8 Workflow Management Tools that You Must Consider for your Business
Which one of the below describes the situation in your organization? If you tick the first option, then it is likely that your business workflows are at optimal performance levels. If you tick the second option, then your process workflows need to be streamlined and optimized.
- Case 1 – Approvals on time, accurate logging of project requests, seamless documentation, and clarity in stakeholders’ roles.
- Case 2 – Delayed approvals, project requests on hold indefinitely, documentation gaps, and confusion in roles and responsibilities.
Workflow management tools can be used to streamline and optimize process workflows. Choosing the best workflow management tool is an important decision that business leadership needs to make after considering all the available options. The right workflow management tool helps streamline and optimize the business process.
What is Workflow Management?
Before we get into workflow management tools, it is important to understand what workflow management is all about. The main focus of workflow management is creating and optimizing the paths for business data in order to complete the tasks in a business process. Finding redundant tasks, mapping out the workflow, identifying bottlenecks, and areas of improvement are all part of workflow management. A workflow is made up of predefined steps, stakeholders, and predefined conditions.
3 best practices in workflow management include clearly defined workflows, prioritized and streamlined workflows, and regular monitoring and optimization. A workflow management system that uses workflow management tools can be used by businesses to set their workflows right. What is a workflow management tool? Workflow management tools are used for end-to-end management of process workflows.
It is important to understand that a workflow is characterized by repeatable tasks that occur many times in succession. The concept of workflow mapping can be used to understand business processes and improve them. The three main components of a workflow are:
• Input – things needed to get the process started
• Transformation – things that happen during the task
• Output – the results expected after completing the task
What is Workflow Management Tools?
Workflow management tools is a software that is designed to help streamline routine business processes for optimal efficiency. These systems use forms to gather data and automate a sequential path of tasks that process the data. Tasks in the workflow could be executed by humans or by machines. Workflow management tools –
• Allow individuals to automate repetitive processes
• Automatically follows up on incomplete tasks
• Provide an overall picture of the workflow along with performance metrics
Workflow management software is a system that aids in the completion of workflows and oversees repeatable processes from a macro-level perspective. Workflow automation software must have the following components –
Clearly defined, repeatable processes – Clearly laid out business processes where roles are clearly defined is a must for successful automation. The software must use a rinse-and-repeat cycle to take a task or process through.
Macro-level view of the process – Users need to be able to monitor project or task status continuously in order to optimize workflows using workflow management software.
Integration with other apps – The workflow automation software must be able to integrate with existing tools to streamline processes and automate tasks. Seamless integration ensures that tasks and projects are executed smoothly with the uninterrupted exchange of data.
Analytics and reporting – To evaluate the success of the workflow management tool, a reporting, and analytical feature is needed. A robust reporting and analytics feature helps determine how productive and successful the tool was.
Types of Workflow Management Tools
Workflow management tools are designed to reduce busy work and optimize processes. Using these tools maximizes the company’s resource utilization and allows employees to focus on higher-value projects. Some types of workflow automation tools are:
Project management –
One of the most extensively used workflow tools is project management tools. These tools help link together people, data, and resources for optimizing the process. Project management tools improve team collaboration and help define, manage, and improve work delivery multiple times. Using these tools increases visibility and communication across the teams to ensure that processes run smoothly and efficiently.
Sales and marketing –
Sales and marketing tools are used for facilitating easy and efficient management of data from prospects and customers. The best workflow management tools come with built-in analytics to help find inefficiencies and speed up the process across several channels. These tools create workflows to send customized marketing content on customer behavior.
Finance workflow management –
Keeping finance processes organized, compliant, and consistent is important for businesses. Finance workflow automation tools help in daily finance operations like budget approvals, invoicing, purchase orders, and expense requests.
Customer service –
Auto assignment of requests/tickets to agents, sending auto-replies to FAQs, and auto-tagging of access based on the question submitted, are some of the tasks that customer service workflow tools can perform. Automation of customer service helps businesses solve more customer issues and frees live agents for handling more complex issues.
