Often deal with missed deadlines and loss of business due to inefficient workflows and frequent errors?
Probably it’s time to invest in a workflow management software solution to improve your workflow efficiency.
A proper workflow management solution will provide more structure to your business operations, standardizing processes to eliminate confusion between different stakeholders, and ultimately, ensuring all workflows are as efficient as possible.
However, with all the different workflow management solutions available, choosing the right one according to your business’s unique needs can be easier said than done.
This post will discuss all you need to know about choosing a workflow management system, especially the crucial features you’ll need from a workflow management software.
Let us begin, however, by discussing the concept of workflow management itself.
Workflow Management: The Concept
To explain the concept of workflow management, we have first to discuss the definition of a “workflow.”
We can define a workflow as a set of actions or tasks, typically sequential in nature (meaning one task must be finished before the next task should be executed). When these actions have been accomplished, the workflow would have achieved a specific business purpose or objective.
In a simple coffee shop, for example, brewing its signature brew is considered a workflow.
All businesses have at least one workflow, but some companies and enterprises have hundreds of connected workflows.
With that said, workflow management is the process of visualizing, documenting, analyzing, and optimizing to make sure it is executed as efficiently as possible.
Ultimately, workflow management helps businesses and organizations improve their productivity and efficiency to achieve their objectives while using fewer resources.
What Is Workflow Management Software
A workflow management software solution helps businesses implement workflow management in three distinct phases:
- Workflow mapping: visualizing the workflow as a workflow diagram. A comprehensive workflow management software should offer an intuitive workflow builder for this purpose
- Workflow analysis: analyzing the documented workflow diagram to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies. The workflow management system assists this phase by offering comprehensive analytics and reports
- Workflow optimization: the implementation of changes based on the workflow analysis’ results to optimize the workflow. A workflow management software solution should offer features to easily customize workflow diagrams to reflect the changes, as well as monitoring tools
With the help of a workflow management tool, organizations can have an easier time optimizing their workflows and free up employees for more impactful and valuable work.
However, with all the different options available on the market, choosing the right workflow management software solution for your business can be pretty challenging. You wouldn’t want to commit to a solution that doesn’t deliver what you need, and this is why below we’ll discuss some of the most important features you should look for when choosing a workflow management software solution.
Important Features In a Workflow Management Solution
The best approach in choosing a workflow management software for your business is to choose the most affordable solution that offers the features you’ll need. But figuring this out can be quite difficult if you don’t know what features you should be looking for.
Here are some key features to look for in a workflow management software solution so you can identify which ones you’ll need, which are nice to have, and which are unimportant:
1. Intuitive Workflow Builder
Workflow mapping is an essential aspect of any workflow management effort, so the workflow builder is arguably the essential feature of a workflow management platform.
It’s best to look for a workflow management solution that offers an easy-to-use workflow builder that doesn’t require coding. Aproove, for example, provides an intuitive visual workflow builder with a drag-and-drop approach so you can build your workflows without the help of programmers.
2. Customizable and Automatic Validations in Forms
If your workflows involve the use of forms (which is common) and human inputs, then you’d want a solution that offers automatic validation features to prevent mistakes, for example:
- Customizable validation: you can specify custom formats for form fields. The forms can automatically validate user inputs and ensure the data fits the requirements (i.e., MM/DD/YYYY date format). A simple but essential feature to prevent human errors. The solution should also offer pre-built form fields to automatically validate data (i.e., pre-built email fields that can automatically validate whether the user has entered a valid email address).
- Automatic and dynamic routing: you might want a solution that automatically identifies routing based on the data and automatically forwards information to the right person. This is useful if your workflows involve many movements in information.
Mobile-friendliness is simply a necessity for today’s software solutions.
You should choose a workflow management software that works seamlessly on as many mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) as possible, and you should make sure:
- Every single function should work on mobile devices
- The mobile interface should be acceptable as-is, users shouldn’t need to adjust layouts to make the app look nice on their phones
- Buttons, menu, and other elements should be optimized to ensure a great mobile experience
4. Authentication Control and Security Features
This is an essential feature if your workflows involve movements of confidential data. Consider the following features:
- End-to-end data encryption
- Single Sign-On support (SAML preferred)
- Well documented security policy
- Intuitive and customizable access control so that only authorized users can access workflows
5. Analytics and Reports
You should invest in a workflow management solution that offers good analytics and reporting features for workflow analysis and workflow optimization purposes.
Aproove, for example, offers intuitive business and KPI reports function, including pre-built and customizable permission-based report building to track and analyze your workflows.
6. Audit Trail
A good workflow management software solution should maintain a record of all activities. This will make it easier for everyone in the case of an audit.
Also, make sure to choose a solution where you can easily track the progress of the workflow at any time in the process, so specific users wouldn’t need to make a phone call or send an email to track a workflow’s progress.
While implementing workflow management is essential in today’s business environment, it’s crucial to choose the right workflow management software solution so your investment wouldn’t go to waste.
The features discussed above are among the most important you should look for when choosing between different solutions. Still, it’s also essential to assess your organization’s unique needs before making your decision.