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Imagine a typical day at work. Everything in the organization is going at a usual pace. Now, the production manager raises a requirement for a new type of raw material. The demand goes straight to the purchasing department, which gets transferred to the finance department for budget approval. And finally, the order is placed.

However, it isn’t a cakewalk as it sounds.

While already very busy in his day-to-day activities, the purchase manager looks for the sources to acquire the raw material. Compares the prices and quotes the same to the finance department. Which then gets approved by the finance manager if it is under the necessary budget limitations.

Once it gets approved, it goes back to the purchasing department for placing the order.

As these tasks happen manually in an organization, mistakes are common, and a workflow management system comes into the picture. A workflow management system makes processes like this smoother, automated, unambiguous, and systematic. Gartner predicts 69% of the routine work currently done by managers will be fully automated by 2024.

Let us take a deeper dive into understanding workflow management software.

What is a Workflow Management?

Workflow management is documenting and organizing a task in a series of steps to be carried out smoothly and efficiently in an organization. A workflow automation system gives users the autonomy and ability to map out activities, find out gaps, systematize activities that are passing from one person to another, automate tasks and optimize the overall operations in the company.  of business leaders say they plan to accelerate the automation of repetitive tasks within their organization.

What are the benefits of Workflow Management System?

A workflow management system facilitates smooth working in your organization by establishing transparent and clear work processes. It enables you to optimize current business processes and complete them more efficiently and quickly. The list below are the benefits of a workflow management system:

  • Transparent system: With clarity in steps to be undertaken in organized series and customized job assignments according to the role, job, app data, and more; a workflow management system establishes an unambiguous working environment for everyone.
  • Keep a track and get more insight: A workflow management software will enable managers to oversee the tasks’ progress, status, steps involved, assignees etc. Making it super easy for managers to get clearer insights.
  • Eliminating redundancy: With the top-level view of every task undertaken with the workflow system, managers can simply find out the gaps and double-check on unnecessary workings. It enables them to eliminate redundant steps and focus on important.
  • Establishing accountability and responsibility: By mapping out business activities and job roles, a workflow management system establishes clear and concise activity points. This enhances level of accountability in employees as they understand their job roles and deadlines associated with the same.
  • Enhanced workplace communication: With a lack of proper communication, the chances of inefficient working, quality of work, opportunity losses increase. A workflow tool enables employees’ communication within the ongoing process, making it easy to recall, remember and work upon it.

With myriads of Workflow Automation platforms out there, here’s a list of the 20 most crucial features:

Essential Features your Workflow Management System must have

1. No-Code Workflow Mangement Solution

What use would a workflow solution be if the person needing it had to rely on the IT department’s help to create or modify it? The not-so-hidden agenda behind a workflow automation system is to make employees’ lives easy. Modern process and workflow management software require little to no coding. With key features like intuitive drag-and-drop form builders, visual workflow, dashboards, and report designers, workflows can be managed easily and quickly by the business owners themselves without relying entirely on the central IT team.

Also watch: How to build a simple workflow app with Quixy!

2. Customizable Solution

No two organizations are the same and nor are their workflows. Therefore your workflow management tool must enable you with the autonomy to customize your workflows according to your unique and evolving business needs. as per your custom needs, connect them to other workflows, design the live reports and dashboards you need, to scheduling the delivery of notifications, escalations, and reports in the desired formats, the platform must provide complete flexibility. Once published, the workflow owners should easily make changes and redeploy as and when the need arises.

3. Agile Process Management

Things don’t always work as designed or planned, and when that happens, your workflow automation platform should help you out. That is why you need an agile workflow solution that enables you to handle unexpected situations and make changes on the go. For example:

  • Change tasks on the go — reopen, reassign, even delete if you have to.
  • Change your decisions on the go — switch approved to rejected or vice versa
  • Change process data on the go — fix data entry mistakes, edit form fields.

Because you can’t expect your staff to be perfect, the more freedom, you give them, the better. Agile tools will save you a lot of time and irritation by preventing you from having to redo work.

4. WYSIWYG form editor with comprehenive data capture options

An important feature of a good workflow management tool is that it should provide you with an easy, intuitive drag-and-drop form designer that helps you capture any information you need. If the interface is hard to design or use, your users will not use it. WYSIWYG builder makes it easy to visualize how the user’s interface will look while creating it. The form builder should allow you to capture any data using a wide variety of field controls, including plain or rich text, single or multi-select dropdowns, checkboxes and radio buttons, grids and tables, date, time, numbers, currencies, eSignature, documents, audio, video, images, or anything else.

