Every organization has workflow. Some organizations have formalized and documented their processes so that every member of the organization understands how information should flow through the organization. These processes include business-critical processes like invoice processing, new-hire on boarding and I.T. provisioning. Documenting your process is an effective way of bringing consistency to how you do business, but it doesn’t necessarily ensure that your process is operating with efficiency. It’s important to understand what you can do to bring efficiency, consistency and automation to your business workflows.
The “beasts” of workflow impede decision making, prevent outcomes, bring your processes to a snail’s pace (or a screeching halt), or restrict visibility to where documents may be stuck in your process. Understanding the “beasts” in your workflow is important because it’s these things that impact the business. When your processes are inefficient, business productivity suffers and in many cases, the cost of the inefficient process will affect the bottom-line.
Uncovering the beasts: Documenting processes
When it comes to business processes, knowing how the process works may sit in the institutional memory of your knowledge workers. They may know that when they receive an incoming invoice, they need to e-mail the invoice to Belle in Accounting. Unfortunately, they may not know what happens after Belle receives the document. By documenting processes, your organization can see what happens to that invoice from receipt to payment.
When you document a workflow like an invoicing process, you can see how an invoice moves through an approval process, where in the process that bottlenecks could occur, and how long it takes an invoice to be processed and paid. Once you understand your process and have documented it, you can work on optimizing and improving it.
By taking this approach, you may discover that simple processes are taking longer than they should, or, you may discover that the “way we’ve always done it” is far from the most efficient way.
But even your workflow is overrun with beasts… there is a hope.
The most beautiful workflows have two common characteristics. Automation and continuous improvement. By automating your processes and seeking to uncover more opportunities for improvement, you are setting yourself up for success.
The beauty of automation
Automation can take a fairly efficient manual workflow and make it better. Automation can take a flawed workflow and improve it dramatically. In many cases, the automation is only applied to critical points in the process to bring efficiency to a process. It’s unusual that our recommendations for automation result in process re-engineering. You can use apply workflow automation to key parts of a process and work to improve the process as you learn more about the impact of the incremental changes and improvements.
Our “go-to” workflow automation solution is Nintex. When paired with SharePoint, this elegant solution can completely transform your workflow processes. It’s like watching a beast turn into a prince… instantly. We have worked with clients that have used SharePoint with Nintex to automate across various common business processes. By implementing Nintex, our clients experience the following outcomes;
- Visibility into current business processes
- Enhanced collaboration and better communication
- Faster response times
- Shorter sales cycles
- More efficient operations
- Expanded mobility
- Increased customer engagement
The beauty of continuous improvement
Once you start optimizing, improving and automation workflows, you’ll want to see what improvements you’ve made. Tools like Nintex Hawkeye will deliver workflow analytics that allow you to visualize and analyze processes to determine which ones are returning business benefit.
Nintex Hawkeye helps you understand the size and scale of your workflows, make informed decisions regarding deployment and migration of workflows, analyze data and derive actionable insights about your business processes.
We see organizations that recognize the value of workflow automation will want to know how adapting processes result in a business benefit. It’s also evident that this data helps organizations make better decisions about where investments in automation would yield the greatest ROI.
Making improvements to legacy processes may seem daunting. You may feel that your investments in automating processes will fall short of delivering the ROI you expect. At Kiefer, we understand workflow and we know that if you blend the right tools and approach to improving processes, you are likely to succeed. We’ve been helping clients implement and deploy Nintex to address their most inefficient workflow. What’s even more significant is our ability to demonstrate how SharePoint and Nintex can be applied to improve other workflows across an entire organization. Clients that are getting the most out of SharePoint and Nintex are the clients using the solution to tackle more than just the workflow that was the impetus for considering the solution in the first place.
We can help you tame the beasts and build something beautiful. Workflows that help you live happily ever after!