How to Create Workflow (No coding) Online from Scratch – Cflow
In the past, organizations relied on paper to implement processes and keep themselves compliant. Slowly, paper gave way to spreadsheets and emails and this became the default means of communication and management of business processes.
For complex processes, organizations hired expensive programmers to create sophisticated systems. Software companies built more and more programs to automate business processes. An entire domain of such software programs came be classified as Business Process Management Software. Typical implementations ran into millions of dollars and large teams were needed to do through analysis and the overall solution took months and in some cases, years to implement.
With the advent of internet and cloud, organizations saw increasing competition and the need to streamline different departments of a business and related interactions became all the more necessary. A plethora of software solving different use cases mushroomed and a problem of plenty ensued. This resulted in reducing implementation cycle times and costly budget overruns.
Today, organizations requiring a cloud based workflow automation software have a good choice of new-age vendors providing intuitive and well-designed user interfaces. But it is imperative for IT heads and Compliance Officers to have a good methodology to separate the chaff from the grain. They should no longer be looking for legacy vendors that try to push the same old wine in a new bottle. Rather, they should look for newer systems that does not require any new code to be written at all, but provide a platform for automating business processes.
Define Workflow – Understanding the Basics
The definition of workflow is that it is a set of predefined tasks that are converted into processes and carried out in sequential order. The difference between a task and a process is that the latter has a defined set of rules, the person-in-charge, and accountability.
It also includes a deadline before which workflow should be completed. The automated version of the workflow is more precise and up to the point. All the necessary documents and decision making is done along the path which allows all the employees to perform their individual roles effectively.
Guideline to Creating a Workflow – #7 Steps to Follow
- Understand your requirement
- Tasks to be completed
- Assign employees
- Use a workflow diagram
- Implement the workflow and make changes
- Help employees understand the workflow
- Finalize process management
With the help of a workflow automation software, it is easier to implement all these steps and get the workflow running. The best aspect of this is that you need not have any coding knowledge but will still be able to create processes from scratch.
#1 Requirement Analysis
The first and foremost step is to understand the requirement. If the process is currently being handled using papers, it is time to adapt to the digital world. When teams are sending too many e-mails, it is time to switch those communication threads to a workflow software to save time and be more efficient.
A good workflow is a fine collaboration between the employees and the tasks they are handling. The decision-makers and those who are expected to approve will get timely notifications so that invoices or leaves are approved on time.
When requirement analysis is being done, it is necessary to talk to employees, approvers and others involved so as to make an informed decision. The processes manual or paper version could help create this new workflow in a digital format.
#2 Immediate Objectives
The purpose of having a workflow in place is to complete all the necessary tasks.
If an employee has requested a leave a week later, it is supposed to be approved within the time frame. Defining a deadline will be important to ensure the task structure is maintained and processes are completed because tasks like invoice clearance cannot be delayed.
The people involved in the approval process should be able to view the data and make a proper decision. A manager should be able to view the date on which an employee has requested the leave. The finance team should be able to view the total invoice requested, the allotted budget for the particular team or person and if required, they can also provide comments in the feedback box in case the claim is rejected.
#3 Assigning the Right Person
Having an appropriate individual in charge of a task at different steps will make a huge difference in its final output.
Some of the tasks such as invoice creation and specifying an amount can be fully automated. However, it should definitely be reviewed by the finance team first after which a superior authority such as the senior manager will be the one appropriate to approve such huge sums.
The key to creating a good workflow is to know the different people to be involved and notified throughout a workflow process. At the same time, it should be free of errors by specifying a limit on accountability. The team leader will have specific rights while a senior manager can do more. The CEO or CTO should be brought into the picture if it involves dealing with a huge investment or client-related decisions to be made.
In smaller tasks such as leave approvals, a team leader can approve or reject it based on specific criteria. Everyone else involved in the process may not need to edit the criteria but can be allowed to view it. Team members from the finance and HR team can view it to know the number of leaves availed as well as the type of leave an employee has opted for.
#4 Flowcharts or Workflows are Best Represented in Diagrams
After completing the basic steps of creating a workflow, the initiation begins with a diagram.
The entire team as well as the person creating it should be able to understand the different things they would achieve through this workflow. A simple flowchart-like diagram should be more than enough to understand the context.
A digital drawing tool, a simple one should help you complete this workflow diagram. The digital version makes it easier to share it with everyone over an e-mail message and get feedback. Any errors or discrepancies reported by team members or the employees should always be taken into account so as to make necessary changes.
#5 Deploy the Workflow
There is no better way to find out if a workflow actually works in real-life scenarios. Deploying it among the employees and asking them to follow the online procedure is the best way to find out if there are any changes to be made.
The creator may have covered all major points and confirmed it to be the final version. In most cases, you may have to make changes until it is practically applicable. The workflow that looks great on paper may not have the same result in an actual process to be completed. Request feedback from employees and improve the deployed one.
#6 Provide Training to Everyone
Some changes can be made in the workflow to make it easier to navigate and implement. However, people are always afraid of change and they wouldn’t immediately budge to a new announcement. It is essential to provide them the training and some support on how to adopt this change as it will be their future.
Help employees understand by providing blueprints of how the workflow was created and their responsibility in particular tasks. The specific role and their commitment will ensure quality is maintained at every point of time. Once they get a hang of the new normal, they can always be able to make changes to it digitally and adopt the new workflow style implemented by the organization.
#7 Finalize the Process
When everything is in place, it is finally time to make the announcement and let employees know this is how work should be carried out. While there is always scope to introduce new workflows whenever required, it is better to stick to the old implementation format that includes training and tweaking the process as well as getting employees accustomed to change.
The existing workflows should always be monitored closely as there will always be room for improvement. If there are any changes in policy or the requirement, update or add a new one to keep the process going.
What is the Purpose of Using Workflows?
Workflows are often discussed along with business processes and the comparison emerges from the fact that they are essential to carry out a process effectively. A workflow can be really complex or very simple based on requirements. They are also useful in a range of applications as they,
- Promote accountability
- Bring in clarity to the process
- Simplify complex tasks
- Identify bottlenecks
- Provide comprehensive reports
- Remove manpower from redundant tasks
- Improve efficiency
The power of a workflow software as Cflow will be evident when you are using it and creating workflows with no coding knowledge. The employees will be able to use it in every team and there is no need to have a developer on board to create workflows from scratch.