Everything we do has a correct way of doing it.
For example: have you ever seen an aficionado doing barbecue?
Look (if you are not a handful of grills yourself), this process involves several techniques, procedures and rules that cannot be neglected, at the risk of eating hard, tasteless or cold meat.
Preparations usually include purchases from the right suppliers, the use of suitable utensils, quality charcoal and barbecue grills must meet certain specifications.
It all starts a few days in advance, and some meats have their preparation started the day before, marinated, seasoned and manipulated in the most diverse ways.
Basically, preparing a good barbecue does not leave a process, a flow of tasks that needs to be strictly followed to succeed.
That is: there is a workflow for barbecuing.
And if a workflow is so important when it comes to preparing hot coals, why wouldn’t it be for your business?
Check out this very fun animation video that shows all the importance of correctly following the process when preparing your barbecue:
What is workflow?
But, after all, you’ve stopped to ask yourself: why is workflow important to your organization?
Or what are their differences and possible advantages compared to a less structured way of organizing a company?
Let’s start by looking back at this concept.
Okay, you may already be tired of hearing about workflow, but, you know, exactly, what does that term mean?
Workflow is an expression of English origin, which, if literally translated, means “workflow”.
This term is used to name a set of tools or methods that will serve to automate a company’s processes .
Thus, tasks, information, data and the activities performed by your employees will follow an adequate flow so that the expected results are achieved.
For this, the use of technology is decisive, since, through software, the automation of the routine processes of your business will be much more efficient.
See an example: Check out more information: Sales process flowchart: close more deals!
Workflow and BPM (Business Process Management)
If you are aware of technology innovations in the business environment, you are familiar with the features and relevance of Business Process Management (BPM).
Also known for its translation – Business Process Management – BPM must be taken into account when it comes to workflow tools.
BPM, in reality, is a system with broader functions than workflow, since it not only models and redesigns processes , but also automates them , providing a control panel with real-time information on the performance of processes.
Thus, under this bias of modeling, control and monitoring, it is worth understanding the workflow by relating it to this broader context, as one of the functions of BPM (Business Process Management).
Why is workflow important?
Now that you have understood a little better what this term is, you are probably asking yourself: why is workflow important to my company?
In order to arrive at some answers, it is necessary to make a comparison between structural models of less organized companies and those that adopt workflow tools.
For that, let’s check some points.
See also: Workflow and processes: understand the differences
1- Employee involvement
The workflow in an organization that works through a less organized structure is usually undefined, or only established through the IT architecture.
In other words, it is insufficient to maintain standards and allow monitoring.
In a company that has the right tools, the workflow represents a point that can be improved through the use of software.
Using BPMN notation, for example, the workflow is designed and standardized through systems and business processes defined by its employees.
In other words, in this way, the work will be being established through the involvement of the people who will perform the necessary tasks.
2- Process structure
In a more traditional company, a structure based on hierarchy and verticalization is observed.
And the division of tasks is based on the different departments, positions and functions of each employee.
But in practice, we know that it is impossible for each area to function as “an island” – efficient integration between them is necessary .
And that factor will be very well considered by the workflow tools.
A company that adopts workflow tools is aligned with the business processes to be carried out, in the activities and knowledge of the professionals.
In this way, the teams will have their responsibilities established in advance, already in the process design stage .
Thus, it will not be necessary for employees to be “negotiating” who does what with teams from other sectors.
In fact, they will act with much more harmony between the parties involved, since everyone knows exactly what is expected of him and what the others should do.
But, be careful: the division of tasks between sectors and departments will not cease to exist with a good workflow structure, nor will it lose its relevance.
Professionals will have their responsibilities aligned according to the performance of each process and with the resources available in the company, but not only within their own department.
Thus, the skills of employees will also be organized taking into account the objectives to be achieved by the business as a whole.
When a company is structured, highlighting the work that needs to be done, it is much easier to find a combination between the skills of professionals and the workflow.
The result? Activities can flow better, with greater efficiency and integration.
3- Establishment of responsibilities
How is it decided what each professional should do in your organization?
Within a traditional company, the responsibilities of each employee in each process are usually defined along the hierarchical layers of existing positions.
The vice president decides what will be done by the directors, who establish the roles of the supervisors, and so on.
This path continues to obey the vertical order of functions and positions.
It is possible to notice that this option usually involves a certain lack of agility, and even unnecessary costs, generated by the excess of bureaucracy, plaster and slowness.
