Manual processes are slow. While this is not a particularly bold or novel statement, have you considered the phrase in it’s entirety? Manual processes slow down your employees, which in turn slows down your customers, and ultimately slows down your growth. This above all is the reason so many companies are interested in moving their manual processes into a digital workflow.
Digital workflows have one powerful purpose. They are designed to speed your business up. How, you might ask? Imagine you need a specific picture. This picture exists somewhere on your computer. However, this picture you’re looking for was taken 5 years ago. How long would it take you to find it?
This is obviously a simple example, but it illustrates the importance of a digital workflow. You could dig for an untold amount of time looking for this specific picture. Depending on how well organized you keep your files, this might be a short time, or it could be a very long time.
This is where a digital workflow helps, by managing software and cutting down on the time-consuming search for that one certain thing and sending it off to the next stage of your process in quick succession. Your business becomes more effective and productive leveraging digital workflows to optimize tasks and stay ahead of the curve.
So What Is A Digital Workflow?
First, let’s consider what digital workflow is. A system of accomplishing things is a “workflow.” Workflows are all around you, at work and at home. It’s amazing to think that just a few decades ago we were doing everything by hand.
The following is an example of a manual workflow: If you needed something, you had to fill out a form and give it to the right person, who then forwarded it to another department, and on and on. Stacks of paper sitting in inbound and outbound trays. Manila folders with lists of crossed off names. Stapling, white out, and the endless checking for accuracy.
Thankfully, today’s technology transforms the structure of workflows. Digital processes create faster response times, increase accuracy, and boost productivity. Instead of dealing with paper forms, you simply fill out a digital form and send it to the next stage in seconds. By automating processes with multiple stages you cut out needless steps. Ultimately, this allows you to get the right information, documents or content, to the right place at the right time to keep your business moving.
How To Implement a Digital Workflow in Your Office?
Implementing a digital workflow seems like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. When you begin to transform your manual processes, it’s good to know where a digital workflow will benefit you the most. Having a digital workflow for your images, for instance, helps you to organize your pictures and creates back-ups for easy access later.
For organizations that rely heavily on printing, there are often specific settings that save job-specific preferences and control the flow of print jobs. Document management solutions help to optimize your files and documents for quick and easy access. There are also systems that organizes your files and converts paper files to digital files.
The Art of Crafting A Digital Workflow
These 9 steps outline the process of crafting digital workflows for your business. By following these guidelines you will be well on your way to successful workflow optimization.
Track down your digitization candidates:
The first step is to look for areas where there are repetitive manual tasks, paper-based processes, or inefficient workflows. These are your “digitization candidates” that have the potential to be streamlined and automated.
Create a workflow map for each new digital workflow:
Once you’ve identified the processes to digitize, create a detailed workflow map for each one. This map should outline each step of the process, including inputs, outputs, decision points, and responsible parties.
Make the new process accessible to the whole team:
Gaining buy-in and support from your team is essential for successful adoption. Involve your team in the design and implementation of the new digital workflow. Train them on how the process will work, explain the benefits of the changes, and address any concerns they might have.
Find your perfect automation software partner:
Evaluate different software options based on your specific needs, budget, scalability, and compatibility with your existing systems. Whether it’s task management, document automation, or process automation tools, finding the perfect partner will significantly impact the efficiency of your digital workflow.
Digitize Paper Files:
Use scanning and optical character recognition (OCR) technologies to convert physical documents into digital formats. This step is essential for eliminating the need for manual handling of paperwork and ensuring all data is easily accessible in the digital workflow.
Keep roles and permissions crystal clear:
In a digital workflow, it’s vital to define and enforce roles and permissions for each team member involved in the process. This ensures data security and maintains accountability throughout the workflow.
Test, test, test, and then deploy:
Before fully implementing the new digital workflow, thoroughly test it in a controlled environment. Testing helps identify potential bottlenecks, errors, or usability problems that could impact productivity. Once you are confident in the workflow’s performance, deploy it to the entire team.
Keep an eye on progress with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):
Monitor the performance of your digital workflow using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These metrics can include process cycle time, error rates, task completion time, and overall efficiency. Regularly analyze the KPI data to track progress, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to optimize the workflow further.
Fine-tune digital workflows to push toward more productivity:
A digital workflow is not a static process; it should continuously evolve and improve. Encourage feedback from your team to identify pain points and areas of improvement. Regularly assess the workflow’s effectiveness and seek opportunities to optimize and automate further. Embrace a culture of continuous improvement to push productivity to new heights.
Let Digital Workflows Drive Your Business
Sometimes we can become so entrenched in manual processes that it becomes hard to give them up. But when it comes to modern business operations, there is little to gain from slow outdated methods. Digital workflows aren’t the future, they are the present, being adopted by companies everyday in an effort to retain their competitive edge.
Could your business benefit from a workflow transformation? Are you looking to implement digital workflows into your business, but don’t know where to start?
The Solutions Speclialists at Waltz are experts in in creating workflow environments to supercharge your business. Contact Waltz Business Solutions today to get started on your process transformation. We can help you figure out what digital workflows will help your office to run smoothly and efficiently.