Human resource management tools –
Documentation and administrative tasks in human resource management can be managed efficiently with automation tools. Using these tools can cut down on administrative oversight, provide better support to employees, and let HR personnel focus on high-value tasks. Some of the tasks that can be taken care of by automation tools are new hire management, timesheet management, job postings, and time off requests.
A simple workflow management tool can free up resources and improve process outcomes considerably. Using workflow automation requires careful evaluation of the business requirements and features of the software tools. There are several ways in which workflow tools help improve business outcomes. Not only do these tools speed up business processes, but also free up time for the employees so that they can focus on high-value work and make informed decisions. Let us take a look at some of the key benefits of workflow management tools.
Benefits of Workflow Management Tools
Irrespective of the business workflow for which you are using workflow management tools, these tools alleviate the manual burden for the team and save significant amounts of business time, money, and resources. These tools not only speed up the processes but also free up time for the employees so that they can focus on high-value tasks and make informed decisions.
Here are some of the key benefits of using workflow management tools:
Fewer errors and inconsistencies – Business processes that rely on manual processes open room for human mistakes and inconsistencies. Moreover, manual processes are tedious and labor-intensive. Human mistakes in business processes vary from incorrect invoicing to bookkeeping inaccuracies to duplicate data entries. Workflow management tools on the other hand use centralized, real-time data to run administrative tasks and reduce the risk of data errors.
Streamlined processes – Workflow automation increases the visibility and transparency of business processes. Streamlined processes are devoid of bottlenecks and redundancies. Improved visibility ensures that projects keep moving in the right direction. Workflow automation tools assign tasks and follow up on tasks automatically, which makes it easy to track performance and minimize delays in the process.
Improved productivity – When labor-intensive processes are automated, teams can spare more time on tasks that have a higher impact on business outcomes. Automating key business processes also improves overall collaboration and productivity. Employees spend less time tracking down information, seeking approvals, verifying data, and in back-and-forth communication.
Seamless communication – Clearly designed workflows and automated alerts and notifications pave way for seamless communication within the team. All the employees stay on the same page and understand their roles clearly. Seamless communication paves way for easier cross-functional collaboration and ensures that everyone on the team is aligned toward a common organizational goal.
Deeper project insights – Workflow management tools provide real-time insights into process status via reports and analytics. Data analytics on processes helps capture performance metrics, identify areas of opportunity, and make informed decisions about their business operations.
Choosing the Right Workflow Management Tool
Choosing the best workflow management tool for your business requires careful evaluation of all the features that the software allows. Even before choosing the right workflow automation software, an analysis of the current processes must be performed. Process analysis pinpoints bottlenecks in the process and ascertains which team will require these tools. Proper analysis of the process provides a better understanding of the business needs.
One must look for the following features in a workflow management tool.
Simple navigation via a user-friendly interface –
Workflow management software must be easy to use with minimal training required for its usage. Simple navigation through the software via the user-friendly interface is a must-have feature of the software.
AI and Machine learning capabilities –
The software must include AI and machine learning features for the intelligent processing of data. Intelligent document processing via AI and machine learning is a must-have feature of workflow software.
Seamless integration with third-party tools –
The workflow management tool must be able to seamlessly integrate with third-party tools and apps used by businesses in their day-to-day operations. Integration paves way for uninterrupted data exchange between business apps.
Customizable workflows –
The workflow management software must enable business users to create custom workflows as per their business requirements. There are preset business rules that govern each business process, which should be the basis of workflow automation.
Cloud-based operability –
The software must support cloud operations. Workflow management software must be operable on the cloud and also provide safe and secure cloud storage for critical business data.
Data analytics and real-time reporting –
The data gathered via digital forms must be utilized for improving business performance. Data analytics and real-time reporting help businesses analyze customer data and use it to improve customer experience and service.
Scalability for evolving business needs – the automation software must be flexible and scalable according to evolving business requirements. As the business grows, the business requirements also grow proportionally. The automation software must be able to scale up to growing business needs.
