Workflow software


Yesterday night, two people rang me up to ask my thoughts about workflow software. I was quite stunned by this as I doubted it was that suitable for them.

This type of software is something that either you will use a lot; some organisations just live by it, or you will drop it ASAP. Generally, it is used by reasonably sized organisations and it is particularly useful if there are many tasks that are standard, complex, messy and involve a lot of people but there is no reason why smaller ones could not use it successfully.

What it is, is in any organisation, there are many tasks that are repetitive and need to be done. What workflow management allows them to do is automate the scheduling and roistering of these tasks.

What you do is set up what are called rules to be triggered when something happens say among 6,000,000 other tasks that need to be done tomorrow we are expecting a supply of greeting cards to arrive. Once this workflow software processes these 6,000,000 tasks, it sends emails and/or SMSs to the appropriate people telling them what needs to be done. Among these tasks will be the cards that are expected will need processing. As people do these tasks they tick it off in the workflow software. This can trigger more rules that notify others what they need to do. Now say, for example, someone counting the cards finds that some are short supplied. They then make a new trigger that alerts the person responsible for putting the claim about what has happened.

What people love is that while all this is happening, everyone knows what they need to do, if they want they can see in the workflow program what is happening and what further needs to be done.

The benefits are.

  1. It instantly assigns tasks so speeding up the creation of the roster
  2. It keeps everyone in the loop
  3. Jobs are not forgotten
  4. Efficient
  5. Standardises working methods

Now if this sounds interesting to you, here is my advice on how to proceed.

You need software that is well-established. You are talking about running your company. If this takes off for you, you need something that will be around in a few years.

The next point is you need to walk before you run. So what you need is a system that has a decent free trial period and/or a free option to try out first before the leap in. What you can count on is that initially, you are going to need a lot of time to get it to work for you.

There are many excellent choices for such software, the two that I recommend you look at are:

1) Zoho which is my favourite.

2) insightly would be my second recommendation.

Both are fairly easy to use once you get the hang of it. Both have free plans. They both can communicate to mobiles. Both have good reporting.

I doubt you would be sorry for either of them.

And of course, let me know how you go.