Business inefficiencies can slow growth and cost money.
Many businesses turn to automated workflows to increase efficiency and help prevent errors that can more easily enter into old-fashioned, manual workflows. While automated workflows are more efficient and accurate than manual ones, they sometimes have their own inefficiencies that prevent them from operating faster, which can needlessly slow down the pace of business.
Before you start using your workflow software to create workflows, take time up front to predict where inefficiencies can creep in, and design your workflows to avoid such inefficiencies. You won’t always get it right the first time, but good planning can help workflows run as efficiently as possible, right out of the gate. Here are four steps you can take to banish inefficiencies from your automated workflows.
1. Sketch Out Workflows with Help from End-Users
Automating workflows begins with understanding them from end to end. Sketching out workflows with help from the people who use them most can highlight inefficiencies and bottlenecks. Divide each workflow into its most elemental steps, and ask end-users where they tend to experience problems and why they think that is. Knowing where inefficiencies lie in wait is like knowing where the best fishing spots are: it makes catching them easier.
2. Capture and Route Information Efficiently
HR processes are prime candidates for workflow automation, because so many of them involve repetitive data entry. Imagine logging into an HR workflow (to schedule paid time off, for example) with just your employee ID number and having the right forms pop up with your name and other relevant employee information already filled in.
Automated workflows are great for capturing data one time and routing it to other necessary places in the workflow without further data entry. With the right workflow software, workflow data can be captured from any number of sources, including existing databases, emails, mobile apps, and websites.
3. Validate Data Right in Their Form Fields
Online forms magnify efficiency on their own. And when online form fields are “smart,” they improve workflow efficiency further. The right workflow software will allow you to specify which type of information goes into specific form fields, so that errors are caught before the form is even submitted.
Suppose you have a quick workflow for purchase orders under $500. You can use your workflow software to ensure that if someone enters a value into the purchase amount field for more than $500, it is flagged immediately, so the user can correct it or switch to a workflow for larger purchase orders. Validating form data upon entry saves time, reduces errors, and helps you maintain strong workflow efficiency.
4. Choose the Right Workflow Software
If your workflow software is mind-boggling, limited, or requires that you hire a programmer to use it, you’ll have a much harder time creating efficient workflows. Today you can choose workflow software that requires no programming and that allows you to draft, test, and perfect automated workflows before deploying them.
PerfectApps offers you an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface that you can use to create both customized online forms, and the workflows that handle them. It can draw data from sources like spreadsheets and databases, and use input data to auto-populate forms, to minimize or eliminate repetitive data entry. You can also design form fields to accept specific types of data, and to flag errors when wrong data is entered.
With PerfectApps, you can use automatic alerts to signal other workflow users that their input is needed, and you can collect workflow data for easy reporting later on. Best of all, you can test drive PerfectApps by signing up for a free trial . Workflow inefficiencies can cost your company money and time. PerfectApps offers you the tools you need to banish those inefficiencies.