Digital Workflow

What Is a Digital Workflow?

A digital workflow is the automation of a company's processes and the internal steps needed to get its business done.

Digital workflow can be as simple as using emails rather than paper memos and forms to communicate and complete simple processes within a company, or it can be a complex system that includes every aspect of a company's operation for full process management. Digital workflows let users automate any repeatable task. Documents in a digital workflow can be tracked at all stages of their life cycle, as well as being able to be routed to any department or individual. This can be completed with just a click, using custom branching logic, permissions, and rules.

This kind of advanced workflow system provides businesses with a number of benefits that make digital workflows the go-to way of operating in today's economy.

What Are the Benefits of a Digital Workflow?

As technology and business rapidly evolve, the benefits of a digital workflow continue to present themselves. These benefits include:

  • Reducing an organization's carbon footprint. Eliminating the need to do business with paper documents helps the environment by cutting down on a company's consumption of that limited resource.
  • Eliminating avenues for human error. Everyone knows the adage, "Too many cooks spoil the broth." That applies to all aspects of life, including business processes. The more people that are physically involved in crucial processes, the better the chance for human error. Digital workflows eliminate the problems that result from lost documents, forgotten steps, and personality conflicts.
  • Speeding up processes. When items can be sent instantly, tasks get done faster. Digital workflow solutions do just that.

What Specific Functions Can Digital Workflows Perform?

Advantages that are already known and being used have propelled digital workflow solutions to the forefront in competitive businesses. As technology continues to advance, so do the specific functions digital workflows can perform.

Oversight Ability

One of the most advantageous is the insight it provides into a company's business processes. Digital workflow processes allow the inspection of any process as an end user. This kind of immediate access lets managers check the workings of any aspect they manage. Efficiency is greatly improved by the ability to spot bottlenecks in a process before they become a problem and avert disasters large and small.

Reliable Document Routing

Reliable document routing is another benefit of a digital workflow. Lost and forgotten documents can slow down the operation of a company and damage its image in the industry. The problems that can arise from these situations include:

  • Delaying the delivery of products or services to customers
  • Preventing the acquisition of needed supplies
  • Missed opportunities and deadlines

Digital workflow provides a trail to follow a document's travels throughout an organization. It ensures that information can be quickly located and acted upon by all the appropriate players. Users can route inbound messages to specific people and departments, set reminders for important actions, and track the progress of actionable processes quickly and easily with a digital workflow.

Data Evaluation and Monitoring

Digital workflow processes also let managers closely monitor and audit financial events. Regardless of how long ago that event occurred, managers can evaluate the process and the data involved with it by accessing the historical records of that event. This allows for a level of oversight that was previously labor intensive and time consuming, if it was possible at all. This benefit is essential for government agencies and highly regulated industries that rely on accurate accounting practices.

Quicker Approval Processes

The approval process can often be a painful one, especially if the input of multiple managers is involved. Getting a contract signed off on in a paper-based workflow requires printing and delivering documents to every person whose approval is required. With digital workflow processes, it's possible to set up an approval process that gives each participant access and tracks every step and change while providing a forum for individual input. This kind of collaborative approval process speeds up the launch of the project and allows the different people involved to work together to achieve the best possible result for all involved.

Manage Complex Processes

Beyond providing outstanding access to these types of basic business processes, digital workflow management can be utilized to automate and manage overly complex processes as well. New employee onboarding involves several departments with multiple people in each, and a digital workflow process can make this simple. Likewise, a digital workflow can automate currency conversions for the capital expenditure processes of organizations with international offices.

Implementing Digital Workflow Automation

Implementing digital workflow automation can often be a daunting concept. However, it's nothing when compared with the labor-intensive process of disentangling a problem created by outdated workflow processes.

Digital workflow can be automated with a business process management tool and careful process planning. Even those with efficiently running digital workflows can benefit from the addition of these tools, as they're generally packed with powerful features including pre-integration with major software platforms, data analytic features, and simple user navigation.

Regardless of how an organization implements digital workflow automation, the fact is that this innovative, high-tech avenue is the future of business processes, and every company can benefit by embracing it.