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Workflow documents are the essence of your business operations. Well-documented processes offer insight into how operations should be run and who’s responsible for running them.
But the improper management of this documentation can lead to inefficiencies in your business operations. That’s why software is specifically designed for document workflow management.
A simple Google search will leave you with countless document workflow management software options, which can be overwhelming. I’ve rounded up the top software solutions and offered some points you should consider before settling on a purchase to make things easier.
Document workflow management software is designed to provide the “how” part of running a company’s processes. This documentation provides employees with the resources they need to effectively work through a workflow to reduce errors and increase productivity.
Good workflow templates are built with predefined steps that are actionable but sometimes don’t offer enough context to unfamiliar users. This workflow documentation typically lives alongside the actual workflows to offer more transparency and create a centralized knowledge base.
Document workflow management software comes in different forms. They are:
ECM software empowers enterprise-scale companies to intelligently manage, store, retrieve, and organize business documentation. It’s best used for converting analogue information (like photo prints and paper documents) into digital formats.
Platforms designed for document management use a computer system to track, manage, and store electronic images and documents that have been captured from a document scanner. PDF readers are examples of DMS software and are well-liked for providing better control over sensitive documentation.
Document collaboration software empowers companies to remotely collaborate on documents in real-time. These documents might be PDFs, spreadsheets, or text files, and can be simultaneously edited, commented on, and updated by multiple team members. Google Docs is one example of document collaboration software.
You might want a document workflow management solution that doubles as your organization’s intranet or workspace or a standalone software option.
Whatever you decide, your chosen document workflow management software should have these features:
Costly audits, damaged brand image, and significant fines can all result from mishandling your business’s and your customer’s confidential information.
That’s why your document workflow management software should be compliant with HIPAA and GDPR to ensure your information is secure. You also want your chosen software to secure data through SSL, audit trails, advanced access rights, and encryption.
Every document workflow management software should offer the users the ability to back up their data. You want to be able to back up to the cloud or local servers either manually or automatically.
This is especially important if any collaboration is involved in your document creation. Data loss consequences can be severe and can cause reputational and financial damage without this document backup feature.
Data breaches are always a risk but permission sets can limit information to only necessary stakeholders. You want your document workflow management software to increase visibility within your organization but you also want to have control over the level of this transparency. Permission settings can let you do that.
Documents are always being worked on. Your document workflow management software should include a version control to easily manage the numerous versions of each document. With this version control, you can manage documents throughout their lifecycle until its completion is approved. This current document can then be the single source of truth within your organization while older versions are stored.
The goal of using document workflow management software is to prevent unnecessary friction and information silos. Your chosen software should connect internal stakeholders and let them collaborate and share documentation. Independent contractors should also be allowed limited access to these documents so they can contribute to a specific project.
Document workflow automation management is optimized when you’ve got actionable workflow templates living alongside your documentation. Your software should include a workflow builder where you can document and streamline your business processes.
Organizing your workflow documentation becomes more difficult as you scale. The purpose of a document workflow management system is to not spend time searching for information. Your chosen software should have a no-code, easy-to-navigate platform to make organizing and managing workflows straightforward.
Here are the top 10 best document workflow management software options to pick from:
Process Street is a no-code workflow collaboration tool that creates a home for all team process documents. It’s an excellent option for companies that want to create a centralized document workflow management system where workflows can be created, run, and assigned to responsible team members.
Microsoft SharePoint is used to create websites and securely store, share, organize, and access information from multiple devices. It’s well-liked as a document management and collaboration platform that empowers users to manage reports, documents, archives, and other content that teams use daily.
Google Drive is designed as a cloud-based program that can be used to create, store, edit, and share files. Organizations might use Google Drive as a file management system. The documents created are both accessible through the Cloud and as users’ local versions.
Dropbox is a cloud storage platform and is sometimes also referred to as an online backup system. It’s frequently used for collaboration and sharing and is available to users with Linux, Macintosh, and Windows desktop operating systems.
Box is a file-sharing solution that’s cloud-based and designed for enterprises to collaborate with and secure stored business documentation. Users enjoy Box for uploading files (like photos, videos, and documents) from their computer, phone, or tablet so that they can later access this documentation from anywhere.
OneDrive is a Microsoft cloud service that allows companies to house all their workflow documentation. This data is stored in OneDrive and can be shared with others asynchronously through any connected devices. It’s well-liked as a backup storage device.
Egnyte gives users any time, anywhere access to organizational workflow documentation with real-time collaboration features. It’s well-liked as a trusted platform for secure file sharing and offers IT admins the ability to automatically classify and organize metadata.
Smartsheet is a document management platform that’s well-liked for scaling from a single project to an end-to-end workflow management. It connects organizations with a no-code and cloud-based platform where all users can collaborate with one another. This project workflow management system is great for documenting workflow project information to offer more context to employees.
Asana empowers businesses to efficiently manage their projects and the data they collect from such work activities. You’re able to organize your project documentation, collaborate with your team members, prioritize various tasks, and track your progress. It offers a place where all aspects of your project can be housed from start to finish.
Here are the best practices to optimize your document workflow management software:
You don’t just want to use a software system to create and store your workflow documentation. You also want to make the most out of the software’s automation capabilities.
This might be automating your document approval, generation, tracking, or due dates. You can save time and enhance overall efficiency when effective automation is applied to your workflow documentation.
It’s likely that you use many different work applications in your organization. You want to link these other applications to your document workflow management software. Information from these applications can then be sent to and from your document workflow software. This eliminates unnecessary data entry and helps you save time.
You want to remain up-to-date on your documents. Setting up notifications on your software system ensures you’re alerted if a document isn’t approved or if a due date has not been met. Many document workflow management software solutions are designed with email and in-app reminders. Make sure you set your notifications to set your specific preferences – either in-app, email, or both.
Efficient document management is vital for business operations. Without a single source of truth, your team is likely to run into communication issues when working through daily business operations.
The document workflow management software you ultimately pick will give your business and its employees a single location with everything they need. No more looking through copious amounts of files. No asking around for paper documentation. No wasting valuable time and resources.
But document workflow management software can either make or break your centralized knowledge hub. That’s why it’s important to pick a solution that fits the needs of your business.
This way, you can optimize your documentation system to cater to your specific pain points and see an improvement in overall productivity and efficiency.