Digital Workflow – A Powerful Tool
From internal operations – to the customer – to interactions with vendors, workflow technology automation can smash paradigms and innovate your organization. Workflow technology can produce significant improvement for Operations, Finance, Human Resources, Administration, Legal, Sales/Marketing, and Other Departments.
Studies show that when properly deployed, workflow technology can improve a process from 25% to 75%, resulting in a return on investment of up to 10x. When not deployed correctly workflow can actually harm processes.
So What Is The Secret To Maximizing Workflow Technology Benefits?
First, engage a senior digital workflow consultant who is an expert in process improvement. Why? The consultant will need the ability to understand and plan for workflow automation but needs to be experienced in process improvement (LEAN, Six Sigma, BPM, TQM) – to help clean up processes before automation, look for ways to reduce re-work, improve quality, and innovate processes. Four reasons why this is important.
1. Deployment of workflow – alone as technology – will automate the errors that exist in a process. There is an old saying, “automate a mess you will get a faster mess.” Each process needs to be automated at the right level; being automated at too high or too low of a level will cause problems and not produce desired results.
Requirement: A digital workflow consultant needs to interview internal groups (and customers/vendors if possible) to determine the improvement each process requires (efficiency, quality, service, frictionless, governance), level of improvement required, and incorporate these factors into the workflow/application design requirements.
2. Baseline, clean up, and innovate a process – before increased automation – is essential. Process baselines must be developed to identify current process costs, risks, issues, steps, and non-compliance. Process redesigns must illustrate how they will fix existing problems and create innovation.
Requirement: The digital workflow consultant will need to conduct process improvement (Lean, Six Sigma, BPM, Re-engineering, Total Quality Management) through working with Chiefs, Directors, Managers, and Staff to develop baseline process blueprints, redesigns, and change action plans. If you skip this step, go back to point 1.
3. Proper design of workflow is the key. Workflow automation can range from simple to complex and will include interactions with websites, forms, cell phones, and systems to trigger (start) work; automated decisions, routing, and interactions to process work; completion of a task and output; and tracking/ measurement.
Requirement: The digital workflow consultant needs to identify how related technologies such as capture, recognition, machine learning, electronic content management, workflow, robotic process automation, and artificial intelligence need to interact with workflow technology.
4. Accountability. Hold integrators, vendors, and internal staff accountable for completing the workflow project on time and within budget.
Requirement: The digital workflow consultant should develop project plans to identify timelines, project dependencies and risks, requirements, responsibilities, change management, acceptance criteria, progress, and completion.
How Do I Know?
Since 1995, I have assisted over 300 clients ranging from 25 to 250,000 employees across all industries and vendor platforms; with digital workflow planning. As independent consultants, we at CRE8 provide an independent voice regarding digital workflow, process improvement, return on investment assessment, vendor evaluation, and project management.
Would you like to know more about planning for digital workflow and how we can support your current staff? Give me a call. I am happy at no cost to discuss your requirements and provide ideas on how my organization and I can be of assistance. Look forward to speaking. Best George Dunn, President CRE8 Independent Consultants.