For this reason, it is very important to “dry up” some of these excessive steps, more quickly defining the roles of employees in each process.
Thus, with workflow tools, process owners can define guidelines for assigning different responsibilities among the team.
See another example: ITIL change management: employ best practices
4- Breaking barriers
In a less structured company, cases in which employees in one sector do not share data and information with others are very common.
This failure can be quite damaging and even hinder the smooth running of the organization as a whole.
And this usually occurs due to managers’ failures when setting limits, which becomes one of the most common problems that hinder the proper performance of companies.
After all, it is necessary to understand that, in order to be able to detect and meet the needs of customers, it is necessary to have access to the greatest possible amount of information within the company, to design the processes that most add value.
And more: the processes will involve, in addition to different sectors of the company, also subjects external to it, such as partners, suppliers and other stakeholders.
And why is workflow important in this context?
Because some of its tools operate precisely through well-defined limits.
As a result, everyone will know what they can (and should) share.
Your company’s processes will have better results when it comes to meeting the needs of your market.
See also: What is a workflow management system and its advantages for the business
5- Share knowledge
As noted in the previous item, sharing necessary data can be truly decisive for any company.
In less automated models, it is very common to concentrate information in the hands of those employees with higher positions or who wish to retain power.
This is a frequent mistake that can undermine the construction and execution of efficient strategies.
When you are concerned with structuring your company’s workflow well using tools, this is one of the factors that will undergo important changes.
Thus, the information will be properly documented and shared with those who need it.
There is much more transparency within the company and its processes.
6- Measure performance
A very important step for every company is to be able to monitor and measure its performance in all its processes.
After all, this way it will be possible to recognize hits and detect failures that should be improved.
In a model without workflow tools, organizations do this data compilation at the level of each department, often through KPIs manually measured.
This, however, can be an alternative that takes time and is very restricted, unable to provide a broad view of the company’s results.
On the other hand, with some workflow tools, such as BPM, for example, the performance of the entire company is recorded and monitored in real time.
You have an integrated view, considering the process as a whole.
This makes it possible to measure results in a much more complete and agile way.
7- Putting improvements into practice
And, after monitoring and measuring performance, it is usually time to put into practice the opportunities for improvements detected.
In poorly structured models, this stage is segmented in several improvement projects aimed at solving isolated problems, in addition to being highly guided by Quality concepts.
On the other hand, when having a BPM, changes are implemented in order to improve the chain of processes as a whole, and in an uninterrupted manner.
The ultimate goal is to ensure the best experience for your customers, through processes that always add value to the solution offered to them.
See more details: Check diagram for continuous process improvement
8- Improve the customer experience
In a more traditionally organized company, the way of dealing with your customers is very much based on an “inside out” character.
That is, it offers the market the product or service that it expects customers to buy.
This is a very old-fashioned strategy, after all, everyone recognizes the importance of companies molding themselves to the wishes and needs of their customers, and not the other way around.
When using the workflow and its tools, the most appropriate model for the survival of your business will be adopted: the “outside in”.
According to him, the company will organize itself to meet the demands of its market.
Thus, the organization will act in order to try to meet the expectations of its customers , always seeking to generate the best possible experience for them.
The more traditional model of compliance is often based on the so-called Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
The POP is, basically, a document that will provide instructions for the operations to be properly performed, such as rules, sequences, description of procedures, etc.
It is like a script to ensure that everything will be executed in the way previously planned and, thus, avoid possible deviations from the standard considered.
However, this is a very difficult option to create and still to maintain.
But when using workflow tools, it is possible to rely on the technology of creating process maps that contain the established compliance standards.
In addition to providing these rules, a BPM system, for example, can also add additional points of improvement to increase performance.
10- Creating strategies
Why is workflow important for creating strategies in a company?
Because through their tools, managers will be able to understand the reality of their business and the progress of their processes more broadly.
Thus, when seeking integration with a management system, workflow improvement tools are also able to help put the strategies designed into practice.
A kind of circular relationship is created.
That is, while these tools help to build more effective strategies, they also influence the expected results to be achieved.
Why is workflow important after all?
It is possible to notice that the so-called traditional models of organizational structures have become less and less efficient nowadays.
In contrast, the answers to the question “why is workflow important?” become increasingly evident.
If you want to improve your business performance and maintain good results, it is necessary to adopt ways to automate processes and worry about creating increasingly efficient workflows.