Digitization is often considered the best way to optimize workflows. In reality, taking an uninformed or impractical approach to going paperless can be just as or even more inefficient than maintaining analog workflows. It is important for the stakeholders in an organization to start out with a clear digital workflow definition, account for every aspect of a workflow and implement the right digital workflow platform to make a smooth transition with quantifiable improvements in terms of key performance indicators.
What Is a Digital Workflow?
A workflow is a series of steps taken by the stakeholders of an organization to achieve an objective. When computers or mobile devices used in field services are used to take these measures, a workflow is described as being digital. Some organizations may selectively implement digital methods while continuing to rely on paperwork for other actions, tasks or procedures that are not as error-prone, frequent and repetitive. Elements that have any of these properties tend to be the best candidates for digitization or automation. As a result, an enterprise may have an entirely digital workflow process or a hybrid workflow process that combines digital and analog elements.
While many organizations prioritize achieving a paperless workflow, approximately half of field service companies still rely partly or primarily on paper. The release of accessible and comprehensive workflow management software platforms such as Fluix has led a growing number of enterprises to realize how much time and labor can be saved by digitization and automation.
The most successful transitions to digital operations are based on accurate and detailed business process and workflow models. Stakeholders should start by dedicating time and resources to identifying and assessing every aspect of existing workflows and determining whether hybrid or fully digital operations are the best process-oriented goals.
A flow process chart is one of the most effective workflow mapping methods. This visual organizational model dates back to the mid-20th century. Whether an organization uses analog or digital methods to create a visual representation, stakeholders should account for every step in a workflow and be able to add details and observations at every point in the chart. Flow charts are helpful for supporting communication and promoting a shared understanding of the complex series of actions, tasks and procedures that form a workflow.
Perform a Workflow Audit
Most digitization and automation experts recommend that an organization undertake an organizational workflow audit prior to pursuing optimization. A workflow audit starts with identifying all of the elements of a workflow, situating each stage of the flow in sequence and accounting for all of the agents and resources involved. Each of the following elements is crucial to a thorough workflow audit:
- Workflow Procedures: Articulate actions and tasks necessary to achieve objectives.
- Pain Points: Identify parts of a workflow that pose challenges or strain resources.
- Productivity Bottlenecks: Point out where time or resources are being wasted.
- Automation Opportunities: Decide which procedures could be automated.
It is important to visually represent every action, task and procedure in a workflow on a chart, diagram or map. The ability to annotate a visual diagram can be useful for identifying and recording detailed observations about pain points, bottlenecks and the potential for integrating automated solutions. A visual layout makes it easier for organizational leaders and stakeholders to keep track of all of the component parts of procedures and analyze every aspect of a workflow.
During an audit, the leaders of an organization should make an effort to consult with the stakeholders who bear responsibility for performing actions and tasks on schedule. A bottom-up perspective can be more revealing of pain points and bottlenecks that may be resolved through digitization or automation. A top-down perspective is useful for processes but may not provide the level of detail necessary to make effective changes across workflows.
The process of classic business process management, improvement and reengineering also calls for challenging each step in a workflow. Traditional models recommend linking the inquiries of what-why, why-who, where-why, when-why and how-why. The answers stakeholders arrive at via this analytical approach are often more useful for comprehending every aspect of a workflow. Every detail gleaned through this process can be used to find effective digital workarounds or successfully implement automated solutions.
Pick a Digital Workflow Platform
Once an organization has a clear sense of its needs, it is time to look for the best workflow management software. Fluix is a full-featured solution suitable for organizations and field service companies of any size. If a workflow audit identifies the need for more reliable document distribution with alerts or modifications to approval processes and digital signature workflow, this platform has all of the utilities an organization needs to optimize productivity.
Most organizations stand to benefit from an enterprise-grade software platform that supports customizable workflows, remote access and the highest security standards. A platform that is accessible and easy to use can shorten the implementation process and make it easier to introduce and fine-tune automated aspects of actions, tasks and procedures.
One of the most useful elements of a robust workflow management platform is the generation of an audit trail. Detailed, time-stamped records that acknowledge manual user input are the best available data for monitoring changes made to increase accuracy and efficiency. These changes at the level of organizational workflow have the potential to help an organization meet procedural objectives.
Prioritize Relevant KPIs
The KPIs of an organization will vary on the basis of workflow process priorities. In some cases, an organization may want to focus on maintaining more accurate records that are accessible to authorized parties anywhere at any time. Other organizations may prioritize accuracy or faster turnaround of particular procedures or workflows. The Fluix platform is an all-in-one solution that supports the digitization and efficient completion of actions and tasks that previously introduced inaccuracy or inefficiency to workflows.
Detailed record-keeping capabilities and support for leading analytics platforms found in Fluix enable an organization to continue to update and improve workflows and visual representations to correspond to changing process-level goals. This platform stands out as one of the best resources for streamlining business processes that were formerly disparate or fragmented and ensuring that important information is available to stakeholders when and where it is needed most.
Making a successful switch from a paper-based workflow to a digital workflow platform requires the right approach and resources for planning and implementation. Fluix workflow management software is a centralized platform with built-in support for automation, document distribution, form filling, signature collection and other essential tasks. Discover the capabilities of this enterprise-grade solution and get a free trial to pursue digitization with the most powerful software.