How to Save Thousands Using the Right Workflow Management Tools

If you’ve ever been tasked with obtaining approvals for a project plan, proposal or other important document, you’re probably aware of how quickly the process can become frustrating.

Lengthy, drawn-out email chains between large groups of people are often met with frequent pauses as emails move from co-worker to co-worker. For SMBs, where hard copies of emails are used to drive processes, these manual methods can lead to wasted time, money and effort, as well as lost or destroyed documents. Add to that the potential of human error and SMBs, or in fact any business, are going to suffer from a productivity decline.

There is a solution, though. And it requires throwing out the manual, so to speak.

In today’s post, we’re going to look at the ways an SMB can save thousands with the right workflow management tools. And we’re not just talking about saving thousands of dollars, but thousands of working hours for your employees, thousands of documents from getting lost, and thousands of hairs from being pulled out!

The Benefits of Workflow Management Tools

The concept of using workflow management tools to improve business processes and save money is nothing new, of course.

The benefits an organization can expect from workflow automation are well-documented, and we’ve mentioned before how workflows can allow users to:

  • Respond to requests faster: By automating the process of sending requests, workflows let you ‘do more’ with the same number of resources, providing a big boost to employee efficiency. Faster response times means work gets done quicker.
  • Free up more time for company objectives: Workflows have evolved beyond the need for coding or technological expertise, so anyone in the business can free up time to focus on more cognitive tasks or ways to push the business forward.
  • No more human error: There’s a reasons the phrase “we’re only human” is a response to mistakes occurring. It’s true, mistakes do happen in manual processes. But with automation, you can negate much of the risk that comes with human memory and attention spans.
  • Boosts communication: Communication is more valuable than ever in modern business, and workflow management systems can make sure correspondence is sent to the right people at the right time.

But we’re not interested in your standard workflow automation benefits! Oh no. If we want to explore how workflow management tools can save you thousands, not just hundreds, we should look to workflow management tools with digital workflow integration.

Let’s explore how you can improve the approval and routing process in your organization.

Integrated Workflows Take it to the Next Level

There are a lot of different scenarios where integrated workflows can improve the approval and routing process.

It might be a loan approval, marketing review, field inspection—really any request for proposal (RFP), request for quotation (RFQ) or request for information (RFI) document can be automated.

With workflow automation software integrated into a file share app—like Dropbox or Box, for example—the workflow can automatically send an email request for approval as soon as the document is copied into the intake folder, and then move the document to the appropriate folder(s) depending on the email notification sent to the user (‘Approved’ or ‘Rejected’). All without you having to lift a finger.

Here’s a look at how you might build a workflow like this.

Let’s say we want the legal team to review a contract so it can be approved and a deal confirmed.

To begin, the event needs to be started within your file management app connector (Box, OneDrive for Business, Dropbox, etc.) and the appropriate document folder selected so whenever a new file is uploaded to that folder, the workflow will begin:

  • The workflow sends an email letting you know the workflow has started;
  • An email is sent to the legal counsel to let them know a document has been added that needs their approval;
  • Based on the result of that approval (‘Yes’ or ‘No’), a new response is made:
    • If ‘No’, the document will be moved into a Rework directory;
    • If ‘Yes’, the document will be moved into the Approved directory;
  • With a CRM connector (like Salesforce) the newly approved contract can be updated as new opportunity;
  • Yes or No, a notification is sent back to the person informing them that the contract has been moved into the appropriate folder.

By making the actual document the ‘start’ condition, users can avoid the errors that might come from manual processes. ‘False triggers’ such as someone being asked to approve a non-existent document or a document approval going through unnoticed are all but negated.

Further, documents can be reviewed and transferred between folders without providing read or write access to the approver to improve document security.

Nintex Workflow Cloud is Your Toolbox

Nintex Workflow Cloud is integrated with several different connectors, helping users in even more ways than just approval and routing.

Plus, integrating a connector into your Nintex workflow is just like adding any other workflow part: simply configure, publish and run! The communication, authentication and encryption details are all dealt with ‘behind the scenes’ so you still get that drag-and-drop functionality even when working other systems.

Fully integrated connectors with the Nintex Workflow Cloud currently include:

Nintex Workflow Cloud Connectors

 

Plus, integrations with SharePoint Online connectors, Facebook, Twitter, MailChimp, LinkedIn and more are coming very soon.

The possibilities you can achieve with the Nintex Workflow Cloud are continuing to expand. No matter the connector, you can expect the same results: more capable employees, fewer mistakes and improved productivity to help you save time and money, save your documents (and keep a full head of hair!).

Dan Stoll

Dan Stoll has nearly two decades of IT experience and currently serves as Senior Technical Marketing Manager at Nintex, the world’s leader in Intelligent Process Automation (IPA). He has spent the last 10 years of his career helping organizations turn manual processes into well-run automated ones. Originally from Australia, Stoll relocated to the United States in 2015 after working as a Nintex technical evangelist for the company’s APAC and EMEA regions. Follow Dan on Twitter: @_danstoll.