Technology has dramatically changed how we work. PCs and internet connection in the office have made communication and collaboration easier. Thanks to reliable network connections, a few people can even telecommute without adverse consequences. Without going into detail, the changes are there for all to see, and one such trend is the introduction of digital workflows.
Unfortunately, when you look closer at how the workplace operates, you realize that many processes are still completed manually. Take the process of onboarding a new employee as an example. These employees are required to buy a laptop, get a security clearance, and choose a benefits plan.
Software programs have simplified some of these tasks, but many of the routine tasks are still manual, and they’re eating into operational costs as they did a century ago. A few studies say that these tasks take up at least 60% of the employee’s time, on average.
The digital workflow is a novel approach that allows organizations and businesses to digitize their processes for greater efficiency and improved ROI.
To understand digital workflows, you need first to understand what constitutes a workflow. Everything that goes into the workplace starts as a task. A task is an activity that needs to be completed within a set period.
Tasks then connect to processes. A process is a defined method of achieving a result. Processes are repeatable.
Workflows comprise of a series of processes, rolled up together. Therefore, a workflow involves multiple people, groups, or teams, and can be simple or extremely complex. What defines a great workflow is that the individual processes work together to achieve the desired objective. Digitizing a workflow means automating the entirety of these processes.
The digitization can be as simple as switching to emails rather than paper memos or as complex as automating every department’s internal processes.
Digital workflows come with multiple benefits for organizations. The following are just a few ways you stand to benefit.
Although this may not directly impact your bottom line, it’s worth mentioning that digital workflows reduce the organization’s carbon footprint as well.
Despite the many advantages, though, digital workflows may also present the organization with a few challenges, including:
For the most part, you’ll be relying on third-party software to digitize your workflows. You need to pick the right software to avoid trouble down the line. The following are four key factors to consider in selecting this software.
They say simplicity is the best form of sophistication. This couldn’t be truer when shopping for workflow digitization software. You want to pick the most straightforward yet most powerful solution you can find. In most instances you’re buying the software for regular users, not Ph.D. holders. It’s even likely that the people who’ll be using the software don’t have any coding knowledge. Buy something they can learn quickly and use easily.
Essentially, you have three options when it comes to hosting – you can host within the organization, use a third-party host, or host on the cloud. Cloud is the best option by a mile. For one, with cloud hosting, you don’t need to worry about software installation. Secondly, the cloud offers greater security. There’s less chance of permanently losing your files and documents. Above all, the cloud is now cheaper than the other two options.
Finally, a great workflow digitization solution integrates with lots of third-party apps. You want to integrate with social media networks, accounting platforms, and analytics software, just to mention a few. More importantly, the integration should be effortless. You shouldn’t need an expert to show you how to integrate the software with Facebook, for instance. You also shouldn’t need expert advice to draw insight from the integrated analytics solutions.
Workflow digitization guarantees increased process efficiency and worker productivity. You also eliminate human errors for greater accuracy and increased process speed. If you haven’t yet made the transition, now is the time. Analyze your processes, identify areas where digitization can help, and bring in the right workflow digitization software to take you to the next level.