You may have heard the term before but what does it mean, and what does it have to do with your business? Simply defined, workflow is passing a document within an organization from one person to another to complete a unit of work.
One popular method of organizing workflow items is the inbound/outbound method. Imagine yourself seated at your desk with two piles of paper. On your left is a stack of papers that need approval. And to your right is a stack of already approved items and must be passed to the next person in the chain of custody.
This is the typical example of the office paper pusher – a person with more than his or her fair share of paper cuts and who shuffles memos, applications, reports, and forms from sunup to sundown. It’s a monotonous job and one traditionally prone to mistakes and misfiles.
While most people today understand the benefits of paperless record keeping, not everyone is utilizing workflow. Most document management systems include a workflow component that allows users to share digital documents to one another without leaving their desks. Users can be alerted about new or high priority items via email or messaging notifications.
Today, it is becoming increasingly important to work on the go. Mobile solutions in the form of smartphone and tablet applications can extend the reach of your document workflow. Employees can easily route travel expenses to accounting, customers can electronically sign and send contracts, and field workers can fill out forms on the job site and instantly forward them to main office.
Automated workflow can free your employees from the drudgery and inefficiency of paper and manual document sharing so that they can be more productive. Not to mention, it saves time and money.