Achieving efficiency at work is always a challenge, but the right workflow management software can help you get there. Every team needs a strong workflow to adhere to, whether they are agile teams, cross-functional teams, old-fashioned teams, or modern teams. When you have a solid software platform to keep things running smoothly, that possibility becomes very real.
For maximum effectiveness, teams can streamline and accelerate their standard business processes by using the appropriate software or app. However, because there are, quite frankly, too many options to choose from, it is more difficult than ever to find a workflow management software that meets the needs of your team and business.
Why do you need workflow management?
At work, an employee is distracted from work 56 times every day on average and it takes them 2 hours to recover from these interruptions. A new study by Zippia in the US indicates that the typical employee is productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes per day. That just makes up 31% of a typical 8-hour workday. Because they are distracted for most of the workday, most employees feel unproductive. Moreover, meetings are ineffective and unproductive, according to 71% of managers. 65% claimed that meetings prevent them from doing their own work. Meetings, according to 64%, prevent people from thinking deeply. More time is wasted as employees write lengthy emails, complete spreadsheets, search through tons of other information to find the required paper, and so on.
This is where workflow management comes in. Workflow management helps you fight distraction, schedule tasks, and optimize processes within the company. Workflow management software will help you simplify and manage workflow, whether you require automation for internal processes, sales, customer support, or marketing.
What is workflow management software?
Before we explain workflow management software, let’s break down the term and just start with “workflow”.
Workflow is a repetitive sequence of actions carried out over time in a sequential fashion that enables people and systems to accomplish a certain goal. A significant component of managing a successful business is establishing procedures and making sure they are implemented properly.
Most processes are intricate and comprise numerous steps, such as information transfer and interactions between various individuals and organizational departments.
A sample label design workflow diagram.
Let’s say that you are designing a concept for a website or an app user interface design. Often, such tasks will be broken down as follows.
- The management has a meeting with the marketing team to brainstorm ideas. After a couple of meetings, a concrete idea is made.
- The brand contacts the design team. The design team can be an in-house team. However, in most cases, brands onboard an external design agency. The idea is discussed over a couple more meetings.
- The brand shares their assets with the design team who then provides the first draft.
- The project manager shares the draft with the necessary stakeholders who will provide feedback on the design.
- The manager has a meeting with the design team explaining to them the feedback and the necessary refinements.
- The design team sends in the next draft.
- Step 4 through 6 are then repeated till the final design is made.
Such a workflow has multiple stakeholders across multiple departments. Often there are multiple businesses involved. This complexity causes inconsistency, decreased productivity, and inefficiency. “Are we operating as efficiently and effectively as possible as a company?” is a question we must ask.
Workflow management aims to comprehend and identify the tasks that must be carried out, the sequence in which they must be completed, the parties involved, the systems being used, and the rules being adhered to.
Finally, you can use workflow management software to avoid handling all the tasks manually. With its features, you can automate tasks and give project team members the ability to create, update, and track tasks as they progress.
What should you look for in an effective workflow management software?
To make your work more efficient complete workflow solutions are designed to handle complex processes like
- Identify the connections between the tasks
- Make and control subtasks
- Create a repeating task for a certain time or date.
- Give someone (or more) a task to complete.
- import a task list from a different file
The following qualities should be present in WMS to handle those responsibilities effectively:
#1 A no-code system
Workflow management systems should offer the best user experience while attempting to clean up disorganized processes. A good WMS automates all complex processes, allowing even non-technical people to create, modify, and manage workflows. The software solution should come with an intuitive workflow designer for creating a workflow. It should also have the necessary workflow management tools that allow workflow tracking. The addition of pre-made editable workflow templates to your system will also be very beneficial.
#2. Conditional logic systems
Using conditional logic, you can program your processes to display variable tasks based on the data you record.
For instance, let’s go back to the example of a concept for a website or an app user interface design. When the design team sends in a design, the design is automatically forwarded to the stakeholders for feedback. Now, depending on the feedback from the stakeholder, the design process will either move on to the next stage, or will revert to the previous stage. Implementing this workflow requires a conditional branch. In a no-code system, even non-technical users should find it simple to create conditional branches. Using design process diagrams, the users can easily design such workflows.
#3. Should be a cloud-based solution
In 2022, the advantages of using SaaS technology are clear and don't require extensive justification. Your team can work from anywhere, all tasks are updated and maintained on a regular basis, and you get more than just a one-time deal when you invest in making your workflow management solution cloud based.
