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August 08, 2017

6 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Workflow Solution

Organizational nirvana: that feeling you get when you open the door to that one closet in your home. It’s okay—go ahead and laugh.  We all have one. The door opens and this time, instead of dodging falling items, you can see what’s there and actually find what you are looking for without fear of bodily harm. 

The same feeling of organizational accomplishment can be found in business with an automated workflow solution. Workflow automation streamlines dysfunctional and fragmented processes to optimize efficiencies within your organization.

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Have you tasked your team with looking for a workflow solution that will clean up your processes and create connected workflows that give you a better view of your overall operational efficiency?  To help you on your journey to finding the solution that works for you, here are six questions you should ask when evaluating potential solutions.

1. What options do we have to alleviate our pain points?  

Implementing an automated workflow solution within your organization can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Ask potential vendors what options are available for taking your business to the next level. Can you tackle the greatest pain points first, or do you have to make the leap enterprise wide? 

You want a vendor that can give options. If you only want to take a few critical customer facing touchpoints and add workflow to standardize the responsiveness and pull in timelines, that should be an option. If you are ready for an end to end revamp, that should be a choice as well.

Looking for an option that is in between something and everything? That's an alternative, too! The key is to prevent analysis paralysis and get your organization started on its path to digital transformation. 

2. Do I need a team of developers for customizations?

Speed to market is an important characteristic for any technology targeting operational efficiency within an organization. Getting a solution up and running or changes incorporated as quickly as possible is the ultimate goal. Does the application come with a repository of process templates? That's an important factor you need to know. Look for a workflow automation solution that utilizes a low code approach. 

Low code technologies provide a platform that empowers non-technical users to create and update the workflow through an interactive user interface (UI).  This powerful UI enables business owners to extend the use of the application, tailoring it to what works for your organization. 

Learn about the 3 Reasons Your Business Needs an Effective Workflow Solution

However, not all low code solutions are created equal and some utilize open source technologies. Most expect you to build all of your processes from scratch. Expanding the breadth of who can contribute—meaning business analysts and process engineers—decreases implementation cycles and accelerates your digital transformation strategy.

3. Will it integrate with other core systems within our organization?

A successful workflow solution sits on top of your core systems to aggregate and push/pull data, work activities, and logic to keep your processes efficient and results driven. To integrate with your core applications, your workflow solution should come equipped with easy connectivity options that provide a gateway to connect your core and third party applications with your new automated workflow solution. 

4. How secure is my data?

In today’s high tech world, protecting data is a big concern for organizations. For workflow solutions with integration capabilities, that risk extends to core  and third party applications to which it connects.  Question the vendor’s past data security track record.  What compliance measures are in place to secure data across the workflow?  Are they SOC2 compliant?  Ask the vendor to supply evidence that goes along with the attestation. 

With solutions moving to mobile platforms, the need to keep data secure is increasingly important.  Workflow automation technologies must stay ahead of the curve and provide unsurpassed levels of data security and integrity.

5. Is the solution flexible to future changes?

You are looking for a workflow solution because you have a problem to solve and workflow is the answer. The problems you are experiencing today may not be the same problems that you have 6 months, 1 year, or even 5 years down the road.  Look for a solution that has the flexibility and scalability to change with your organization.   

The more robust and scalable applications have proprietary business rules engines that provide the flexibility to adapt the solution to the changing needs of the organization. 

Flexibility is one word with big impacts on the future success of a workflow solution.  Selecting a solution that can roll with the changes will provide a greater return on your investment now and in the future. 

6. What is the total cost of ownership?

You are almost ready to purchase a solution that will bring clarity to the process chaos you are experiencing. The last big question is how much will this cost me?  When looking at price, be sure to factor in everything such as training, upgrades, and support.  Remember, cheaper isn’t always better.  A lower price to get the solution up and running looks great, but the extras can add up quickly.  

Change comes with a cost, but can you afford the cost associated with not making a change.  Make sure you understand the total cost of ownership before purchasing your new investment.

Conclusion

Technology advances help organizations work faster, easier, and smarter while accomplishing an end goal of maximizing efficiencies and minimizing costs. Selecting the right workflow automation solution to work with your organization will operationalize your best practices, while easing the burden of manual and dysfunctional processes.

What’s holding you back? Start your digital transformation to organizational nirvana with a workflow solution that can transform chaos to clarity.

 

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Jane Mason, Founder and CEO

Jane has applied her vast experience (over 25 years) operating process-driven businesses to successfully redefine client-focused service. Jane has worked with expert programmers to apply cutting-edge web-based technology to automate complex processes in industries such as Financial Services, Healthcare and enterprise workflow. Her vision confirms Clarifire's trajectory as a successful, scaling, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider. A University of South Florida graduate, Jane has received many awards related to her entrepreneurial skills.

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