Before you can work with your tech and IT teams to put e-workflow best practices into place, you need to have a solid understanding of what e-workflow is. And, to understand e-workflow, you first need to understand workflow itself.
A workflow, simply, is a sequence of connected steps. You have to complete each step or task to move onto the next, whether it is signing off on a document, scheduling an event in a calendar, or working with a support ticket. Of course, there are far more workflows in everyday business than those examples.
Many forms of workflow are repeatable, operating in standard patterns, but many businesses and organizations still manage them manually. E-workflow takes your standard workflow and automates, controls, and manages it using technology. That brings your business greater productivity, better accountability, and overall simplification and efficiency in managing every part of the organization and its processes.
A Help Desk Example
Let’s take a look at that help desk ticket situation again. Right now, the support department might be manually prioritizing and assigning tickets as they come in. That means there is a delay to the end user, who is waiting on the manual workflow to happen even if they don’t know it. Sometimes, help desk tickets might get lost, responses delayed, or documentation forgotten. It all adds up to lost time and energy, lost opportunities to add to a knowledgebase or self-help repository, and, potentially, lost tickets.
When you implement e-workflows, and best practices in these platforms, you have the opportunity to target some of those help desk tasks for automation. You could, for example, automate a log of incoming issues. You can automate how incidents are assigned based on their skills, and in doing so, automatically send a message or alert to the person delegated. Every issue can further be prioritized according to e-workflow rules that you set up and manage.
When the item moves through the e-workflow, you can also set up alerts and notifications for the end user. This will inform them that their issue is being addressed. And, at the end of it all, you can generate reports full of valuable information.
Of course, not every part of this scenario is automated, but it is all managed through an e-workflow. The technicians who handle the incident are not likely going to automate a fix, but will use the same platform to log their communication and information as they move through the process. This ensures that it is kept in a central repository.
You can see how this switch to an e-workflow helped a real-life client of ours. We talk about how an e-workflow helped Inform GmbH in this case study. By implementing everythingHelpDesk and its e-workflows, the company brought better communication and greater transparency to all of its support requests.
E-Workflow Best Practices
Just like every workflow is different, every e-workflow approach differs, too. That means some are better than others. In our experience, helping people put together e-workflows that benefit their organizations, we have come across the same practices time and time again that seem to lead to success. Here are a few key points, and we’ll explore more as the series goes on.
- Build your workflow around your needs, rather than trying to jam business processes and tasks into a workflow you pre-built. The odds are good that you have been handling this workflow manually for long enough that you can figure out how to transform it from that vantage.
- Automation should improve workflow. Don’t automate just because you can. In a workflow, automation should be targeted to where it actually helps. Generally, this includes areas where tasks are mundane, repetitive, or prone to human error.
- Get staff on board, invested, and educated. The human component of establishing and managing an e-workflow is critical. Our work ensures that people are not forgotten.
What E-Workflow Can Do
At GroupLink, we offer cloud-based e-workflow and work from home solutions that benefit organizations of all types. These include everything HelpDesk and GroupLink Workflow Process and Incident Tracking. Our clients use these platforms in multiple departments, to increase their efficiency, collaboration, and accountability. They apply features and benefits that include:
- Email and Calendar Integration
- Email-to-Ticket/Incident Automation
- Business Process Automation
- Templates for Recurring or Ad-Hoc Incidents
- Ability to Delegate and/or Auto Assign Incidents
- Incident Escalation and Service Level Agreement (SLA) Ability
- Reporting with True Business Intelligence and Scheduled Automatic Reports
- Dashboard View for Oversight and Team Views
- Self-Help Knowledgebase
- Customizable User Interface
Keep an eye out for our next article in this eight-part series, e-Workflow Best Practices for CIOs & CTOs: Assessing Strengths & Weaknesses. Get in touch online or call us at 801-335-0700. We’re also available via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.