The modern workflow management system also facilitates easy printing out or viewing information or forms at any workflow point.

Also watch: Create Survey Forms, Collect Information, and Analyse Data. All No-Code

5. Workflow Patterns

As activities are intertwined, it is rational to select a system compatible with any workflow pattern, be it sequential, parallel, conditional, or loop.

a. Sequential Workflow Pattern

A sequential workflow pattern involves a simple series of steps. When one stage is completed, it only starts with the next step—saving your team from the dread of long and exhausting processes by dividing it into pieces.

Sequential Workflow
Sequential Workflow

b. Parallel Workflow Pattern

No one task in an organization is performed by an individual independently. It could either be a set of tasks that involves a series of steps or could involve the participation of multiple individuals. As the steps are assigned to different individuals, the workflow management system makes it easy to carry out the task.

Parallel Workflow
Parallel Workflow

c. Conditional Workflow Pattern

In the aforementioned example, if the finance manager had disapproved the purchase because of budget constraints same should have been reflected immediately. The same setting can be done with a conditional workflow pattern, and concerned employees can be notified.

Conditional Workflow
Conditional Workflow

d. Loop

A loop workflow is created for tasks and jobs that require multiple reviews and iterations. For example, thing liking writing a blog requires numerous corrections and approvals, which can be made easy with loops.

Loop Workflow
Loop

Watch Webinar: Model Processes and Build Workflows

6. Automatic assignments with Auto execute capability

A workflow management platform’s most common activities are task creation and assignment, and therefore your solution should allow flexibility and efficiency in both. Using your answer, you should be able to configure each workflow step to be automatically assigned to:

  • A particlaur user or list of users
  • A role
  • A user based on the form data
  • A user selection at the time execution of the workflow step

In addition to the dynamic assignment of tasks, the auto-execution of tasks feature allows you to terminate or reassign the task once the due date and time are passed. You can choose and set the user or role to reassign that task, put it on hold, or terminate it.

7. Dynamically calculated Due Dates and SLA Monitoring

It is not feasible to specify due dates for tasks directly in workflow apps because they are meant to handle repeated operations. When you start a new process, such as filing a leave request, the due dates for all process activities will be different.
Workflow platforms deal with this by allowing for relative and dynamic configuration of due dates. A task’s due date, for example, maybe “2 days after a preceding task is completed” or “4 days after a request is filed.”
Therefore a key feature of a good workflow management solution is to allow you to configure rules for the due date for each task in the workflow and then dynamically calculate these due dates for each task as the workflow steps get executed when you start a new process.

And not just that, additional SLA monitoring feature allows you to monitor the process performance, identify bottlenecks so that you can bring about processes changes to improve process efficiency.

8. Security, authentication, and role-based access control

Not all information is intended to be shared with everyone associated with the given process or a workflow. A smart workflow management tool provides granular controls to ensure only authorized users based on their roles access the information they need.

Also, your workflow software must be hosted in a secure environment that is certified to comply with the strictest security controls like ISO 27001 and SoC 2 Type 2.

Also watch: Using Access Permissions and Publish setting in Quixy

9. Test Simulator

Only after testing can you recognize the issues and loopholes with any process or workflow. And what else could be better if you could design workflows and test all the workflow steps with the configured roles? Testing the created workflows will help you ensure a smooth rollout and reduce the number of user complaints on the quality of the workflow automation.

10. Third-Party App Integrations

Given that no company relies on only one application or software, it becomes imperative to use a solution that offers simple integrations with other applications and platforms. A workflow cannot happen independently of different business processes. Hence, it is a must-have feature to integrate with other apps.  For example,

  • Pushing data captured to any third-party app
  • Pulling data from any third-party app and use it in forms
  • Enabling any third-party app to triggers workflows in your system etc.

Good workflow management platform support one or more means to integrate workflows with other applications:

  • Support Zapier.
  • Provide API.
  • Have built-in support for popular apps.

