I’ll bet that there’s a lot of things about your business that your great grandparents would recognise. Customer service, dealing with suppliers and managing employees. Some fundamental things simply never change.
So, what’s a workflow management system for? Well, in a word - efficiency. That's because the alternative to having a workflow management system is to simply keep all that information in your head, which of course is not a good place to keep it, because it tends to crowd out the things in your head that are much more important - like dealing with customers and suppliers and planning things and actually getting work done.
The variety of software solutions in the marketplace is absolutely dazzling. There’s:
And the list just goes on…
Now, most businesses find themselves in one of three situations. Firstly, you might be looking at introducing your first cloud based system. Or, you might already have a system that you’re not happy with and you’re looking to change. Or you might be happy with your existing system but you can see gaps in how effectively it’s working for you.
Regardless of where you’re at - I’m about to tell you where you should start when you want to choose, or replace or improve your workflow system.
This is what you do:
Find yourself a quiet place for ten or fifteen minutes. Make yourself a list of everything that you want your workflow system to provide a solution for.
Here’s a sample of ten things that you might find on your list. Your list will be different and probably longer but it will show you what I mean.
When you’ve created your draft list, take a look at the websites for various software vendors and see what other features are available. There are probably things that you’ve forgotten about.
And when you’ve set up your list, mark each item as “must have”or “would be good to have” or “not very important”. Then, if you’re looking at investing in a new system, you’ll have a great starting point for evaluating each of the candidates. And, if you already have a functioning system you should use this list to compare with what you already have so you can narrow down the areas you need to focus on.
Choosing workflow management software is a big deal, and changing that software is an even bigger deal. And while you as a business owner are on the hook for making the final decision, you shouldn't have to go through that process without help. You should lean on your trusted advisor for help with making the right choice. Your accountant is someone who should be able to bring an independent, fresh pair of eyes to the problem. If they're any good, they’ve probably worked through this process before.
Now before I wrap up I just want to mention the issue of price. In the past, when I’ve been talking with clients about selecting workflow management software, sometimes the very first question I get when we’re looking at an alternative is “how much does it cost”. Now that’s fair enough, cost is not irrelevant. But I want to make the point to you that your first consideration should be the cost of getting it wrong. A system that fails to efficiently deliver one or more of the basics on that list you made is going to cost you big time.
Remember, your workflow management system is something you should be interacting with a lot. It’s a critical tool, and never something you should cheap-out on.
I hope you found all that useful. If you’re interested in adopting or switching you workflow management, feel free to give us a call. We'd love to help.