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Make seamless execution of workflows a reality with a workflow management system

  • Last Updated : April 20, 2023
  • 6 Min Read

Well-designed workflows add structure to your business operations. They automate repetitive tasks and produce consistent results. Poorly designed and implemented workflows, on the other hand, have the opposite effect—they cause long processing times, high operating costs, and continuous errors.

Are we giving the right amount of attention to managing workflows for our business?

What's the correlation between workflow management and seamless business operations?

Workflow management is required to ensure everyone is working to capacity and that things are moving forward. Its primary objective is to streamline each stage of a process, so that it's carried out more accurately and effectively. When it comes to increasing production, reducing errors, and eliminating repetition, workflow management is all about optimizing, enhancing, and automating processes whenever it is practical.

Gartner predicts that, by 2024, 69% of day-to-day management processes will be fully automated.

However, first things first.

What does a workflow management system do?

A workflow management system helps your organization optimize operational efficiency by streamlining day-to-day business processes. For example, a workflow management solution may entail developing a form to store data and automating a series of steps that the data must take before being fully processed. Workflow tasks can be carried out by either a system or manually. 

Business operations are more closely aligned with corporate goals when key business process activities are automated. Automating operations eliminates all of the issues that a manual workflow system has. Streamlined workflows thus significantly enhance a business's productivity and key performance indicators.

There are three basic components of a workflow management system. They are:

  • Sequential: A workflow has a series of steps, which are predefined groups of tasks. Until the endpoint, they clarify what occurs at each step of the workflow. Depending on the process, a step may be manual or automated.
  • Stakeholders: Generally, stakeholders are responsible for carrying out certain tasks in the workflow. The workflow can be broken down into individual steps, groups of steps, or all of them—and each step is given a set of stakeholders.
  • Rules: Rules are also known as conditions, because they specify when one action is complete and what the next step should be. Conditions are most significant in approval workflows, where certain stages are skipped based on the data.

Now the big question:

What is the NEED for a workflow management system?

By eliminating tedious tasks and expediting response times, workflow management systems boost productivity and customer satisfaction, and reduce employee frustration.

It's impossible to overstate how much innovation and rapid product delivery are essential to today's business operations. Successful businesses are continually looking for methods to reorganize their company structures and streamline their operations to stay on top of current market standards. By using a comprehensive workflow management system, your business can achieve all this.

Top 5 features every workflow management system must have:

  1. No-code workflows to make your life easier
  2. Cloud-based tech: Anytime, anywhere
  3. Seamless integrations
  4. Role-based access to define your role better
  5. Customization: The real game changer
No-code workflows to make your life easier

A no-code workflow system enables users to visually automate processes or workflows and package them as custom applications without coding. With key features—such as intuitive drag-and-drop form builders, visual workflows, and dashboards—it enables everyone in your workforce to complete approvals and even create new workflows, without having to depend on the development team's support.

Cloud-based tech: Anytime, anywhere

Cloud technology has completely transformed the way we work. It has eliminated the need for your team to be tied to a single computer—allowing them to access their work from anywhere and at any time. Full access to all files submitted inside the cloud-based workflow system enables and ensures a seamless process and helps business owners make informed decisions quickly.

Seamless integrations

Integrations help fill gaps and eliminate redundancies—such as entering data multiple times—and cannot exist separately from other business processes. It also helps with the seamless flow of data from one piece of software to another. As a result, it's essential to integrate it with other apps. Utilizing your other apps to take part in workflows is paramount. A good workflow management tool should complement your existing stack rather than complicate it.

Role-based access to define your role better

Different users may use the app for different purposes. Traditionally, core business processes involve multiple departments. As a result, admins need to assign access and actions based on a person's role within the system.

Depending on the role, different people will possess different responsibilities and access rights. A workflow management system will let you clearly define what each user can see and edit. And the best part? The workflow can be quickly changed at any time, without worrying about breaking or affecting the overall process, which lets you perform your tasks more seamlessly.

Customization: The real game changer

Business requirements will differ from one organization to another. As a result, your workflow management system must enable you to tailor your workflows to your ever-changing business requirements. The platform must provide complete flexibility to establish a connection to other workflows, design the reports and dashboards you require, and schedule notifications and escalations as needed. Your workflow management system should also support personal tasks, so that users don't have to switch between apps to log a small, one-time task for themselves.

Why should you consider using a workflow management system?

Workflows are critical to business operations and can be the key to solving all your issues, from automating routine tasks to boosting organizational efficiency.

Here are some of the benefits of having a workflow management system:
  • Automate on the go: Get rid of redundant tasks
  • Keep tabs: Improve your time management
  • Take control: Greater transparency into your workflows
  • Flexibility, agility, scalability: For anything you might need
  • Multi-task easily: No more roadblocks

Workflow management vs project management

A workflow is a consistent, redundant set of activities within an organization. In contrast, a project is a short-term activity designed to either deliver a new function or service, or improve an existing function, service, or entity. For long-term projects, teams use workflow management, whereas for one-time projects, teams use project management.

Workflow management progress is sequential, whereas project management progress is not. Workflow management tasks are consistent in their focus on the overall goals of the organization. In contrast, the functions listed in project management vary depending on the project requirements.

Workflow management best practices

1) Understand your workflow management system 

It's essential to understand the capabilities of your workflow management system. Utilize the system to the fullest extent possible, to position yourself to optimize, rethink, and even eliminate outdated workflows. Similarly, identify activities that can be eliminated or automated to improve workflow efficiency.

2) Visualize your workflows

Workflow visualization uses visual flows to provide a high-level view of the process sequence. While some workflows are simple to grasp, others are more complicated—especially when first introduced. While incorporating process steps, users can drag and drop workflow elements into place. Visually appealing workflows also simplify the planning process and facilitate team members to identify bottlenecks on the go. As a result, the team becomes more productive and effective.

3) Streamline workflows 

Workflows ought to be flexible and agile. Create simple workflows for employees to follow, and keep an eye out for shortcuts that indicate the need or potential for streamlining. Every step in your workflow is critical, but not equally so. The first step is crucial, because it kicks off the entire workflow, simplifying it accordingly. It's also vital to prioritize based on other important factors like execution time and the required effort.

Learn all about workflows here.

Why choose Zoho Creator to build your workflow management system?

Zoho Creator is a cloud-based workflow management platform that allows users to build complex workflows with its simple drag-and-drop interface. With features, like third-party integrations, user-based access controls, and guided scripting, make it easier to design and automate any complex business workflows for every process. Using Zoho Creator's workflow platform, you can get more done in less time and build scalable workflow solutions more seamlessly.

We have helped 14,000+ brands create bespoke workflows and improve their end-to-end operations across a variety of industries. With over 25 years of experience in catering to B2B organizations, we have the best tools in the trade to help you improve your business. Sign up for free and get started with Zoho Creator - the power of creation!

Get Started with Zoho Creator

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  • Aishwarya

    Aishwarya is a content marketer at Zoho. Apart from creating content, she loves to read and watch sci-fi and crime thrillers, travel, and basically can't survive without coffee.

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