ERP/U2 Topic 10 Workflow Management Systems
Workflow management software is a software application designed for setting up and monitoring a defined set of tasks along with its sequence. It helps users in collaborating and automating processes, as well as in defining different workflows for different types of processes and applications. Workflow management software also helps in reducing the manual efforts involved and in automating redundant tasks.
Every workflow management software makes use of a workflow engine, which helps in creating and modifying the different tasks in the system. It also makes use of the necessary IT and human resources based on the functionality and time, as well as taking care of scheduling the different activities involved in different processes.
Workflow management software provides a well-planned, structured and centralized approach for managing business processes, and can help in reducing the resources involved in the process. It is capable of increasing parallel run tasks, unlike with a manual process.
Workflow management software reduces the time needed for transferring pending work between tasks and allows for continual tracking and notification. It also greatly reduces the costs associated with documentation involving paper and manual interventions.
It is not difficult to implement, and allows business processes to continue without major modifications in the application. It brings in continuous business improvements; streamlining and simplification of business processes can be easily tackled, as it provides good process control.
This software helps improve customer service as consistency in doing tasks allows greater predictability in customer response levels. It also allows more flexibility to meet business needs, as well as providing support for runtime functions, built time functions and runtime interaction functions.
It does the following:
- Enables individuals to streamline repetitive processes
- Allows creating and assigning tasks
- Provides an infrastructure where tasks can be defined and executed
- Defines the tasks involved in each step of the process
- Automatically follows up on unfinished tasks in the process
- Synchronizes tasks in every stage of the process chain
- Sets up, executes and monitor workflows, and adapts to changes along the way
- Coordinates the operation of individual components that constitute the workflow
- Provides overall visibility of the workflow along with performance metrics
- Combines a number of tools into one easy to use platform
- Helps users keep up and keep tab of sequences in operation
- Provides individuals the needed information to perform tasks effectively wherever they may be
- Provides tailored solutions to fit your business process
- Allows operation staff to adjust and update process model to follow changes in an evolving business process
- Allows custom email notifications regarding workflow status to concerned individuals
- Allows integration of other systems into the process model to reduce errors from manually copying information
There are several benefits of workflow management software. Here are some of them:
- Mobile access. Most workflow management software is now web-based which gives your employees easy access to data on any device with internet access. Many offer an app for offline workflow to allow users to keep working even when there is no internet connection. Likewise, it allows multiple employees to access the system simultaneously.
- Revenue and reporting. Workflow management software offer tools for users to assess jobs and related daily expenses. It helps provide you with up to date information every day, so you can resolve any concerns early to compensate and improve margins. Reporting dashboards and tools let you see snapshots across your entire company, as well as drill down into specific details.
- Affordable packages. Most workflow management software, especially cloud or web-based, are offered via budget-friendly monthly subscription plans. You can pay a one-time activation fee for a new account that comes with the use of the software, setup costs if any, and training.
- Ease of use. Having good features does not equate with easy operation. We always advise that you try before you buy by checking out the free trials of the many workflow management software offered to find out for yourself if they are responsive, easy to use, operate, and navigate.
Below are some of the advantages you can gain with workflow management software.
- Automated operation. Automation features in workflow management software can provide employees with the opportunity to work on non-repetitive tasks and expand their skill levels. It keeps employees more involved in tasks and the production process, aside from getting things done faster and without human error.
- Improved accountability. Workflow management system clearly shows which tasks are required, who is to perform them, and when the task should be completed. When tasks and goals are clearly defined, everyone can smoothly go about their work without management intervention unless absolutely necessary. This enhances management and employee relations. Also, databases can keep records of what has occurred in the system, allowing management to conduct audit if needed.
- Streamlined processes. Improved workflow can provide valuable insights into the steps and stages that go into a process. Some platforms can determine when two tasks can be completed simultaneously instead of sequentially, and can discover if some steps are unnecessary. This gives companies more informed choices to match specific tasks with relevant skills, rather than just picking someone who is free to do a task at a given time.
- Enhanced communication. A main reason for employee turnover is poor inter-office communication. Workflow management system is designed for automation, collaboration and task tracking so everyone is aware of what is happening, who is doing what task in what stage, and what will happen next in the process chain. This visibility into processes fosters clear coordination and communication lines to keep things running like a well-oiled machine.
- Shortened process times. Workflow management systems speed up tasks from starting a project to having it approved internally. The software can be set to notify employees if a deadline is approaching or a target has been missed. Team leaders can use the system to notify all concerned employees of any new projects, guidelines, or changes in schedule. The software optimizes the number one resource available – time – and gives the company the momentum to move on to new projects consistently.