Also read: Harness the true potential of Quixy with Web Services and Integrations

11. Notifications, Reminders and Escalations

It is only human sometimes to forget things. Your workflow system tool should send reminders and notifications to the stakeholders so that the workflow can be executed seamlessly and efficiently. In contrast, all the stakeholders are kept up to date on the progress of work. A feature-rich workflow allows you to:

  • Enable you to send recurring notifications as per confiured time interval.
  • Create custom notifications to be sent to:
    • The intiator, initiator manager or a specific user
    • Task Assignee
    • User from app data
  • Send out escalations at a pre-configued time inteval until the task is completed

12. Dashboards and reports

Live Reports and Dashboards provide you with actionable insights into the status of your workflows. Drill down reports and dashboards with the ability to download them in multiple formats or even schedule them for automated delivery through email, WhatsApp, or other channels helps in quick and informed decision making. A good workflow management platform provides all these features. Users can build their reports and dashboards and modify them as per their needs on the fly.

13. Automated triggers

Workflows in any organization are intertwined, and action in one workflow should trigger a different action in another workflow. For example, receiving goods can send a Goods received note (GRN) for verification and trigger Payment for the same goods as part of a separate accounting workflow. And apart from triggering different workflow, the relevant data from the 1st workflow must be passed to the new workflow so that the user in the new workflow doesn’t have to hunt for information.

Also read: Accelerate workflows with Quixy Triggers & Quickflows.

14. Audit Trail based Accountability

An effective workflow management system keeps track of all actions – who did what, when, and when did they do it? You may go back and search, print, or document at any point. Maintaining responsibility and supporting any audit needs becomes much easier as a result.

Users may also observe where the workflow is at any point during the process. They don’t have to contact their managers or others to find out the workflow status.

15. Cloud Based

Cloud is the new normal. It’s not only about having access to your info from everywhere, and it all boils down to who is in charge of updating and maintaining the system. It’s all about data privacy and compliance. Rather than making a one-time purchase, it’s about forming a relationship with a vendor. If you want to make your workflow management solution effective for your team, it must be in the cloud.

16. Built-in communication

From interaction with a colleague on how to solve an employee-reported issue as part of the service request workflow to a brainstorming session with the team on finalizing the product roadmap for a product planning workflow, every conversation is a goldmine of unique knowledge. These conversations lead us to the desired outcomes, yet they may get lost unless captured as part of the workflow.

A smart workflow management platform provides a capability for built-in communication as part of the workflow execution where all conversations related to the workflow stay attached to the workflow record and can be accessed anytime without having to hunt for this information in other disconnected chat tools.

After all, access to all the relevant information in real-time is a fuel that speeds up the whole process!

Also watch: In-App Conversation: A New and Effective Way to interact

17. Mobile friendly

With over 50% of the job being done on the move these days, you must be able to effortlessly check off tasks and monitor the status of processes and workflows from your smartphone or tablet as well.
A good workflow software should be compatible with mobile browsers or have a native iOS and Android app with the option to customize the look and feel as per your brand guidelines.

18. Offline availability

Most industries nowadays engage in field activities. Typically, businesses use mobile applications to assist field workers in moving away from manual, paper-based operations.

On the other hand, most of these apps ignore the uncertain work environment of field workers. Offshore oil rigs, mines, basements, parking garages, hospitals, construction sites, and even urban districts surrounded by skyscrapers have little or no network access.

Field teams lose productivity and money every time they lose connectivity and can’t utilize their mobile tools.

Your workflow management solution should allow you to use the apps offline, and it should enable you to save data as a draft and retrieve information whenever needed. After all, your work should not be hindered because of any external factors!

Security, Authentication, and Access Control

19. Great customer support

While 1-2 hours is an ideal response time, you should be able to ask a question and receive a relevant response within 24 hours. Also, platforms with good customer support provide easy ways to report issues and questions through channels like phone support, email, chat, online help, and academy.

20. Reasonable, transparent and competitive pricing

You may need the workflow platform for just ten users today, but what if your team expands 10x in a few months, or you want to roll out the tool to other departments? A reasonably priced tool will let you add more employees, contractors, temp workers, and maybe even clients without having to worry too much about the additional cost.

Takeaway

Choosing an inefficient workflow management system or system that does not fulfill your business requirements could be an expensive decision for the company-both productivity-wise and financially. Quixy is a workflow management tool that empowers your organization with all the features mentioned above and much more.

With Quixy your quest for the best Workflow Management System ends!

Don’t believe us? Try it out yourself. Book a demo!

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