It never fails. No sooner do you and the co-workers in your department settle down into a comfortable and productive routine that works for you all, when along comes your manager, breathlessly announcing that he’s arranged for the company to buy a new software package, or a major upgrade to an existing one.
“It’s great!”, he gushes. “It’s an all-new workflow management system, and it will make your jobs so much easier!” In other words, you’ll now be expected to do even more work, so that he can look good.
There are countless utilities and applications out there that are meant to make your job easier, but sometimes it’s not as easy as it looks. To the clueless, it’s all a matter of loading the software, clicking “start”, and life is all beer and donuts, right?
Fortunately, you have some good advice right here on how to leverage workflow management software, and not get bogged down by something that’s ostensibly going to make life easier for you.
Temper Your Expectations
Any software suite that your company buys needs to be configured to suit your particular situation. Anyone who expects the software to function smoothly and flawlessly from the first time the switch is thrown is in for a big disappointing surprise.
Go into this new software with the expectation that there’s going to be a learning curve and a lot of adjustments and adaptions.
Apply Automation Where It Makes The Most Sense
The article “Best Practices: Getting the Most from Workflow Management Software” tells us “Most processes benefit from automation, but some processes benefit more than others.” You need to make sure that the software automates the processes where it will have the most impact. For instance, many times there are certain forms that all employees need to fill out and, once filled out, need to be sent off to multiple departments. That right there is a perfect place to apply automation: it saves time, assures that every department that’s supposed to get the forms will do so, and it cuts down on repetition.
Make Room For Mobile
This is the age of mobile computing, and your workflow management software should be marching in lock step with it. Whatever application you end up, make sure that it has functionality on your iPhone or Android. After all, if issues come up and people are looking to you for answers, you can’t do much if you’re not in the building at the time; having mobile capability offers flexibility and allows instant response to any issues that arise.
Ease Into It
It can be tempting to just dive in completely, automating every process under your company’s roof. While it’s good to be excited about a new tool, it’s more prudent to bring it in slowly, perhaps one or two processes at a time, or maybe one department first, followed by others.
This way, everyone can get used to the new software and learn how to use it without getting overwhelmed. As more people become familiar and comfortable with the software, you can increase its implementation to other departments or processes.
Think of it as getting used to the cold water of a lake that you plan to swim in. Easing in presents less of a shock.
Bringing in workflow management software can be a huge plus for your company as a whole and for every employee individually. Follow these rules of common sense, and the implementation will be a smooth one.