No matter what kind of business you’re in (and no matter the department), processes are central to how you get things done. But even though you’ve repeated these processes time and time again, they may not be as efficient as they could.
Some processes are more complex than others. And for these, you’ll need workflows that ensure each task is completed in a timely manner with as few errors as possible. But are your workflows more complicated (and less efficient) than they need to be?
What is workflow efficiency?
Workflow efficiency is the goal of any organization when processes start to become overwhelming. Workflows become streamlined in order to help processes move along the right way the first time.
That means less time is wasted sending documents back and forth, asking for the status of an approval, or finding errors that force you to repeat a process all over again. All in all, more efficient workflows can:
- Increase speed – Your team can free up more time to focus on what really matters—big ideas and innovation.
- Decrease mistakes – Without a well-defined workflow, you might see the same errors time and time again.
- Increase ROI – An efficient workflow can help you get more out of what you spend on your business, decreasing costly mistakes, and wasted hours.
Why improve workflow efficiency across departments
Right now, you might notice that one or two processes are in need of revision (the HR onboarding process, for example, or budget approvals). You might begin by improving or automating these workflows, but workflow efficiency is important enterprise-wide.
When each of your departments relies on their own workflow platforms for individual processes, there’s little transparency into the value and efficiency of each one.
An internal audit of your processes may reveal bottlenecks across the company. You can gain insight into your business practices that allow you to reassess the value of certain processes, see where resources are spent, and allocate your budget towards the right departments.
So how can you achieve the most efficient workflows possible across your organization?
Gather stakeholders to assess existing workflows
The first step is to gather one key stakeholder from each department to discuss which workflows are in effect. Assess which ones are most important to your company’s bottom line—and which require the most time and resources—and focus on these first.
You may learn that some teams are still relying on memory to complete many tasks within a process, rather than relying on a clear, efficient workflow. You may discover a lack of communication between teams, or that some tasks often create delays in the overall process.
Automate your workflows
Once you’ve assessed which workflows are most important to the company (and which take up most of its time), you can focus on automation.
You may already use platforms that help automate workflows in various departments. But finding a company-wide workflow platform can help you to gain transparency into processes and revise tasks to streamline workflows.
Digital process automation platforms, like Nintex K2, provide valuable analytics and insight into workflows across the company. As a low-code platform, designated team members can make changes to your workflows to help make them more efficient, without writing lines of code.
Test and analyze
No workflow is perfect the first time around. Digital process automation software can provide analytics that gives insight into which parts of the process are not working efficiently.
Put one person in charge of the process of analyzing workflows to search for inefficiencies (and continue evaluating these in the long-term). This is a vital step, as eliminating unnecessary steps can save your company a ton of time and money.
Find bottlenecks and strategize
What’s getting in the way of workflow efficiency across your departments?
- Does one step always take longer than others?
- Are documents constantly sent back to the original owner after a certain step?
- Does one department struggle to find availability to complete its part of the process?
Strategize to find ways to get to the bottom of these and other inefficiencies. Do you need to hire more people in a certain department? Can you revise a form for clarity to reduce the number of times a document requires revisions?
Enterprise-wide workflow efficiency depends on the right platform
While some digital process automation platforms are focused on improving individual workflows, Nintex K2 can be implemented enterprise-wide to help every department automate more efficiently.
You can integrate with your existing systems like SharePoint and Salesforce to bridge the gap between systems and make your data more easily accessible.