All organizations understand the importance of workflow – the order in which they get things done. But relatively few know just how important it is to get this aspect of business right. Firms that don’t pay attention to how tasks link together can wind up hemorrhaging cash and losing competitiveness.
Quality workflows eliminate inefficiencies and give staff the tools they need to work. Poorly designed flows, by contrast, lead to wasted time, pointless admin work, and delays.
So what are the biggest workflow problems you might have in your business:
- Communicating with customers. Keeping up to date with customers isn’t easy. They might explain their situation to one colleague, but that doesn’t mean that everyone in the organization automatically knows the intricacies of their condition. That’s not how it works. However, quality workflows facilitate cross-team communication so that reps can pick up where their colleagues left off.
- Sharing tasks. Sometimes you need to divide tasks between employees and departments. Most firms, however, don’t have systems in place to do this, creating all manner of confusion among staff. Nobody knows who is doing what and when. It’s not that there’s a problem with the technology. It’s just that most firms don’t have the skills they need to pull it off.
- Poor data capture. Data dashboards are becoming increasingly popular in the business world, but many firms still aren’t using them. Or, if they are, they’re not using user-friendly ad-hoc reporting systems that non-specialists can handle, slowing down reporting.
- Permissions issues. Companies need to be able to assign permissions for security reasons. Most of the time, it doesn’t make sense to apply blanket access to everyone in the organization. Only a few people actually need to access various data and subsystems. However, using permissions is a massive challenge, and often something that IT pros have to do at the server level.
- Off-site access. With the rise of BYOD, we see more and more companies adopting off-site working models. However, connecting employees with all the resources they need is a big challenge not to be taken lightly.
Fixing workflow problems usually requires the help of a custom software development company. You need people who can turn generic applications into solutions that specifically cater to the needs of your organization.
Practically every firm has different workflow needs, even if they operate in the same industry. Variation in products, services, and experience means that there’s always room for better software that does things that off-the-shelf varieties do not.
It’s worth pointing out that these changes can be subtle and small. But when you add them all up, they can make a big difference. Just reducing the number of clicks that employees must perform can dramatically enhance productivity, allowing you to automate pointless tasks that used to take up precious time.
Often, these changes also make your colleagues happier. Once you fix impediments to getting tasks done, it improves morale and helps workers spend less time on the job, and more on their other projects.