Enhanced security and data protection –
Sensitive business data needs to be handled securely. The data gathered using digital forms needs to be stored securely and access to this data needs to be given based on the authority of the stakeholder.
End-to-end workflow automation
Build fully-customizable, no code process workflows in a jiffy.
Best Workflow Management Tools
Now that we have a clear idea about the features to look for while choosing the best workflow management tools, we can review the top workflow management tools in the market based on these features.
Cflow is a no-code BPM solution that automates key business workflows quickly and effectively. The visual form builder in Cflow can be used to create workflow forms using the drag-and-drop option. Customized workflows can be built based on unique business requirements. Cflow offers the highest level of security for your business data. The intuitive user interface makes it super easy to operate Cflow. Real-time reports and analytics make sure that all the team members are aware of the status of tasks and approvals. The public forms feature allows even non-users to create public forms. The access control feature in Cflow allows controlled access to business data. Seamless integration with over 1000 apps via Zapier is possible with Cflow.
Hive is an online workflow management tool that is used by top companies like Google, Comcast, and Starbucks. Hive Automate saves you time by automating everyday tasks that are repeatable and require low human intelligence involvement. This tool automatically creates tasks, assigns owners, and changes task status, which improves process speed and lets the team focus on more important assignments. Project templates, forms, automation capabilities, flexible project views, and seamless integrations are some of the key features offered by Hive Automate.
this is a desktop app that aggregates work email accounts, apps, and extensions, and streamlines business workflows within an all-in-one browser. The shift can be seamlessly integrated with all your favorite apps and build customizable workspaces and manage inbox overload. This app can be used to improve productivity and provide a centralized focus for the team. Customizing workspaces, extensive search across Mail, Calendar, and Drive accounts, and mixing and matching of favorite tools, are some of the features offered by Shift.
a smart workflow management software that provides real-time updates of the project lifecycle. The intuitive dashboard allows you to manage tasks, subtasks, and deadlines efficiently and effortlessly. The seamless fine-sharing feature allows you to stay on top of discussions at any time, from anywhere. This software can be used to generate invoices and create customized bills. Custom workflows can be created easily with ProProfs. Effective team collaboration is a breeze with ProProfs. Other features include automated workflow execution, on-the-go project development updates, cross-functional team management, Kanban boards, and Gantt charts.
a no-code web application that is designed for industries like construction, energy, aviation, remodeling, etc. The chief solutions offered by Fluix are automated data capture and workflow management. The data is captured via mobile forms first and moved through appropriate workflows. With Fluix, operations between distributed teams can be streamlined easily. Managing field inspections, equipment maintenance, safety control, and other business operations, can be easily done with this workflow management tool. Some of the other features include fillable PDFs and web forms, a drag-and-drop workflow builder, granular role-based access, and integration with BI tools.
this is an emerging workflow management software that provides advanced risk management and powerful automation features. Remote teams can use this tool to manage distributed work teams efficiently. Project managers can use this software to assign and track teams without missing critical steps. This tool enables end-to-end project management in companies. Other features include Kanban boards to create and track tasks, Gantt Chart to visually track task progress, a Chrome extension to manage projects via Gmail, and automation to create workflows.
a tool that helps streamline workflows and project plans while managing resources across teams. It is a visually appealing tool that can be used by teams to track their work. Other features include automation templates that automate parts of the workflows, project views in the form of Gantt charts, Calendar, and timeline views and custom dashboards for reporting and analytics purposes.
a good project and process management tool that can automate key business workflows to boost business productivity and operational efficiency. Kissflow helps teams to visualize workflows and define roles among team members. Fully customizable forms, access control, actionable reports and analytics, and seamless integration with third-party tools are some of the features offered by Kissflow.
The above points of discussion reiterate the importance of making workflow management tools a part of business operations. Workflow management tools free employees from mundane admin work and give them time to focus on activities that add value to the organization. Cflow is a workflow management tool that can automate key business workflows within minutes. From procurement to finance to HR workflows, tasks that are repetitive in nature can be automated with Cflow. You can try this effective workflow management tool for free by signing up for the 14-day free trial.
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