Old-fashioned, manual workflows are in some ways like old, neglected haunted houses in that they can inspire trepidation. In fact, when things go wrong because a workflow is inefficient or doesn’t take advantage of available technology, the consequences can be downright scary!
Here are the five scariest moments in the life of a manual workflow, and how you can keep them from happening to you.
1. The Missed Deadline
Missed deadlines can be anything from annoying (a memo goes out a day late) to life-altering (an attorney misses a court deadline for a client). You would think with all our calendar apps nobody would ever miss a deadline, but it still happens far too often. Automated workflows that incorporate automatic deadline alerts ahead of time can prevent many a missed deadline. And when those alerts can go out to the proper recipients’ mobile device, the likelihood of missing a deadline drops even more.
2. The Unauthorized Workflow Participant
This isn’t necessarily sinister in intent. Maybe you need for a report to be delivered to someone’s desk upstairs, but you’re locked into a conference call or meeting. So you ask the new intern to deliver it, only they deliver it to the wrong person’s desk. The potential for confusion is great, and luck will play a major role in how quickly you’re able to get the workflow back on track. Automated workflows can be designed specifically to be accessed by authorized personnel, and moreover, can take care of the task of delivering documents electronically, where they won’t go astray.
3. The Document Left on the Copier
Who knows how many original documents have been left on copier platens over the decades? If you do this, and you’re lucky, you realize what has happened right away and can go back and retrieve the document before anything can happen to it. If you’re not so lucky, the document may be picked up by someone else or thrown out, which can be a big deal if the document contains sensitive information. With automated workflow software, you can ensure that the right people are automatically cc’d on important documents without ever going near the copier.
4. The Duplicated Effort
Suppose your organization has a subscription to an industry database, with a fixed cost for each document downloaded. Further suppose that someone in Department A downloads a document, which is automatically paid for out of your subscription account. A day or two later, someone in Department B downloads the identical document, not knowing that someone downloaded it just a couple of days before and could have shared. Now you’ve paid for two documents when you could have only paid for one. An automated workflow that coordinates such activities can include a step to search for prior downloads to see if the organization already has a copy before paying for yet another copy.
5. The Forgotten Approval
In some organizations, particularly those associated with government agencies and contractors, approval cycles can be extensive. A report may have to be approved by six different people before the document can be given to the print shop to make bound copies. But what if, in all that approval cycle whirlwind, the report author forgets about obtaining one of those approval signatures? It might not make much difference, but then again, it might. Not only do approving authorities not like being forgotten, having the right approval signatures can be critical if an audit occurs and blame needs to be assigned accurately. Automated workflows can keep this type of thing from happening.
If your organization has a veritable witches brew of different manual workflows, you could be in for some scary outcomes. PerfectApps allows non-technical users to Create Online Forms and automated workflows through an intuitive user interface in which no programming is required.
Workflow processes can be designed to automatically proceed to the next step when a previous step is completed and can send out automated alerts so anyone involved in a workflow will know exactly when their input is needed. Backstops can be built in so that a workflow won’t proceed until all approvals are obtained, and entire workflows can be completed without ever handling paper. We invite you to watch our demo video and see what PerfectApps can do. We promise it won’t be scary viewing.