Need for Workflow Tracking
Although processes and workflows may depict two different things, it is important that they are in sync with each other. Business processes involve a series of related actions, broken down into individual tasks. Workflow on the other hand refers to the routing of these processes, incorporating a range of tools that enable them to flow smoothly in real-time.
In simple terms, processes or procedures are a definition of what should happen, and a workflow is what actually happens. Combining these two maximizes the operational benefits that a business can achieve. Workflow management is a method used to improve business process management. Here are 5 indicators that you need to track your processes closely:
• Your processes are ridden with errors, bottlenecks, and delays – if you are seeing unexplained delays too often in your workflows, or bottlenecks occurring way too often, or an increased incidence of errors, then it is time to track your workflows for the cause of issues.
• Important documents are missing or damaged – archaic business processes involve a lot of paperwork that is difficult to track and maintain. Businesses using such processes are prone to lose or damage to important paper documents. If you are looking to replace physical documentation with digital documentation, then workflow automation is something you need to focus on.
• Team members are spending too much time on mundane activities – the repetitive steps in any business process can stress out team members and keep them from working on meaningful tasks.
• Process outcomes are below expected performance standards – if business processes have been performing below par levels then you need to recheck the process workflows. And to recheck process workflows, you need to use workflow tracking tools that map out the existing process to find out issues that need to be fixed.
• Businesses are mostly in firefighting mode rather than being productive – the team spends more time-solving issues rather than improving business productivity. Tracking the process closely would help in root cause analysis of key business processes.
Benefits of Workflow Tracking
Now that we know why we need to track and manage business processes, let us move on to the benefits of using workflow tracking software. The direct benefits of tracking your business processes are time and cost savings. Here is a list of the advantages gained by using workflow tracking software:
Complete visibility of workflow – workflow status tracking software enables users to open any workflow, see the status of tasks, and drill down to the status of individual tasks. Users can get real-time updates on which tasks are completed, pending, or stalled. Complete details including the date and time stamp of tasks, who is working on which task, and other performance specifics can be derived from this software.
Performance tracking – when users get complete details on the tasks, they are in a position to track the performance status of each task and the overall process. For example, if a task is stalled for want of input from the preceding task, users can get to know the point the process is stalled. Identifying this point enables them to make corrective action immediately before the process flow is affected.
Workflow audit – workflow tracking software enables secure storage of data in a relational database. Reports and information on the process and tasks are provided to users in real-time. These reports are made available to users whenever it is needed. Visual reports and dashboards paint a complete picture of the process, which can be shared around the organization.
Workload management – workflow tracking software helps identify bottlenecks and workload issues immediately. Reassignment of tasks to employees in order to clear the bottlenecks and also ensure optimal usage of resources for maximum process productivity.
Workflow tracking tools – empower users to stay informed about task and process statuses in real-time. Tracking process workflows is essential for mapping out business processes and streamlining them to improve efficiency.
Essential Components of Workflow Management
To accomplish the end goal of a business process, you need to have workflow-tracking software that tracks the status of every task and ensures that the outcomes are aligned with the overall organizational goal. The essential components of workflow management software are:
Clearly defined, repeatable process –
processes that are of the rinse-and-repeat nature are best suited for workflow tracking. Every workflow management software should transform a task or a process into a repeatable and predictable project.
Macro-level view of processes –
the workflow tracking tool must provide a macro-level view of the status of all the processes through an intuitive dashboard. To optimize workflows using workflow management software, users need to be able to monitor project or process progress over time.
Integration with business apps –
The smooth flow of tasks and projects is the main aim of workflow management. All the business processes need to communicate seamlessly with each other for smooth operations. The workflow tracking software must integrate with other business apps to streamline and automate tasks.
Analytics and Reporting –
for evaluating the success of the workflow tracking software you need to have real-time reports and analytics of the key performance parameters. The workflow tracking software must have a reporting feature that helps determine how successful and productive was the implementation of automated processes. Based on the performance feedback in the form of reports and analytics, you can continue to iterate on the workflow and process.
The simplicity of usage –
simplicity and ease of use of the workflow software are pivotal to successful implementation. Having workflow software that can be understood and operated only by a selective group of employees is considered a failure. Such software leads to inefficiencies that may impede the future growth of the business. Choosing process automation tools that are user-friendly and simple enough for everyone ensures that the staff is motivated and empowered.
Drag and drop workflow template design –
process workflow templates are a critical component of workflow software. The template designs must be visually appealing and user-friendly. Complex design templates cause unnecessary confusion and inefficiencies. Moreover, over-complicated template layouts can be counter-productive for the business. Templates that not only look good but are also easy to use, are a must for a workflow software.
Built-in mobility –
workflow tracking and management systems must support mobile functionality. Without any coding on your part, the layout must look good on mobile. The mobile design must be intuitive and easy to use.
Improvement and collaboration –
your workflow software should enhance team performance and collaboration. The software must establish a seamless communication system that promotes collaboration among team members. The software must provide a centralized view and access to process data so that the entire team is on the same page.
Notifications and reminders –
team members must be notified on time about the tasks that are assigned to them. Workflow tracking software enables customization of these alerts and notifications and sends them out in a timely manner.