The importance of workflow management

GUEST REVIEWS: Manual workflows take time and cost organizations money, efficiency and effectiveness. They are error prone and can create a heavy workload for staff members. Workflow automation overcomes these challenges and turns mundane business processes into drivers of growth and sustainability.

Most companies are aware of this and have at least initiated digital transformation efforts. However, many businesses overlook the criticality of these workflows, which means they miss out on opportunities to dramatically improve business efficiency.
Transforming those workflows starts with understanding each of the steps involved and then determining where bottlenecks and opportunities for error might arise. These can point to workflows or parts of them that could benefit from digitization and automation.

In most business workflows, there are different steps that need to be done correctly, in the correct order. For example, an invoice is received, verified against purchase orders and goods received, signed by an approver, forwarded to finance for payment, and ultimately paid.

When this process is completed manually, someone needs to open the envelope or email (depending on whether the invoice was sent on paper or as an email attachment). They then read the invoice, noting key details such as purchase order numbers, invoice amount (possibly including specific items), and payment due date. The worker should then compare this information with the purchase order in their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to ensure that all the details match and that the invoice is not a duplicate that has already been paid. At this point, they can send it to the authorized approver, who must approve the invoice for it to be paid. Then it can be entered into the ERP system and passed to the finance team for payment.
If any of these steps do not occur, the invoice will not be paid. If an error slips into any of these steps, an invoice could be paid in error, costing the business money.

Workflow management executes each of these steps sequentially and informs the parties involved when it is their turn to act. This means that workflows run transparently and are not delayed unnecessarily. Automating the process wherever possible allows staff members to focus on higher value-added or income-generating activities. For example, the organization can implement a workflow that automatically examines emails, extracts digital invoices, and compares them to purchase orders and goods received. Hard-copy emails can be scanned and automatically enter the workflow at this point. This approach means that the approver only receives invoices that match existing records. It also means that a human does not have to perform these checks, which eliminates the possibility of human error.
Solutions that automate workflows can also integrate reporting, increasing transparency and accountability across the business. And, with rule-based workflows automating simple tasks, staff can focus on exceptions and anomalies – a far more valuable use of their time than just doing repetitive tasks.

Businesses that automate these seemingly mundane and boring tasks with smart, metadata-driven information management solutions could gain significant cost and productivity benefits, which can help the business grow and compete in the marketplace. a difficult environment.

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