Workflow Management Software
Workflow management software positively impacts work efficiency, productivity, accuracy, and customer experience.
Workflow management software is used to define, automate, and improve an organization's business processes to improve efficiency, reduce errors, and increase productivity. For more on workflow management systems, visit this article on Wikipedia.
What is Workflow Management?
Every company uses various workflows to ensure tasks are completed, and business goals are reached. These workflows and processes require a great deal of human intervention to keep the workflow moving forward. This could mean emails, pop-ins, meetings, calls, Slack messages, etc. This kind of manual workflow management leads to mistakes, long turnaround times, non-compliance, and other issues.
The answer to the question “what is workflow management” depends on your business, the tools you use, and the unique challenges you face. However, generally speaking, workflow management can be thought of as identifying, improving, and automating the various processes that ensure your team accomplishes the work it needs to get done. An automated process can be tracked and evaluated much easier than a manual process, leading to new insights and improvements.
In summary, managing your organization's workflow means
Let's get started with a few examples of effective workflow management systems.
Workflow Management Examples
Every organization and every department has its use cases for workflow solutions. For instance, Finance might need to automate expense requests, while HR might need to automate employee onboarding workflow. Meanwhile, IT might need a system to handle cybersecurity incident management. Each of these workflows is different, with different forms, routing, logic, etc. At some companies, each of these departments uses a different workflow system, leading to disparate and disconnected organizational workflow.
Here are some examples of departmental workflow management use cases.
New Account Setup
For detailed examples of where and how workflow management can be used, visit our Workflow Examples page or download our Workflow use Case Examples PDF.
Point solutions attempt to handle departmental workflow needs like onboarding employees, managing invoices, etc. However, some organizations find that implementing a workflow platform that is department agnostic and flexible while remaining accessible enough for business users to use easily is a better way to go. Administrators and business users can customize workflows over time to improve efficiency or adapt to changing needs.
Video: So, how does workflow management software work?
Benefits of Workflow Management Tools
At the end of the day, why do companies invest in workflow software to replace manual processes?
Here are a few workflow management benefits you can count on:
- Streamline and speed up internal processes by reducing manual entry and request handling.
- Reduce errors and re-work.
- Reduce the risk of improperly approved requests, contracts, hires, etc.
- Improve compliance with audit trails.
- Increase output and increase productivity.
- Provide a unified, personalized request experience for employees.
- Track request status (completed, pending, or in progress, etc.) in real-time
- Identify performance trends (group and individual) over time.
- Reduced license overhead for enterprise systems (ERP, CRM, etc.)
- Monitor team progress against Service Level Agreements.
- Identify and remove process barriers or bottlenecks.
- Better align tasks with the skillsets and assign tasks to the most appropriate staff members.
- Drastically reduce paperwork and associated costs and waste.
- Reduce the need for manual decision-making and handling of business rules.
- Identify redundancies and improve process efficiency.
- Switch from single to parallel processing of tasks.
- Eliminate circumvention of organizational business rules.
- Provide staff members with reminders and alerts when tasks age.
- Allow for 24/7 access to approve and monitor requests and tasks.
- Allow staff and management to focus on value-added projects and tasks.
How Are Workflow Management Systems Typically Implemented?
Workflow management software can be deployed to suit the requirements of the organization. For instance, we offer cloud-based SaaS, private cloud, or on-premise versions of Integrify so you can meet any organizational or regulatory standards as required. We'll help you get up and running no matter what version you choose, and all versions have the same features and workflow management tools.
A typical deployment includes a best practice project management framework with our service teams which you can read more about here. Our service and implementation team are experienced and focused on quickly getting you up and running. We also provide ongoing coaching and training as needed.
The process for rolling out an automated workflow to a department or organization typically looks like this:
- Gather information about the workflows to be managed and automated.
- Document the workflow details, including forms, hand-offs, routing, etc.
- Illustrate the process using a flowchart or workflow design tool.
- Gain consensus on the workflow from all stakeholders.
- Build the workflow and forms within a workflow management software tool.
- Perform user acceptance testing with a pilot group of users to ensure accuracy.
- Train end-users on how to use the new system.
- Launch the new system.
For more on implementing a new workflow, check out our blog.
Workflow Management FAQs
Are there integration options with workflow management software?
Vendors have different approaches to integration. Here are a few that you're likely to run across:
- The solution will integrate exclusively with enterprise applications like Microsoft SharePoint or specific HRIS systems, which is good if you stick with those systems.
- The solution will integrate with a handful of enterprise applications based on limited partner relationships with those vendors.
- The solution will provide an open system with standalone Web services that allow process integration with almost any scenario. Some custom work may be required.
- The solution will offer a wide variety of integrations through middleware.
How long does it take to implement workflow management tools?
Vendors that offer professional services should be able to provide a reasonable estimate of when the solution will be rolled out publicly (or at least to a pilot group). While every situation is unique, established vendors have seen everything and will have a frame of reference from which to draw. They may also have a variety of prototypes or proof of concept options that can be leveraged before signing a contract. These will give you an idea of the vendor's capabilities and the likely timeline for rollout.
How easy are these workflow management systems to use?
You can get a sense of how easy a system is to use from watching a live or recorded demonstration, but a better approach is to request a trial account with a pre-built process you can reference. This will give you a chance to share the actual working environment with anyone who may be using it. Put yourself in the mindset that you have already purchased the system and need to get things done in it. How hard is it to use? How does the interface make you feel, considering you and others may spend much time there? Check out the Help site as well. Vendors who value user experience will leave you feeling secure and confident.
What platforms are supported?
Cloud-based software has distinct advantages over premise-based software, but it's not always A) your call and B) allowed by your industry. Some industries require software solutions to be entirely under their control and within their firewalls (think financial, government, legal). In addition, some organizations need to integrate with on-premise systems (for instance, Active Directory) that will only connect to other premise-based systems. These situations dictate a premise-based solution.
Additional Workflow Management Software Resources
- Detailed Definition (Wikipedia)
- Gartner Definition
- Questions to ask a Workflow Management Software Vendor
- Workflow Examples
- Workflow Automation Guides
- Best Workflow Management Software Vendors
Interested in Automating Your Workflow?
We have various resources to help you navigate an automated workflow.
Workflow Management Resources
We have a variety of resources to help you on your journey to a managed workflow.
- Workflow Management Tools and eBooks
- Workflow Ideas Weekly eMail Newsletter
- Recorded Demonstration of our Workflow Automation Software
- Request a Live Demonstration
Automate Any Business Process
To see how quickly you can begin automating your business processes, check out our 2-minute product video.