Automation & Tools: What is workflow software?

Workflow software is an application that enables an organization to a certain level to automate and manage their business processes. The software allows for guided execution of day to day processes, task allocation and business management.

The software can be provided in a variety of manners and ways. This, with individual interpretations of what a comprehensive workflow solution should be, means that there are many variations of workflow software out there.


Why do we need it?

You do not NEED workflow software; your processes can be executed in person or via email. However, a growing and successful business should WANT workflow software. There are numerous advantages of a successful workflow/BPM implementation that can aid business growth and development considerably.

 

What are the benefits of using software to manage workflow?

With strong workflow management there are 3 core benefits:

Efficiency - Allocated tasks ensure people are aware of responsibilities, deadlines are adhered to and managed well. Keeping things running smoothly.

Output - With increased efficiency comes better output and organizational-wide performance.

Progression - Data collection is great, but only half of the task. You need to turn the data into results.

 


According to a 2004 Gartner survey on companies who had completed multiple BPM implementations, 80% of the respondents felt an increase in competitive advantage and claimed that BPM's value was higher than ERP, CRM, and SCM. 



How does it fit in with all other business data?

It is understood that you have your ERP and CRM systems to manage your other data, but is your generic business data being collected and shared to drive your business forward? If data does not fit into niche data systems, is it being left behind or simply dismissed?

The processes mentioned above may not directly fit into your ERP or CRM systems, if that is the case – are you getting the most out of your business data?

 

What will it cost you? Time, finance, man hours?

Any project implementation is going to cost you in the short term:

  • People hours to configure/set up
  • Cost of purchasing equipment, resources, consultants
  • Time to implement and learn a new system


Some setup and cost is inevitable, of course it is! It is important however to remember that you do not have to accept lots of this!

These are all key aspects that should be heavily considered and one thing a comprehensive solution should offer - something to remove all of the initial project implementation headaches before you have even started.