflows sent through the system manually by a user, ad hoc, which are slightly more advanced than manual routing, rules-based, which allow for pre-determined and standardized processes to be executed without user interaction, and advanced, which are highly structured but flexible workflows that transition between automated and ad hoc as required.

There are a number of workflow solutions on the market, so choosing can be difficult. After scouring the market, we identified Docuware as the best solution and have since become an authorised platinum partner of Docuware in Australia.

With Docuworx, your business can save considerable time and effort via the use of Docuware automation and workflow solution, assisting you with:

  • Visual Workflow Paths Provide consistency and visibility into your day-to-day tasks
  • Task Routing accelerates the decision making and approval process automatically
  • Workflow Designer enables drag-and-drop customizability

Before embarking on your digital transformation journey, it is important that you strike the right balance between simply digitising processes and rejigging your entire business. Workflow automation should be seen as the enhancement rather than replacement of your business, and, for this reason, should not be feared.

We begin each engagement with our customers by visiting their business and analyzing and documenting their business processes. We call this the “discovery phase” and it is a crucial step in understanding a business so that we can help tailor-make the right solution.

Contact us today and register for our next luncheon presentation to find out more about how workflow automation can improve your business.