If you’ve hung around an office for any amount of time, you probably know that a workflow is a collection of events or tasks that must be completed to achieve a particular goal. That may sound vague, but it applies to just about every project within a business organization. Ideally, workflows are somewhat automated within an organization, creating a systematized pattern that increases productivity and efficiency for the business.
Workflow challenges in the modern world
In a perfect world, every project would fall into a workflow, making it easy to train new employees and launch new products. In the real world, project managers are often assigned to jobs that entail complex processes to create and manage the workflow. The challenges that come with designing, managing and tracking different stages of a project can sometimes negatively affect efficiency, however. Producing a seamless flow, delegating tasks and following up on progress can be tricky, especially when there are many moving parts and team members. When organizations go global and coworkers are operating in different offices, cities or even countries, the challenges can exponentially grow.
Simplifying workflow issues
One of the benefits of modern technology is that it involves workflow management applications that can solve the problems created by global enterprise. Workflow management applications help organizations manage every aspect of a workflow, from designing a project to checking the job off as complete.
Some workflow management applications help automate different aspects of the workflow. When one process is complete, the other automatically starts. However, workflow apps don’t always move in a linear fashion. Applications that automate workflows can also schedule certain tasks, add items to calendars, assign projects, track time management and send out reminders, among other things. This all happens behind the scenes as employees are focusing on what they need to, which is the task at hand.
Social workflow management apps
It can be hard to be one cog on a machine of moving parts when you need to collaborate with the other parts in order to make the whole machine operate. The need to check in with others or obtain approval before moving forward can stop you in your tracks, making for an unproductive, inefficient workflow. Workflow management apps can help facilitate collaboration between all the moving parts. Some apps are particularly social, allowing for various ways to like and comment on different aspects of the project in real time. This removes the need for long, tedious meetings or gatherings where everyone working on the project must remain in close physical proximity.
The flexible working style that has become commonplace in this century creates the need for mobile document management. You can’t drag your desk around with you, and you certainly can’t be accessing paper files when you’re traveling abroad or working from a coffee shop. Many workflow apps provide cloud-based storage that allows you to access all of your documents and forms from the road. Some go even further to let you log into the same interface you use at work so you can feel like you’re in the office no matter where you are.
Although different workflow management applications focus on different aspects of project management, many provide multiple benefits in one. For example, an ideal app for many organizations would automate workflows, allow coworkers to access the same documents from any location and give them the ability to collaborate on tasks. These applications are making it easier to get more done in less time, allowing the brains behind the business to focus on growing their bottom line, not just running the day-to-day routines.