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Workflow Software

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Buyer's Guide

by Eileen O'Loughlin,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: March 7, 2017

Workflow management software is widely used in organizations to define, control, automate and improve business processes. These solutions allow management to measure and analyze potential areas for improvement, so they can implement the right solutions.

Workflow management systems can also help remove unnecessary steps and execute multiple steps simultaneously, helping make processes more efficient.

This guide can help potential buyers find the best solution for their needs. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Workflow Management Software?
Common Functionality of Workflow Management Software
Benefits of Workflow Management Software
Key Considerations for Workflow Management Software Buyers
What Type of Buyer Are You?

What Is Workflow Management Software?

Every day, organizations face the challenge of manually completing tasks, filling out endless paperwork and assigning tasks to staff. These activities often keep management busy with day-to-day operational tasks rather than being able to focus on strategic decision-making.

Workflow management solutions can help businesses overcome these problems by automating repetitive processes and checking in on uncompleted tasks. This provides a complete overview of all workflows, including metrics on execution to monitor and measure individual and company-wide performance. Workflow management software also helps increase visibility by allowing people to track the status of tasks and documents in real time.


Custom workflows in Wrike


Custom workflows in Wrike


Common Functionality of Workflow Management Software

Most workflow management software solutions come with some or all of the following capabilities:

Task assignment Enables users to automatically or manually define processes for assigning tasks to various users at the same time. Also allows users to reassign tasks to different users and modify deadlines, if needed.
Automatic notifications Sends automatic email or text notifications to users about the status of tasks, such as when a task is first assigned, pending, completed or when an edit is made by another user. Follow-up notifications can also sent to ensure accountability.
Reporting Allows users to extract exact information and view it on a dashboard when they are running reports. Drill-down capabilities enable users to retrieve details about various functions such as marketing activities, production estimates and out-of-pocket expenses.
Form designer Enables users to design digital forms through a built-in form designer that doesn’t require third-party assistance to use.
Graphical process modeling Enables users to generate and access data through a user-friendly interface that requires minimal training. Intuitive graphical representation of existing and future workflows also simplifies the understanding of workflow processes.
Role-based access control Defines the roles and responsibilities of each user and grants them role-based access to modify processes or access or edit separate workflow phases.
Mobile access Allows users to access workflows via mobile devices or an app for offline workflow. Ensures that users can view processes, records and other information in areas with no or limited internet connectivity.

Benefits of Workflow Management Software

Businesses can realize multiple benefits by adopting workflow management software, including:

Increased efficiency. Streamlining business processes and automatically allocating work across the organization helps increase workflow efficiency. Workflow management systems offer quick access to all required data and eliminate delays in task distribution amongst stakeholders.

Reduced paperwork. With a workflow management solution, multiple paper forms can be converted into electronic documents. Workflows can be added to manage these documents to ensure all steps and forms are completed and required approvals are obtained. Virtual documents can be stored online, enabling users to access them from anywhere. Completing and tracking virtual forms also helps minimize the risk of losing important documents or being unable to read them due to illegible handwriting.

Faster, more accurate workflows. Elimination of manual data entry along can drastically reduce the chances of error. Additionally, automatic triggers and/or alerts sent to employees about pending tasks can help accelerate processes.

Key Considerations for Workflow Management Software Buyers

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you evaluate a workflow management solution:

  • Third-party integration support. Workflows in any organization are heavily dependent on various business systems. As such, it’s best to find a workflow management solution that easily integrates with existing software, such as customer relationship management (CRM) solutions to ensure the seamless transfer of data from one system to the next.
  • Ability to create custom workflows. Workflow processes vary from one organization to the next, and can be simple or complex in nature. The solution you choose should offer the flexibility to create and configure the steps of all types of workflow processes through user-defined rules.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Choosing the right workflow management software depends on the size of your business. Consider the following buyer types:

Small and midsize businesses. These businesses typically operate as establishments with up to 100 employees. They should look for a workflow management solution that offers cloud or web-based deployment, rather than having to be installed on-premise. Cloud solutions do not require a substantial initial investment and can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.

Large enterprises. Enterprise companies often have large, dispersed workforces, which means they require a workflow management solution that is both scalable and highly flexible in order to effectively manage data, structure workflows and make sharing information across the organization easier. Such companies may seek advanced features and capabilities, including business process automation, the ability to manage multiple projects, teams and workflows and integration with third party systems Other essential components in a workflow management solution may include workflow engines, administration and monitoring, process design tools, compliance management and client tools.

Government agencies. Government institutions deal with large amounts of information on a daily basis. They must disseminate this information, in an organized way, across multiple departments that use different applications. As a result, they require a solution that offers seamless integration capabilities with other systems. The ideal solution should allow them to clearly define workflows and reduce the workload of their administrative staff. It should also be able to turn raw data into meaningful information that can be accessed by multiple departments in real-time. Additionally, the solution should come with notification functionalities that allow people involved in a project to quickly escalate issues to the appropriate parties.


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