person looking at a board with notes and diagrams to figure out workflow

Top 10 Essential Features of a Workflow Management System

If you’re in the market for better workflow automation software, you would do well to engage a consultant. Capterra, one of many software rating and review sites, lists more than 200 products, about 60 of them web-based SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) offerings. GetApp, another software rating site, lists 96 products in their Business Process Management software category. How will you judge without an expert guide?

Rather than ferret out every five-star SaaS product and list them here (if you’re looking for a package to install on your server, you’re headed in the wrong direction), it might be more helpful to focus on some of the must-have features in a workflow automation package. (For more information on workflow automation see our previous blog: “Is ‘Workflow-as-a-Service’ Right for Your Business?”).

Here are the very basics of workflow automation packages in no particular order:

  1. Graphical Representation: For your workflow management system to be successful and usable, it must be able to depict the flow of processes graphically. Process models should be quick and easy to build.
  2. Integrating Forms and Documents: Both structured data (forms) and unstructured data (documents) need to be seamlessly weaved together within in the workflow. Documents and forms must be viewable within the context of the business process without having to jump to another app.
  3. Pre-filled Forms: Expense reports, travel reports, or any form that team members have to fill out repeatedly should be pre-populated with that user’s core data, leaving only minor details to complete. Automation is designed to save time, after all.
  4. Flexibility to Create Patterns: Whether a process is sequential, parallel multi-tier, or a combination, the workflow software should support the creation of accurate depictions without forcing a specific structure.
  5. Cloud-based: Unless every individual is required to work onsite at a workstation, there is no reason not to subscribe to a “Workflow-as-a-Service” cloud-based offering.
  6. Role-based Access Control: The system needs to recognize users based on their function and provide relevant access. Changes to roles or individuals shouldn’t gum up the system. Making changes dynamically should be easy and should not break the historical workflow requests.
  7. Reassigning Users: A workflow needs to have the ability to re-assign team members in the middle of a process, with ease as and when needed.
  8. Email Notifications: A business workflow management system (WMS) built around your business’s email provides a seamless correspondence within the workflow. Email notifications for service level agreement (SLA) violations and new tasks enable smooth running of a workflow.
  9. Reports: The workflow automation system should provide a KPI dashboard with a clear picture detailing the performance of every process and participant.
  10. SLA Status Indicators: A workflow without an early project status warning system is ineffective at keeping things on schedule. Color-coded status indicators are key.

Workflow automation is one of the core competencies at Infinity. Our workflow experts can provide the guidance you need to find a flexible and customizable automation solution. It’s a workflow automation software jungle out there, and we won’t make you go it alone! Contact us today.