Nothing to Fear: Overcoming Misconceptions About Workflow

There may be some reluctance on the part of executives and stakeholders to implement (automate) workflow software within their organizations. That reluctance may be the result of either, 1) Existing habits and behaviors that are considered to be adequate, or 2) Fear. The former is actually more challenging to overcome from both an IT and business perspective, while the latter can often be addressed when an organization realizes how its business can become better, much better. It’s paradoxical to realize, too that fear is often what encourages people to hold on to old habits, thereby creating the mindset of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Smart businesses are not fooled by that adage, however.

We are not suggesting that there is a tendency towards organizational status quo; it is easy to understand, however, that with the hope and promise of workflow automation comes some stress relative to not knowing what the future might bring. The vision of a well-oiled organization making more informed and logical decisions that lead to optimal business outcomes seems quite achievable in a demo- or on a video. To arrive at that point, however, means   letting go of a lot of “trusted habits” and relying on something new and not as familiar. And it may be comforting to stick with what you know and how you currently work.

When an organization automates its workflows – and truly looks at how processes are currently being done within itself – there may be a period of both “reckoning” and discomfort. Ultimately, however, the benefits are huge. We have numbers to support these changes, and can point to customer successes. Before we can talk about the upside, however, we often find we need to address the misconceptions about workflow—and what it will and won’t do.

Some of the reasons given for postponing the move to a workflow-based environment for business process, app and project development look like these:

Automating workflows cannot replace the way we currently do business: Automating workflows may be disruptive at first, but you are probably dealing with daily disruptions in your current environment already, especially if you not have a centralized structure for your processes. If you are operating without an adequate workflow process, you   may already be unable to absorb the rapid pace required for your organization to adjust and adapt to changes in the market, your sector or as a result of what competitors may be doing. Using workflow methodology and a tool that supports your business processes will ultimately provide a more consistent environment for your business operations.

We cannot afford the time it takes to implement a new way of working: Beyond the benefits you will realize today, your business is built on investing for the future. While automating your processes requires implementing new software, investing in user training, and other organizational modifications, those upfront costs are necessary to ensure a more efficient and effective operating environment, long-term.

Our team doesn’t have the skillset to do this:  If your team is accomplishing its ”work”, it is probably using some form of workflow. It may not be with a BPM software solution with the  workflow management software capabilities like Process Director, but there is some routing and decision-making that follows a prescribed order. So, yes, you already have workflow. You may need to learn a new way of identifying and prioritizing   after adopting a focused-on-workflow tool, but workflow is largely dependent on smart decision-making. If your team is being successful you are part of the way there! Using a tool like Process Director requires some change in habits, but is based on knowing how and when to move things, and in what direction. Your team has more skills than you may realize.

Change often brings with it some trepidation, however change also becomes easier with a more visible path to success. The first step towards having a clear picture for workflow is recognizing how it could fit into your current business, then understanding how workflow could help your business in ways you may not have considered.

When we talk with you it is to learn about your concerns and fears, so we can  understand your business. Armed with that information, we can provide a roadmap to using workflow effectively, and in a way that optimizes your existing workforce and habits.

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