Digital Workflow Advantages

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.

What are digital workflows?

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 Workflow

Advantages of a Digital Workflow

Digital workflows come with multiple benefits for organizations. The following are just a few ways you stand to benefit.
  • Competitive edge: Companies that implement digital workflows have a competitive advantage over those that don’t, both in reliability and operability.
  • Reduce operating costs: Workflow digitization increases the reliability and speed of task completion. The result is significant cost savings.
  • Enhances work continuity: Breaks in between tasks waste time and have proven very expensive in many industries. Digitization brings continuity to the workplace.
  • Boosts strategic analysis: When you digitize workflows, it becomes easier to implement analytics software to track, measure, and analyze your performance.
  • Eliminates human error: Computer systems make errors too. But not as many as humans. Reduced errors mean greater productivity and efficiency.
  • Greater workflow visibility: A digital workflow is a transparent workflow. It’s a lot easier to get detailed analyses and reports, as and when you need them.
Although this may not directly impact your bottom line, it’s worth mentioning that digital workflows reduce the organization’s carbon footprint as well.

Digital Workflow Challenges

Despite the many advantages, though, digital workflows may also present the organization with a few challenges, including:
  • Fear of job loss: The mere mention of digital workflows may leave employees worrying about their jobs out of fear that their work will become obsolete. In most instances, it is just a tool to help them put more time into higher quality work.
  • Upfront costs: Implementing digital workflows involves a substantial initial investment. You’ll need to purchase software, hire someone to implement it, and train your workforce. All these cost money.
  • Loss of flexibility: Digitization also typically comes with increased workplace rigidity. Employees are forced to utilize specific software and processes to complete tasks. This loss of flexibility can affect workforce morale.

How to Pick the Right Digital Workflows Software

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.
  1. Make it simple

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.
  1. Cloud is the way to go

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.
  1. Seamless integration

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.

Time to Take the Next Step

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.