Automated Approval Process – Bid Goodbye to Bottlenecks and Delays
If there is a single process that slows down the progress of a project, it has to be the approval process. Employees spend their productive time gathering data and submitting a request, while managers spend their productive time reviewing and processing the request.
From the time that a request is submitted until the time it is approved or rejected, it eats away a huge chunk of the project productivity time. During this period, the employee is stressed out under the suspense of whether the claim will be approved or rejected, and the manager is overwhelmed with the volume of requests.
The Long Story of Manual Approval
The approval processes are not only for expense claims or budget approvals, they could also be for leave of absence, recruitment requests, IT project requests, or document approvals. Irrespective of the type of request, manual approvals are time-consuming, cumbersome, and subject to human bias.
The image below shows a simple manual approval process for the request of a laptop from an employee.
- The first step is the submission of an email request for the laptop to the manager.
- The manager/reviewer receives the email and reviews the same. If the information is sufficient, the request is either approved or rejected based on the manager’s discretion.
- Lack of sufficient information will result in the exchange of additional emails between the parties.
- Once approved, the request is forwarded to the IT department for fulfilling the requisition.
The approval process may take anything between a day to a week depending on the manager’s availability and discretion. During this time, the employee remains in the dark regarding the fate of the request.
The manual approval process involves a lot of people asking for too much information and multiple levels of approval. On several occasions, approvals have stalled the progress of a project.
Common reasons for bottlenecks in the manual approval process are:
- Conflicting feedback from stakeholders
- Lack of clarity in the approval chain due to multiple reviewers
- Misinterpretation or miscommunication of project goals
- Getting stuck in a cycle of revisions
- Missing approval deadlines
- Lack of details of backup resource in case approver is unavailable
- The long story of manual process approval cut short is that it is time-consuming, error-prone, and subject to human bias.
Automating the Approval Process
Automating the approval process overcomes all the drawbacks of the manual process, and also weaves accountability and productivity into the fabric of the approval process. Automated approval proves to be beneficial to organizations of all sizes. A repeatable system that can be dissected into discrete steps can be automated easily.
The first step in automating the approval workflow is to map out all the steps in the approval cycle. Here are the important aspects that must be considered while automating the workflow:
- Mode of submission of requests
- Supporting documentation required
- Criteria to be met at each approval level
- Identification of approvers at each level
- How modifications in the submissions should be done
- Criteria for automatic approval/rejection
- How should the submission be routed after approval or rejection?
Automation of approval workflow brings accountability, transparency, and consistency into the approval process.
Benefits of Automating the Approval Process
Automating the approval process gives the employee/manager more time to focus on productive work. Not only that, but it also eliminates human bias from the approval process.
Here are some of the advantages of automated process approval:
- Customizable templates: Approvals are part of every business function. Built-in automation templates allow customization to suit each business function.
- Editing existing workflows: Modifying digital workflows is simple and easy. Adding or deleting steps in the approval process can be done without the need to create a new one from the scratch.
- Improved transparency and compliance: Auditing an automated workflow is easy. Restricting the access to approval documents to the approvers can be done in a digital workflow. Transparency of the approval and compliance to regulations is a breeze with automation.
- Easy tracking: Keeping track of the modifications at each step or determining the status of the request can be easily done in an automated approval workflow.
The choice of a workflow automation software is critical to successful implementation. The must-have features of workflow software are:
- Intuitive, easy to use interface
- Simple and easy rule creation
- Reliability and security of data
- Support for web and mobile usage
- Seamless integration with existing systems like ERP
- Easy integration with 3rd party tools
- Role-based access control
Cost-effective and transparent pricing plans
Cflow is a workflow management solution that provides all these and much more. A no-code workflow that can be easily designed using the drag-and-drop designer. With Cflow, businesses can forget about unproductive hours spent on approvals.
Automating the approval workflow enables organizations to save up working hours for productive work and increase the efficiency of business functions. Process bottlenecks and delays can be eliminated by automating the approval process workflow.
Cflow takes business productivity to a whole new level through workflow automation. Our high-performance automation solution ensures high productivity and efficiency of your business processes.
Take a free trial of Cflow for a firsthand experience of the benefits.