#4. Extensive third-party API integration support
Businesses that are scaling typically adopt more solutions over time. Over time, businesses scale up by integrating with other series. Consequently, the capability of your chosen workflow management tool to integrate with these current solutions is crucial.
The best project management tools have numerous integrations, whether they are direct connections, use webhooks or application programming interfaces (APIs). The adaptable solution is simple - to integrate with many of the well-known business apps and services currently in use, including Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Salesforce, and Dropbox. Numerous project management vendors provide numerous integrations for connecting to other types of business software.
#5. Reporting and analytics
Key workflow data from various sources must be tracked and analyzed frequently by large teams. To successfully complete tasks and deliver projects, they require workflow management software with a reporting and analytics engine to show the following metrics:
- Typical processing time
- A typical task takes.
- Stages of tasks' completion
- Tasks assigned to each team member
- Bottlenecks or delays
- How efficiently a project has been completed.
Your WMS's reporting and analytics tools can be used to identify process bottlenecks or other signs of needed performance. They assist the team in developing a productivity-boosting strategy based on actual data.
What are the benefits of a workflow management solution?
Whether you are using workflow management to streamline your sales, or as a creative collaboration tool, here are seven key advantages.
#1. Reduced errors
There is no way to operate error-free. But you can get better at error detection and correction skills. With workflow management systems, it is simpler to stop errors before they start. And if they do, your system locates them precisely. The issues can be ironed out, and you can stop the same mistakes from happening again.
Workflow management solutions allow you to create workflows that are objective and precise. Every stakeholder has a clear idea of what to work on. This improves productivity and reduces errors.
#2. Enhanced collaborative capabilities
Like how communication tools connect people, workflow management tools connect work. Workflow management platforms such as Artwork Flow function as collaborative tools. A workflow system runs workflows between various stakeholders, and software tools. Employees typically need to use multiple applications to complete tasks. Workflow management programs serve as a connecting medium.
Taking the website or an app user interface design as an example, a workflow management tool can connect the design software, a secure cloud storage, a version control system, and a proofing solution that stakeholders operate on.
Moreover, a workflow management system slowly gathers information about how work is done as you use it more frequently. The data can be used to enhance workflows. Create stronger connections between people and software to reduce errors.
#3. Enhanced efficiency
Teams spend less time sending emails and updating information in various tools because all workflows are automated. Employees are not required to wait impatiently for approvals to come through. They can follow the development in the workflow system and remain informed.
Is any feedback missing any important information? Employees can send it back to a person from the previous workflow step and even have contextual conversations within the tool. Information is not buried under a sea of irrelevant emails. Everything proceeds smoothly and quickly.
#4. Eliminate redundant manual tasks
Repetitive tasks cost the world $5 trillion annually. Office workers put in 69 days annually on routine tasks. Imagine how much more time you could use to complete other tasks that require human attention.
Workflow systems let you delegate tasks to pre-established rules. Set the system up to automatically assign tasks by causing certain conditions to be met. You can map the workflow for approvals to reach the appropriate job roles, for instance, if you already have a budget approval. You can even simplify the process of how to create a workflow. You can use templates to design multiple workflows for different projects in a matter of minutes.
#5. Easily handle multiple tasks
Everything is under one roof, whether you want to onboard multiple stakeholders, manage feedback requests, conduct internal surveys, or request marketing content.
Instead of using numerous project boards, chat programs, and emails, requests are neatly organized in one workflow system in accordance with various processes. With dashboards, you get a complete overview of how different tasks are progressing, which tasks are delayed and at what stage and so on.
#6. Improve trust and accountability
Each job role has incredibly clear responsibilities and outlined objectives. Employees are aware of their responsibilities, and managers feel confident assigning tasks to subordinates.
With more control over data accessibility than before, everything occurs in the open. Administrators have the option of displaying or hiding sensitive information from teams or job roles.
#7. Better workplace culture
There are already too many emails and messages being sent out because so many businesses now employ remote workers. A workflow tool aids in maintaining work organization and tracking. The workplace is more goal-driven and collaborative.
The practice of workflow management has the potential to spread throughout an organization and become ingrained in the workplace culture. You achieve your business objectives faster when everyone is on board with the concept of well-organized, streamlined procedures.
Get started with collaborative automation
Designing the right workflow management solution can be challenging. If you are looking for a creative collaboration solution that minimizes your team's efforts while also helping you drive quality content creation on shorter timelines, then Artwork Flow has everything your brand needs to grow. If you'd like to know more about how Artwork Flow can fit your business, get started with a free trial or book a quick demo with our experts today!